Nashville hosted the 14th round of the AMA Supercross Championships last weekend and it was a night that saw a series of ups and downs for Team Green.
The first blow for Kawasaki came when 250 East Coast Championship leader Austin Forkner had his traditional practice crash, but this time the Pro-Circuit Kawasaki pilot was forced to sit out the night with a knee injury.
It was also not looking great for Kawasaki in the 450 category after Eli Tomac was forced to the LCQ, his KX450F ground to a halt while the 26-year-old was leading his heat race.
Heat race winner Ken Roczen was in a class of his own leading into the main event. Championship leader Cooper Webb had looked far from convincing, both during qualifying and his heat, but the plucky KTM rider shook those shackles off come the main and pulled the holeshot ahead of Blake Baggett, Marvin Musquin, Joy Savatgy, Roczen, Dean Wilson and Tomac when the main got underway.
There was a palpable tension in the stadium when Musquin move to second and immediately started putting pressure on his team-mate, followed by an audible gasp from the crowd when Marvin crashed out of the whoops section on lap three.
Savatgy inherited second but the big mover was Roczen, the German soon all over the Kawasaki rider. Then Savatgy lost the front of his Kawasaki going into a bowl right hander, forcing Roczen to crash into the downed KX, before then falling over the back of the berm and tumbling down into another part of the track.
Savatgy had been carted off the track with what looked like a broken collarbone.
“Nights like tonight are a tough pill to swallow. We were running great all day. I felt strong and fast in the heat race, and felt like I was in position to do the same in the main event. I just landed off that triple and hit some slick spot and washed the front end. I dinged myself up pretty good and will go get everything checked out on Monday to make sure I am ready to go in Denver.”
Webb was gifted a handy lead but he was still clearly struggling through the two whoop sections. It wasn’t long before Eli Tomac was finding his mojo and raced by Wilson, Baggett and Webb to take the lead.
A few laps later Baggett move to second ahead of Webb.
Musquin worked his way up through the field in a desperate attempt to salvage points and Roczen was on a similar come from behind mission.
Tomac took the chequered flag well ahead of Baggett, who had Webb right on his back wheel all of the way to the line.
Wilson, Osborne, Musquin, Seely, Roczen, Bogle and Bowers rounded out the top ten. Not what they had wished for but still a far better outcome than non-finishers Justin Barcia, Justin Hill, Joshua Grant and Savatgy.
Webb now has a 21-point lead over Tomac and Musquin with three rounds remaining. Three more top four finishes would be enough for Webb to win the crown, no matter where other riders finish. But there is still plenty of mouth-watering racing to come.
Eli Tomac – P1
“It was tough, you can use it (going to the LCQ) to your advantage or not, I actually felt that I kept warm and found some rhythm but it was pretty wild, the truck was a mile away so when we had the mechanical I had to push it all the way back which made it a time crunch (to get back in time for the LCQ) so I just poured it on in the main, got back to our old self and it felt good to do that.”
Blake Baggett – P2
“The track was super slippery and the whoops were cupped out so it felt like you were fighting the bike a lot and using a lot of energy, I had a few good spots but the best man won tonight, Eli took advantage of a few spots where I was slower, got to give it up to the team, we thought we may have a win but not tonight.”
Cooper Webb – P3
“When I was out front it was good but I could tell they were catching me but I was struggling with lines and whoops so it was like, I will learn and see what these guys are doing then see if I can’t keep on their wheel, maybe mount an attack later, but obviously it didn’t work out like that with the track being so slippery and not being able to attack.”
450 SX Highlights Video
450SX Main Event Results
Eli Tomac – Kawasaki
Blake Baggett – KTM +11.644
Cooper Webb – KTM +13.808
Dean Wilson – Husqvarna +18.940
Zach Osborne – Husqvarna +23.804
Marvin Musquin – KTM +49.921
Cole Seely – Honda +41.979
Ken Roczen – Honda +50.242
Justin Bogle – KTM +1 lap
Tyler Bowers – Kawasaki +1 lap
Chris Blose – Husqvarna +1 lap
Ben Lamay – Honda +1 lap
Kyle Chisholm – Suzuki +1 lap
Mike Alessi – Honda +1 lap
Justing Starling – Husqvarna +2 laps
Post Race Press Conference
450SX Points after 14 of 17 Rounds
Cooper Webb – 309
Eli Tomac – 288
Marvin Musquin – 288
Ken Roczen – 267
Blake Baggett – 238
Dean Wilson – 220
Cole Seely – 176
Joey Savatgy – 174
Justin Barcia – 154
Chad Reed – 151
Justin Brayton – 141
Justin Bogle 138
Aaron Plessinger – 123
Justin Hill – 122
Tyler Bowers – 116
250 East Coast Report
Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper came into Nashville 26 and 28-points behind Forkner respectively so this was as good a chance for them to make up serious ground on the championship leader who had to sit out the main with a knee injury. The pair looked on track to perhaps make that happen when they came through turn one together, Sexton leading Cooper.
Unfortunately for both riders Cooper then had a complete brain fade in the second corner, not only dive-bombing Sexton but then also running into the Honda rider so high that they locked bikes and fell into each other.
While Cooper and Sexton went through the traditional frantic bike pick up scenario, Davalos inherited the lead and romped away to the win, doing his team-mate in Austin Forkner a massive favour in the process.
Well behind Davalos the action was aplenty as Sexton and Cooper sliced there way back through the field and by race end had promoted themselves back onto the podium. Sexton will head to the next round only three-points adrift of Forkner.
Kyle Peters, Brandon Hartranft, Mitchell Oldenburg, Kyle Cunningham, Ryan Sipes, Mitchell Falk and Alex Martin rounded out the top ten
Martin Davalos – P1
“I was forced to recover from a myriad of injuries during the off-season and my neck was one of them that I didn’t think would be an issue but I had problems with my arms and hands locking up so I spoke to Mitch and we got a heap of doctors in California to check me out and find solutions, as far as tonight goes the guys made a mistake and I took advantage of it, put myself in the right position and what we did with my neck a week ago definitely calmed my neck a little bit but all up, I am pumped to be here and this is awesome. I am looking for a 450 ride next year, I feel that would suit me better.”
Chase Sexton – P2
“I got a pretty good start and I really felt that tonight was my night so I made a quick pass on Justin and I was honestly just trying to sprint away but I clipped some of the rhythm which allowed him (Cooper) to get alongside me, I don’t have much to say about it except it is a bummer and it put us along way back but I was able to put my head down and get back to second.”
Justin Cooper – P3
“We (Sexton and I) were one and two after the start, battling hard with everything on the line with Austin out so I went to block pass him in that flat berm but as I went to pull away I felt that our bikes were connected at that point which took us both down which is kind of a bummer.”
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