2020 OAKLAND SUPERCROSS | THE AFTERMATH: KEN ROCZEN VS. COOPER WEBB VS. ELI TOMAC
2020 OAKLAND SUPERCROSS | THE AFTERMATH: KEN ROCZEN VS. COOPER WEBB VS. ELI TOMAC
The 2020 Oakland Supercross is now history and round five of the Monster Energy Supercross series did not disappoint. The technical Oakland track helped create some of the best racing so far this season. With epic battles in the 250 heat races, a surprise winner in the second 450 heat race, Ferrandis and Forkner dicing for the win in the 250 Main and an all-around amazing 450 Main Event, the Northern California SX fans definitely got their money’s worth in Oakland. Heading into the 2020 San Diego Supercross, Ken Roczen only has a three-point gap over Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb closed in on Ken by two points with his thrilling last-lap, last-corner pass. MXA’s Daryl Ecklund and Josh Mosiman were in Oakland to cover all the action and share every bit of information we could gather with our loyal readers. Click the link below for our video of Jason Anderson launching the big double, our best in the pits gallery, race results and more from round five.
Photos by Daryl Ecklund
Words by Josh Mosiman
ELI TOMAC WINS IN OAKLAND
Eli Tomac looked good all day in Northern California. He qualified second fastest behind his teammate, he battled hard with Roczen in their Heat race and he had a good start in the Main Event which helped even more. Eli was third behind Cianciarulo and he had Cooper Webb behind him. For the first time this season, Webb looked aggressive and it seemed like he might have something for Eli. But Eli began to pull away from the 2019 Champ and close in on Cianciarulo. He got around Adam on lap eight and then set his sights on Ken who sprinted from the beginning of the race. Ken was struggling to try and jump through the cupped-out and rutted whoop section and Eli was gaining time by continuing to skim through them. On lap 11, Eli reeled in Ken through the whoops and over the triple to pass him in the next corner. It looked like Eli would sail smoothly afterwards, but Ken wasn’t letting up and eventually Eli made a mistake. There was a big braking bump that formed at the end of the sand section and Eli was lifting his front wheel over it, but on lap 15 he made a mistake trying to do it again and went over the berm. Luckily for Eli, he didn’t go down. He went around the outside of the berm and rejoined the track in second place. Then, again he mounted a charge and passed Ken in the exact same section. Eli won the race by three and a half seconds over Cooper Webb at the finish.
COOPER WEBB NEVER GIVES UP
Cooper Webb showed up to Oakland a different rider than we have seen previously. Cooper was aggressive in practice which helped him qualify third. He started the Main Event in fourth, but he couldn’t keep up with the leaders early in the race. They slowly pulled away from him, even though you could tell Cooper was pushing and giving it his all. Cooper could have given up and settled for a conservative fourth, but that wasn’t in his game plan. He eventually caught Adam Cianciarulo and passed him with four laps to go. At this point any other rider would’ve settled for a podium. Ken Roczen had a decent size gap on him, but Cooper Webb doesn’t like to settle. Coming into the final lap it looked like there was no way he would catch him. Eli Tomac was just ahead of Roczen, but all eyes were on Webb as he seemingly floated across the whoops on the final lap and gained major ground in just one straight away to put a wheel in on Ken Roczen and flustered him. Cooper rode side-by-side with Ken on the final two rhythm sections and as the two riders landed off the triple in the final rhythm lane, Cooper’s wheels landed first which allowed him to hit the brakes first. Ken over shot the triple and couldn’t get on the brakes quick enough. Cooper squared him up, dove inside, bumped Ken and finished second place. The crowd went crazy.
The closest that Cooper ever got to Eli was at the beginning of the 450 Main Event. Eli pulled away in the middle of the race and then Cooper finished only 3.5 seconds back after he passed Roczen in the final corner.
KEN ROCZEN SLIDES TO THIRD
Ken Roczen is a competitor and he doesn’t like to lose. Especially not to Cooper Webb. But unfortunately for Ken, Saturday night in Oakland was all too familiar for him as Cooper once again passed him in the final seconds of the race. Ken rode great all day but in the Main Event, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb were both able to get the best of him by continuing to skim through the whoop section. Ken was losing time in the whoop section, but anyone who has raced or ridden at any level from beginner-to-Pro knows that it’s hard to completely switch-up your line once your comfortable. Ken did his best to keep Eli behind him, but Eli was able to pass him in the corner after the whoops two-times in the Main Event, and that’s where Cooper Webb gained all of his time in the final lap of the race.
The key to a great start is to keep your front wheel on the ground and legs squeezing tight against the bike. If you watch anyone of these guys in practice that’s what they’ll do, but it’s a lot harder to do perfectly when you’re lined up next to 21 other guys and the adrenaline is going.
Ken Roczen at the far left of this photo has the best form and he grabbed the holeshot. Cooper Webb has the next best form in this photo and he was fourth into the first turn.
Adam Cianciarulo made a few mistakes throughout the day in Oakland, so when Cooper Webb passed him and he cased a triple in the rhythm before the finish, Adam seemed like he settled in to finish a respectable fourth place. In an instagram post Adam mentioned that he was happy with the majority of his race and that he dealt with arm pump. After crashing towards the end of the third Main in Glendale and not finishing the race, Adam ended up eighth overall. A fourth place in Oakland was a significant improvement from the weekend prior.
Blake Baggett scored the fastest qualifying time in the first 450 session, but after the second session his time was beat by Adam Cianciarulo, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb. Still, fourth in qualifying is a win for Blake Baggett. In the heat race, he started third behind Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen and battled with them for the win. Blake was making a run on Eli to pass him through the whoops while Eli was trying to make the same move on Ken. It was wild to see, Eli was catching Ken in the whoops and Blake was catching Eli in the whoops at the same time.
In the corner, Eli made a mistake and stalled his bike allowing Blake to get in second. Then, Blake was trying to make a move on Ken for the lead and got slowed up by Ken, which allowed Eli to get back by and put Blake in third again. Blake was also the first rider we noticed to hit the triple-triple in the rhythm lane next to the finish line. He did it in the Heat race behind Ken and Eli and then many of the top 450 riders caught on and started doing it in the Main as well.
Justin Barcia was on a mission in Oakland, but his starts kept him from running at the front. Justin was in 11th place on the first lap of the Main Event and he passed his way up to 6th by the end of the race. He was two seconds behind Jason Anderson for fifth.
Justin’s first reaction was frustration. He threw his hands up and looked at the crowd. But soon his pity-party was over and he ran it back to the mechanics area as fast as he could so that his mechanics could tear it apart and install a new engine in time for the 450 LCQ. The Yamaha boys changed it in ten minutes and had it back at the starting line in time for Justin to race the 450 LCQ.
Zach Osborne ran in fifth place for the first eight laps of the 450SX Main Event. But his race came apart after that. First his teammate Jason Anderson passed him and then Justin Hill, Justin Barcia, Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett all passed him in the next two laps. Malcolm Stewart passed him later and he finished 11th in Oakland.
450 SUPERCROSS POINT STANDING (ROUND 5 OF 17)
Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot in the first 450 Heat race but he was passed by Eli in the second corner. Then, Eli decided to stay low off the wall jump on the first lap and Ken launched it far into the sand (as seen above). Ken was able to make the pass and hold off Eli to take the win.
Dylan Ferrandis was fast in the whoops and he made his pass on Austin Forkner for the lead the same way Eli Tomac passed Ken Roczen in the 450 class. He gained momentum in the whoop section, scrubbed the triple afterwards and came up the inside to make the pass in the corner. Dylan got up close to Austin and it looked like there might have been a little bit of contact, but it wasn’t dirty. Austin went off the track and re-entered shortly after, but Dylan already had a decent gap after that and Austin couldn’t get close enough to retaliate. Austin talked about it in the post-race press conference said that he would’ve done the same thing to Dylan if it were the other way around. Sadly, the crowd still booed Dylan Ferrandis on the podium. Maybe they booed because Austin went off the track when Dylan passed him, or maybe the NorCal fans wanted to get in on the action and boo him for what happened two weeks ago between Dylan and Christian Craig.
250 WEST COAST POINT STANDINGS AFTER 5 ROUNDS
Michael Mosiman rode strong in the first 250 heat race. He battled hard with Austin Forkner for the win, but eventually finished second. In the Main Event, Michael didn’t have a great start and was running ninth when he had a hard crash coming into a corner which took him out for the night. Michael’s bike also flipped up and Cameron McAdoo hit it with his chest when he came into the corner.
The Oakland Supercross track was unique as it featured a wide range of obstacles which ultimately made for some great battles and passing opportunities. The whoop section was short, especially when compared to the extra long whoops in Glendale, but they weren’t easy. The whoops were big and steep and throughout the day and night show they broke down and had lots of kickers and ruts through them. Some riders had the whoops dialed while others lost valuable time in them.
THE TURNING RHYTHM LANE
The turning rhythm section was also a challenging one for the riders. It featured four 3-foot tall jumps, a turning table-top, four more 3-foot tall jumps, a 5-foot tall jump and a 3-foot tall jump. There were multiple different rhythm options that riders used to get through it and a lot of time was either made up or lost in this section.
CRASHES ON THE SMALL DOUBLE
Multiple riders crashed at the bottom of the finish line in practice. Adam Cianciarulo was the most well known rider to be taken down in that section. Ryan Breece and a few other riders were also victims of the rutted double before the finish line and they all ended up tangled in the tuff blocks at the bottom of the manager tower.
WALL JUMP INTO SAND SECTION
After Jason Anderson, Zach Osborne, Mitchell Oldenburg and more doubled over the two wall jumps on press day, the Dirt Wurx crew added a small single before the first wall to keep the riders from launching it. Although they didn’t send the massive gap, the section was still exciting to watch. The riders were doubling over the first wall and then launching off the second wall, high and far, into the deep sand. It was really cool to watch and it made for some really cool photos and passes. The most notable pass was the one Ken Roczen put on Eli Tomac on the first lap of the 450 heat race.
This photo shows the gap the riders were jumping on press day and the new single before the first roller that was added on Saturday. The fast line was to double over the first roller and then launch far and high off the steep wall jump into the sand.
Another interesting section was the elevated right-handed turn. In this corner, riders had the option to go inside and roll around the corner, or jump up to the outside and jump out of it. At the beginning of the day everyone was taking the inside line and it looked like a bad design by the track crew. But once the heat races began, riders were finding that they could make up time by hitting the outside line, and once the Main Events came around, the fast line was to take the outside. You don’t see this obstacle too often in Supercross, and we originally thought it would be a boring corner, but it turned out to be great for setting up passes.
The biggest challenge in Oakland every year is the ruts that develop. Ruts in the corners are one thing, but ruts on the jumps and in the whoops really adds to the difficulty of the track. The ruts in Oakland definitely made the racing more interesting.
The dirt in Oakland wasn’t all-new, but it sure felt like it when we stepped out onto the track during press day. The Dirt Wurx crew informed us that they hired someone to screen the dirt for rocks to clean it up. They spent two and a half weeks sifting the dirt out in the Oakland parking lot and it really helped. We could barely find any rocks in it.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Eli Tomac posted via instagram: “Well a bit of wild ride in the main! The track seemed like a tight layout, but ended up racing sweet! Lifted the front end to high over the sand bump which led to the squirrel over the berm move. Lucky to get back on that quick and into the battle again all things considered. Overall great night for us and better starts!”
Adam Cianciarulo posted via instagram: “4th last night in Oakland. Happy with my effort, excluding the last 5min or so. Arm pump isn’t usually an issue for me but it was in the main and I think it must’ve had something to do with not riding much last week. Regardless, I rode smart and made the most of it. Those guys are ripping! It’s fun being up in the battle. Let’s do some more of that.”
Justin Barcia posted via instagram: “Sometimes the result doesn’t show the true ride and effort that went into a race! I had a lot of challenges to overcome that were thrown at me in Oakland, I was having a good heat race and had a mechanical on the last lap… my guys changed an engine in no time and we were onto winning the LCQ. I knew I had my work cut out for me on the farthest outside gate in the main event. I put on one of my best rides in a long time, charged through a lot of great racers made clean racing passes and finished p6. Honestly the confidence boost I got from Saturday night is huge so I’m very excited going into the San Diego round!”
Dean Wilson posted via instagram: “Oakland 7th – Stressful day. Came up short on a rhythm and literally thought I broke both my wrists. But she buffed and just sprained them. Anyways had a problem in the heat had to hit the LCQ which was sketch got in the main and came from around 11th to 7th. Happy with my progress will keep getting better. Thank you Team”
Cameron McAdoo posted via instagram: “Stoked to get a heat win in Oakland! The main didn’t go so well I got hit by someone’s bike a few laps in knocking the wind out of me which was very hard to manage the rest of the race, then stalling my bike towards the end. We will take some good positives into next weekend in San Diego. So happy to be back on the gate!!”