By Billy Rainford
As we head into another Monday, we do so after what was an amazing 450 Supercross Main at Round 13 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. If you didn’t get to watch this one live, wait until you find the entire show before you watch any highlights. It was one for the ages!
Eli Tomac appears to have exorcized his demons of Supercross seasons past and has morphed himself into the guy to beat…every week. He’s always had the speed to put it to the entire field when he’s on, but freak breaks in concentration or something have always seemed to put a chink in his armour and kept him from bringing home the big prize of a 450 Supercross title. 2020 appears to be a different story.
Behind him, Ken Roczen is fighting a battle of his own. Here’s what he had to say after Round 12 on Wednesday:
Breathing troubles are bad enough on their own, but to add racing at altitude to the mix is a recipe for disaster! By a show of hands, who here wants me to tell my running race in Salt Lake City story again? Okay…okay…I won’t.
However, at Round 13 he didn’t even qualify well. He was over 3 seconds off the fastest time, and that’s not good. He seems to be unable to fight back as this one slips through his fingers. After all he’s come back from, this is hard to watch.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Cooper Webb races like he’s got the biggest chip on his shoulder. I had a buddy who I used to play pool with and you always knew that when the pressure got higher he played even better. That is a character trait that many of us wish we had. Cooper has it. My friend didn’t have a chip on his shoulder but he never folded under pressure. Hey Pete, yes, I’m talking about Terry.
Unfortunately for Cooper, he’s just too far behind Eli in the points to win this thing unless something unforeseen happens to the points leader. But just watch Cooper force the issue as we head into the final 4 rounds. He came in pretty hard on Eli last night and he’ll take that chance again if he gets it.
Eli and Cooper lapped everyone except Jason Anderson, and he was 44 seconds behind them! Does this mean everyone has given up? Are these two just that much better right now? Was it just one of those nights? What’s going on here?
Ralph Sheheen and Ricky Carmichael knew Eli didn’t have to pass Cooper back to keep his points lead, but who’s kidding who? As a racer, when you know you’ve got an edge and another win is in front of you, you go for it. At the top level, it’s those little mental edges that can make all the difference.
Lapped traffic made this one pretty sketchy for the two leaders and they definitely played a role in the outcome here, but it was amazing to watch.
Eli now has a 26-point gap over Kenny is 2nd. Ken’s cushion over Cooper is fast-disappearing and is now down to just 6 points. That’s where the battle will be for the rest of this one.
There were some other good rides, but they were unnoticeable because of the fight at the front.
Here are the NBC extended 450 highlights:
In the final 250 East Main before the break, we have another 2-dog fight for the title.
Defending East champ Chase Sexton and #12 Shane McElrath came into Round 13 tied in points and running red plates, but this one got a little weird. Sexton qualified first with McElrath close behind in 2nd, so the stage was set…again.
As they headed to the line for the 250 Main the rain started to fall. We were headed into the promised mudder.
Sexton got out great and headed into the second turn just ahead of the pack but swept a little wide. McElrath saw his opportunity for a little payback and pushed him wide. Shane was in the lead and then Sexton went down with #66 Enzo Lopes and was headed into panic mode.
#36 Garrett Marchbanks would crash early and caused a red flag. Since they were fewer than 3 laps in it was a complete restart of the race.
On the restart, McElrath and Sexton were out front and we were in for an epic battle. But wait! It was Shane’s turn to make contact with another rider and go down. #75 Cody Shock was in his first-ever main and played a bigger part in the outcome than he wanted.
With 7 minutes to go, Sexton had built a 22-second lead and was able to put it on cruise control as he weaved his way through lapped traffic. He actually timed the last lap flag about as perfectly as you could. As the clock wound down he crossed the line and had just one lap to go to regain the points lead as the East headed into their short break.
I’ll add here that I think #13 Colt Nichols is really good and smooth with his podium speeches. He grabbed 3rd place and always seems to be comfortable and speak with sincerity in his interviews. It’s great to hear.
I’ve still got to post some photos and video from the National Prep/Testing Day at Walton Raceway last Friday. I’ve added a new Content Delivery Network (CDN) to DMX and I’m still trying to figure out how to work some of the settings so we don’t crash the server again. I’ll have them up as soon as I can. I’m also in the process of hosting family and sending my mom off to live in BC with my sister, so things aren’t quite back to normal here at World HQ. Please bear with me.
I’ll leave you with this very short clip of Quinn Amyotte with his “Scrub of Death” from Friday afternoon. Check out just how close he gets with his front wheel over this high-speed section!
Have a great week, everyone.