THE AFTERMATH | 2021 DAYTONA SUPERCROSS | TOMAC WINS 5TH DAYTONA
THE AFTERMATH | 2021 DAYTONA SUPERCROSS | TOMAC WINS 5TH DAYTONA
After the carnage that was Orlando 2, we were ready for the great spectacle that is the Daytona Supercross. Hosted at Daytona International Speedway, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, the ninth round of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross was highly anticipated with its unique track layout that continues to impress us each year. The mixture of Motocross and Supercross elements creates a track that is both extremely fast and technical with challenging rhythm lanes. Designed by Ricky Carmichael; long straightaways, massive wall jumps, giant sand sections, and variable terrain created one of the most exciting races this year. In the morning, Daytona Beach was hammered by rain and it continued to drizzle even throughout the middle of the day. Ken Roczen was the fastest qualifier in the premier class with Justin Cooper setting the fastest pace in the 250s. All of the riders had commented that rain had caused them to burn through their tear-offs but thankfully for the riders, the drizzling rain would stop by time the Heats started.
When the Heats took off, Seth Hammaker took the lead for the majority of the first 250 Heat Race but his teammate Cameron McAdoo would make the pass and finish the race in first place. In the second Heat Race, Hunter Lawrence grabbed the holeshot but unfortunately, the race would get red flagged. However, once the race started again, Hunter would become successful for the second time, lead the race, and take the Heat Race win. In the premier class, Cooper Webb grabbed the holeshot in the first Heat Race with Justin Barcia in second and Aaron Plessinger in third. Aaron eventually made the pass on the GasGas rider and pressured Webb, butCooper held him off to cross the checkers first. In the second Heat Race, Ken Roczen would snag the holeshot and lead the entirety of the race with a win at the end. With how things were shaping up, we knew Daytona was going to be a close race in the premier class when time came for the Main Event.
In Motocross Action’s “The Aftermath”, we look back and analyze exactly what went down in the ninth round of Monster Energy Supercross and dive into the details of the race while sharing our favorite photos from the event. MXA’s Brian Converse and Travis Fant were at the Daytona Supercross to capture all the action. Scroll down below to see all the chaos that happened at the second round of the Daytona Supercross.
Photos by Travis Fant & Brian Converse
ELI TOMAC WINS 5 DAYTONAS
Eli Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael’s record for wins at Daytona.
Eli had stated that the way the track is laid out and the different terrain mixed with Motocross-styled obstacles, just worked out for him. When the gate dropped in the Main Event, Eli Tomac got the best start we’ve seen him get this entire season leading the premier class. Eli would remain practically untouchable with the lead that he gained on the rest of the pack and in the end, it would pay off for the number 1. With how dominant Eli was during the Main Event at Daytona, we wonder if the other three Daytona-styled races at Atlanta will work in Eli’s favor.
THE POINTS CHASE NARROWS TO 2-POINTS
Cooper Webb certainly didn’t make it easy for Ken Roczen at Daytona.
The Main Event commenced and in the second corner, Cooper Webb saw the opportunity to drive Ken Roczen into the tuff blocks and he took it. This forced Ken several positions back and he had to make his way through the pack. Eventually Ken Roczen made it up to Cooper’s rear wheel, but a costly mistake in the rhythm section before the finish line would knock him back from 4th to 5th and make his chances even tougher for passing his rival. Cooper made his way passed Aaron Plessinger for second place closing the points lead that Ken possesses by to just two points. It is often said that the racing begins at Daytona, and with Eli’s strong performance on Motocross-inspired track and Cooper closing the points lead, the next eight rounds sure are going to be exciting.
AARON PLESSINGER GETS CAREER BEST FINISH IN THE 450 CLASS
It was an emotional night for Aaron and the rest of the team.
Aaron has continuously performed better and better each round this season and we were impressed by just how strong he showed his skill on the Daytona course. In the first Heat Race, Webb may have gotten the holeshot but that didn’t stop Aaron from making a pass on Justin Barcia and pressuring Cooper in second untill the checkers flew. When the Main Event gate dropped, Aaron again got a strong start, made a pass on Cooper Webb and would sit in second place for the entirety of the race until getting passed back by Cooper on the last lap. Aaron has been in the 450 class for a two of years now and it can be argued that his results have been less than desirable. But with the factory 450 Yamaha team moving from an in-house Yamaha effort over to the Star Racing Yamaha program, Aaron has shown that he’s a new rider.
CAMERON MCADOO WINS HIS FIRST 250 MAIN EVENT
For someone who was classified as a “fill-in ride” in the past couple of years, Cameron proved his ability big time by winning at Daytona.
Cameron started the season off strong with a second place finish at Orlando 2, just behind Justin Cooper. Going into Daytona, Cameron was on our radar for one of the riders we suspected to be on the podium by the end of the night show. Well, our predictions were correct as Cameron rode exceptional in both qualifying and his Heat race. When the gate dropped in the Main Event, Stilez Robertson would lead the race with a handful of 250s separating himself and Cameron. Cameron squeezed through the pack charging all the way up to first and held onto the spot all the way through the checkers. Cameron is now in the points lead for the West Coast 250s, pushing Justin Cooper to second.
RED FLAGS IN THE 250S
It was a rough night for the lites class again.
Both the second Heat Race in the 250 class and the 250 LCQ were red-flagged. In fact, the 250 LCQ was restarted twice, having riders go down hard within the first three laps two separate times. The high speed track was no match for the 450s but the 250s had to face the same obstacles with slower engines. With the lack of horsepower, we saw many 250 riders take big risks, especially in the rhythm section just before the finish line. The section was an “all-or-nothing” attempt for the lites class as many were forced to triple through the entirety of the jumps or double them, losing valuable time. In the 250 LCQ, Hardy Munoz would get an amazing start each time but the rhythm section before the finish line would result in him being the cause of a red flag after going down hard.
450 SX CLASS:
Eli Tomac loves the style of the Daytona track so much, he had to win there for the fifth time. If Eli continues to dominate the Motocross-styled courses, we may see him gain big points at the Atlanta Triple Header. The track layouts in Atlanta are similar to Daytona, however we do expect them to be more Supercross style with less sand and most likely some harder clay dirt.
Cooper Webb is dangerous when he gets a good start and equally as dangerous when Ken Roczen is around. The points chase is getting ridiculously close with the two riders sitting a couple of points away from each other. Cooper Webb’s strategic performance at the beginning of the Main Event put him in the perfect position to close the gap even more.
Aaron had one of his best nights of racing and even yelled at the end of his podium speech, “Do it for Dale”. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t yelling when we saw AP upfront of the pack. It’s exciting to see someone who’s had a bit of a rough go at the 450 class perform well this year.
Ken Roczen is done playing games with Cooper Webb after Daytona. Ken is one of the fastest riders on the track, always being able to catch up to the leaders but he has a tough time getting past his main rival near the end of the race. We’re anticipating the next round to be quite exciting and hopefully we’ll see a little more aggression out of the 94.
Another very good performance by Malcolm Stewart. At this point, we are just waiting for the night where he lands on top of the box, but for now, the 27 continues to impress us with his consistency and scored another fifth place at the night show.
250 SX CLASS:
All three riders were stoked to be on the podium, especially Cameron McAdoo. Cameron has been hunting for spots on a factory team over the last few years until Mitch Payton saw something in him, giving Cameron a ride for the 2020 season and now 2021 season. His training paid off as his aggressive riding style translated well with the rough Daytona course, earning him a first place career finish.
Justin Cooper was the fastest qualifier but all day long we couldn’t help but think, “Where is Justin at?” Poor starts would be Justin’s bane at Daytona as the 32 would struggle to get upfront of the pack at the beginning of his Heat Race and the Main Event. More mistakes during the Main Event would be costly, making the battle to get back up front even more difficult. Justin still salvaged a very respectable fourth place finish but would lose the lead in the Points chase.
Stilez Roberston is a rookie in the 250 class so to see him already on the podium during his second race is huge. The 67 had a breakout performance at the very beginning of the Main Event and it wasn’t until 3/4s of the race when he lost the lead position to Cameron. We’re hoping we see more moments like Stilez had in the rest of the rookies on the West Coast.
Pierce Brown just got back from a long hiatus away from racing after having knee surgery on his ACL. This was Pierce’s first race of the season and he landed on his first ever Pro podium. We’re excited to see more riders enter the fray in the 250 class after witnessing the carnage at Orlando 2.
The year prior, Garrett Marchbanks had won the Daytona round. Heading into this year’s Daytona on a new team, we had expected the 48 to possibly win again. Unfortunately for Garrett, the ClubMx rider and Garrett would finish in fifth place by the end of the night.
WORDS FROM THE RIDERS:
Eli Tomac via Instagram: “Oh ya! No place like Daytona! We some how dodged a muddy track the whole day and it turned into it’s usual beast. Still hard to believe this was number 5!”
Cooper Webb via Press Release: “It was a great night. I was trying to hang with Eli but he was hauling butt. I definitely rode pretty tight that Main Event but is what it is, I put my head down there at the end and made some good lap times and I was able to get AP there at the end, which was nice to get another podium tonight. It’s always fun coming to Daytona, it’s always a great event.”
Aaron Plessinger via Press Release: “This is definitely a monkey off my back, for sure. Going back to Daytona two years ago, I was lying in the emergency room with a shattered heel and not too sure what was going to happen after that, so to come here and rebound like I just did, it’s crazy. I’m speechless. I felt like I had more to give on the last couple of laps, but a podium is a podium and I’ll take what I can get. I feel like it’s going to come a little bit easier now. The track was so gnarly, with the black sand and then beach sand and all the ruts. Some of the transitions of the jumps had such big kickers on them. It was crazy. It was a long race, but we ended up on the podium, and that’s all I can ask for right now. I just want to give a shout-out to these guys for working their butts off and believing in me. We’re going to keep going.”
Malcolm Stewart via Press Release: “Daytona is one of the tracks I struggle on, so to get a top-five tonight was a good deal. The fact that I rode really well and made it happen is a big confidence booster, especially since we’ve got three more races in Atlanta that are kind of similar to this. I just want to give a shout-out to my teammate, Aaron Plessinger, who got a podium. That was a good one for him. Also, we got two Yamahas in the top five tonight. I think that’s a good stepping stone for us. We’re just going to keep digging, keep having fun, and enjoying the moment. We’ve made a few mistakes, but we’re sitting fifth overall in points. The podium’s coming. We’re getting closer and closer.”
Stilez Robertson via Press Release: “My first qualifying was not that great but the second one came around and I was feeling good. In the heat race, I actually felt pretty good and made the decision to go back to the knobby for the Main Event and I ripped a start! I put down a good eight minutes out front and started thinking about it too much and that’s when Mcadoo got around me. I didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes so I decided to settle into second and learn.”
Pierce Brown via Press Release: “I had some highs and some lows during my downtime and thought it would be a while before I was back up here but first race back and a podium – this is awesome and I’m so stoked! I had a really good start, I got shuffled back for the first couple of corners but I got into my pace, started making passes and next thing I know I was in third. I saw the white flag coming and I knew Justin [Cooper] was right on me, so I knew I had to make it happen.”
Justin Cooper via Instagram: “Daytona in the books. Felt awesome all day, but starts were not good enough. Ended up getting hung up on some tough blocks in the 3rd turn and going down on them. Was around 7th then and would of been a heck of a lot easier to deal with then 21st after the fall. Gave it my all the entire main and never gave up to get up close to the podium guys with 4th. Disappointed in myself for not executing, but I’m just a lot more hungry now.”
Justin Barcia via Press Release: “Daytona was a tough day. I kind of struggled with the track a bit and trying to find the comfort, which unfortunately didn’t happen. I’m going back to California this week to do some work, get more comfortable so we can head into Texas and crush it. I’m definitely not pleased with the results today so I’m trying to put this one in the past, move forward and regroup next week to come out swinging in the next three races, I’m looking forward to it.”
Ryan Sipes via Press Release: “The day was cool! We had some rain and it made the track perfect. My hand was pretty sore but adrenaline kicked in and I was able to mix it up with those guys for a little while in the heat race, so that felt cool. The adrenaline wasn’t quite there in the main, and I had a lot more swelling, so I was having a hard time hanging on. I went and got X-rayed and no broken bones, just some bruising, so we’ll go back and recoup to be back for Atlanta.”
Dylan Ferrandis via Press Release: “I felt good during practice today in Daytona. I had a good start in the Main Event, but I got tangled up in the first turn, and then I had a small crash in the sand. It was another frustrating night for me. We’ll go back to work again for a better result in Arlington.”
Jason Anderson via Press Release: “My night was pretty mediocre all around. I was P7 in qualifying today and in the heat race, I fell in the first turn and got up to eighth. That gate position didn’t put me in a good spot for the main but I made it up to seventh and that’s where I ended up.”
CHASE SEXTON SENDING THE WALL JUMP
We’re actually shocked no one else was sending it to the single after the wall jump or even the on/off. Well, Chase was the only one that attempted and unfortunately…. it didn’t go exactly as planned.
JUST SOME SANDY PHOTOS
Thanks for scrolling! Stay tuned as we bring you more race coverage on our way to the Arlington Supercross next weekend!