Eli Tomac of Cortez overcame a 12th-place start to finish third Wednesday in the 450cc AMA Supercross race in Salt Lake City.
Defending champion Cooper Webb raced to the lead in the first lap and led all 26 laps to win the main event at Rice-Eccles Stadium and pull into second place in the series standings, behind Tomac. Zach Osborne was second.
With three races to go in the championship series, Tomac now leads the surging Webb by 27 points, 322-295. Ken Roczen dropped to third place with 293 points.
“The start was unacceptable,” Tomac told RacerXonline. “Yeah, I can start looking long-term, but I was third guy in line going into the first turn, and I was buried. I was able to get to third, but I can’t be having those starts.”
Tomac, who entered the race on the heels of a dramatic win Sunday over Webb, finished Wednesday’s qualifying rounds behind Blake Baggett and Roczen with a lap of 45.088 seconds. Baggett and Roczen both qualified at under 45 seconds.
In his heat race, Tomac had to battle back from a third-place start to pass Martin Davalos for the lead in the final two laps. Webb, on the other hand, won his heat start to finish.
And after the gate dropped in the main event, Tomac was in 12th place after the first lap. By the midpoint of the race, he had climbed into fifth place behind Webb, Roczen, Osborne and Baggett.
He then began his familiar drive to the front, passing Roczen in Lap 21 and Baggett in Lap 25. But with a lap to go, he was too far back to challenge for the lead. Webb won easily, five seconds ahead of Osborne and almost nine seconds ahead of Tomac.
The remaining three races in the series are scheduled for June 14, 17 and 21, all in Salt Lake City.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship series was put in limbo in March as sports events were canceled because of stay-at-home orders in states across the country. As the country started slowly opening up, race organizers talked with five states about resuming the Supercross season, and decided on Utah.