SALT LAKE CITY SUPERCROSS ROUND 13 | THE AFTERMATH: TOMAC VS. WEBB VS. LAPPERS (UPDATED)
2020 SALT LAKE CITY SUPERCROSS ROUND 13 | THE AFTERMATH: TOMAC VS. WEBB VS. LAP TRAFFIC
Round 13 of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series in Salt Lake City, Utah, is complete and boy was it an exciting one. Between Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac’s 24-lap battle, Shane McElrath and Chase Sexton’s Championship fight and the challenging track that was causing riders to make mistakes left and right, spectators at home had their hearts pumping. Coming into Sunday’s race, nobody knew how the track would turn out. With rain and mud, anything could’ve happened. Still, for the most part, the same front runners seemed to rise to the occasion as they did at Round 12 on Wednesday. Ken Roczen struggled again and he wasn’t able to challenge Eli Tomac.
The 450SX race could have been boring if Eli Tomac would’ve settled for an easy second place and let Cooper Webb win. It wouldn’t have been as exciting, but it could’ve been justified. Eli has a big points lead, his rival, Ken Roczen is slipping backwards and even if Cooper won and gained 3-points, it wouldn’t add any extra pressure on Tomac because Cooper is so far back in the point standings anyways. Still, Eli didn’t want to go out like that and his battle with Webb made Round 13 of the 2020 Supercross season one for the record books. In Motocross Action’s The Aftermath, we like to dive into the talking points of the day and share our best photos we took at the event. Enjoy!
Photos by Daryl Ecklund
Words by Josh Mosiman
450 MAIN EVENT: COOPER WEBB VS. ELI TOMAC
Coming into Round 13, Cooper Webb had nothing to lose. With five rounds still left to go, he was 29-points behind Tomac in the point standings and all he could hope for was a mistake, or bike malfunction from Eli Tomac in the mud. But Eli wasn’t going to let the pressure get to him. In year’s past Eli has made mistakes and he hasn’t been able to secure the 450SX title, but this season he’s gained newfound consistency to go along with the raw speed he’s always possessed.
Cooper Webb was the only rider we saw all day who jumped the triple from the inside. The corner was slicker than snot, but in the intensity of the battle, Cooper went for it and cleared it every time he tried.
Both Eli and Cooper were aggressive on the tough SLC track and after the first lap of the 450 Main Event, they were in positions one and two. Cooper led for 7-laps with Eli stalking him. Eli was faster in the whoops and he knew it. Eli made the move on Cooper in the whoop section after following him for the first 8-laps of the race. But Cooper wasn’t happy to be passed and he actually ran into Eli in the next turn, trying to push his way back by, but it didn’t work. Cooper pushed hard, but Eli pulled a small gap. He led for 7-laps, but during this time Cooper learned Eli’s lines and caught back up to him. Both Eli and Cooper were running into lappers and going three-wide with lap riders between them. Cooper got by again and led for 4-laps before Eli passed him and led the final 5-laps to the finish line.
It seemed like Eli Tomac had more raw speed than Cooper Webb had, but Cooper never gave up. The defending Champion was making lots of mistakes, but never once did he crash. Eli stayed smoother and when asked in the post race press conference why he didn’t take the easy route and let Webb win, he stated that he didn’t feel like he was riding over his head. He felt in control at that speed and he wasn’t worried about the title, he only worried about winning the race.
JASON ANDERSON RUNS INTO KEN ROCZEN
Ken Roczen was quick for the first couple laps in the Main Event, but he started fading backwards quickly. Here Jason Anderson ran into Ken in the corner after the finish line. Ken didn’t crash, but he was knocked out of the rut.
MALCOLM STEWART’S CAREER BEST FINISH
Malcolm Stewart posted via instagram: “P-5 That’s my best career finish in 450 class😊 we are moving the the right direction. Yesterday was nasty. It’s crazy to think about we have raced 3 official races in 3 totally different conditions. And it doesn’t even feel like the same dirt every time we race but it is😂 looking foward to Wednesday! Let’s keep the ball rolling😎”
KEN ROCZEN EXPERIENCING STRUGGLES
If you haven’t seen it yet, Ken Roczen posted a statement on his current breathing and health issues. Click here to read what he had to say about it.
COOPER WEBB’S POST RACE STATEMENT
Cooper Webb talked about the race:“Overall it was an incredible race, we were laying it all out there, I think I was first to the first turn and then Zach snuck inside of me. I think I was behind him for the first lap and then when I got by him it was me and Eli. I don’t know how long I was able to lead but I know he was all over me. I was doing that line right in the whoops, it felt good, but after he passed me I saw it was definitely not the preferred line. Man, it was a barn burner, he led, then I led, I think we both ending up leading twice. The lappers were insane, from my end I know I left it all out there. I felt like we both wanted to purely win. I thought I was able to uncork a pretty cool rhythm and I just watched the highlights and saw that he was able to do that 3-3-3. I just feel like that was a race for the ages forsure. Yeah it’s unfortunate to lose by a second but at the same time, it’s cool to be able to go wire-to-wire like that with the red plate holder and obviously he has 7-wins this year now. He’s been on it this year and it’s been cool to be able to run with him. We laid it all out there forsure.”
ELI TOMAC’S POST RACE STATEMENT:
Eli Tomac stated: “Man I just got to start with saying, that was just a freaking sweet race, I mean it’s easy for me to say right, because I won, but really fun. But you know on the line I was a little bit nervous about my gate. I was pretty far inside, I was third on the inside, I kind of played the safe card. But I got a really good jump, I got really good traction there. Slid around with those guys on the inside, Coop was in front of me, and man we just got going. We both obviously had really good flow today on the track. It was a really cool condition because we were still able to get those jump combos and really get around the track, but it was at the same time, a little bit sketchy enough, a little bit slick enough to where some guys were kind of floundering around. Really fun racing conditions, like I said, went back and forth twice with each other. Yeah, it was just a really good race.”
RAIN, MUD, RUTS & TRACK CONDITIONS
Did the rain affect the outcome of the race? Yes and no. It certainly made the track harder for everyone to ride and it caused an excessive amount of crashes. (See the bottom of this article for MXA’s best crash photos.) The results were similar to the previous round in SLC. But, the one major difference was that Cooper and Eli lapped entire pack—everyone except Jason Anderson who finished third place, 43-seconds behind the leaders. So how did that happen? Well, the challenging track slowed the speed down and made for a much more physically demanding race.
In the 450 Main Event, the track had deep ruts in the corners, on the lips and landings of the jumps, in between jumps in the rhythm sections and in-between whoops. The ruts for the most part had hardened up by the time the 450 Main came around, and this made them even more challenging because they wouldn’t move. They weren’t soft and sloppy like ruts are in a true mudder. If they were, the guys would’ve been rolling more jumps and sliding all over. Instead, the ruts had a hard base with braking bumps and acceleration bumps in them and riders had to navigate the track with precision to stay on two wheels and keep moving forward. It truly was a mans track.
ZACH OSBORNE CRASH:
NO MECHANICS ON THE STARTING LINE
Chad Reed had multiple goggles with him on the line, just in case. Usually mechanics always have a spare set of goggles in their backpack, but since the mechanics couldn’t go to the line with the riders, this would have to do.
It was 48 degrees when the 450SX Main Event was getting ready to go. After racing in 90+ degree heat just one week ago, this was cold for the riders. Here Jason Anderson warms up his hands on the starting line.
Zach Osborne posted via instagram: “Well that was wild! Holeshot and 4th on the night or day or whatever it was. Idk how I got 4th and got lapped but it happened. Front dudes were on another level tonight. It’s been a solid trip to SLC so far and I’m so pumped to give my @rockstarhusky team some decent results unlike the beginning of the season. We will keep hammering away at it. Excited for Wednesday. Have I mentioned that I love racing more often?”
450 OVERALL POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 13 OF 17)
250 MAIN EVENT: SHANE MCELRATH VS. CHASE SEXTON
Chase Sexton grabbed the holeshot on the first 250 Main Event start and Shane McElrath was second. Then, Shane dove up the inside on Chase in turn two and block passed him, sending Chase off the track.
Shane McElrath was asked if he was going for pay back when he block passed Chase Sexton in the second turn on the start of the 250 Main Event. Shane replied: “I didn’t feel any contact, so I didn’t feel any contact, so I’m not sure if I even bumped him or not. I was just going for the line. I thought he was still behind me and I didn’t know that he had gone off the track until after the Main Event, in that case. I’m not riding to get payback, I’m riding to win. It’s whatever, it was first lap and it was like, ‘Ok lets get the lead and lets go.’ So that was my mindset behind it.”
CHASE SEXTON LANDS ON ENZO LOPES
After Shane McElrath block passed Chase Sexton in the second turn, Chase went off the track and then re-entered in fifth place. Just moments later, still on the first lap, Chase tried to triple out of the rhythm section before the whoops but Enzo Lopes was in his way and Chase clipped the rear end of his bike and went down. Sexton was lucky to get away smoothly from the crash and almost save it. Both he and Lopes were okay, but this set Chase even further back.
250SX MAIN EVENT RED FLAGGED
GARRETT MARCHBANKS INJURED
Garrett’s Pro Circuit Kawasaki was bent up. You can see his crash at the edge of the screen in the 250 Main Event highlight video, click here to see it.
250 MAIN EVENT RESTARTED FROM SCRATCH
Everyone, including Chase Sexton, was sad to see Garrett Marchbanks being hauled off the track on a stretcher. But the red flag and full-race restart were exactly what Chase needed to get back into the fight. Shane led the Main with Sexton right behind him for the first five laps.
On lap six, Shane McElrath made a mistake and tried to cut inside of a lapped rider and instead of passing him, he ran into the side of him and tipped over. Shane got up as quick as he could, but at this point Chase Sexton pulled a big gap and even once Shane was riding, Chase stilled pulled away.
Chase had issues with lap riders as well and he even ran into the same rider that Shane did in the same corner. Chase didn’t crash like Shane did, but he did damage his front brake system and lose his front brake for the rest of the race. Towards the end Shane made up ground on Sexton, but Chase still had a large gap and won the race by over 8-seconds. Read below for Chase and Shane’s post race recaps in their own words.
CHASE SEXTON’S POST RACE STATEMENT
Chase Sexton gave us his point of view on the race: “So the first race I got a really good start, I came into the second corner and Shane came inside me, I went off the track. The second rhythm section I got the rhythm clean and I think Enzo Lopes rolled the last jump and I landed right on top of him and ended up sliding out. That was a bummer, but I really felt like my speed was good all day, I really felt like I had an edge on everybody. I knew I could’ve gotten to second, but I was kind of keeping tabs on Shane the first couple laps and I felt like my speed was good enough to maybe get up to him. But it definitely worked out in my favor to get the red flag. I got a decent start, I think I was second and then I was kind of just riding behind Shane because the first moto I made a stupid mistake early and I was like ‘I’m not gonna do that again, I gotta wait this thing out. I felt like I was faster in the whoops, I got close to him a couple times and then kind of backed off and then he ended up coming together with a lapper which gave me the lead. After that I kind of put my head down for a few laps and then I ended up running into that same lapper in that corner and broke my front brake system, so I didn’t have a front brake for over half the race, which was kind of a bummer. It was kind of sketchy with the way the track was. I felt like I rode really well all day, but that first race was not good for me, getting the restart definitely played in my favor and on the line I was like ‘Well, I gotta win this race.’ There was no second place tonight, I had to go out there and win and I feel like we did a good job of that.”
SHANE MCELRATH’S POST RACE STATEMENT
Shane McElrath commented on the race: “Honestly it was a bummer, I didn’t pull the first holeshot but I got into the lead right away. But the second (start after the red flag) one I pulled really good and I just felt like it was time to go. It was a bummer to get the red flag, I don’t know what really happened to Garrett. He was sitting up over there and they were waving the yellow flags and he just never moved. It was a bummer to see him have to get hauled off and also to get red flagged because we were in the perfect position that we needed to be in. I think we were all a little wet after sitting there in the rain for a little bit. It was pretty different once we started back racing. The rain really made things slippery, it was another good start and really just tried to go. I was doing ok, the track was pretty slippery, but I just crossed paths with that lapper and went down. Gloves were pretty slippery, my hands were frozen and it took me a couple laps to get going and at the end I felt fine and really just wish I had more time. It was a bummer, everything that happened, but to come away with second in a mud race, it’s like, I did my best and we’ll be ready for next Wednesday.”
250 EAST COAST POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 7 OF 9)