Geico Honda’s Chase Sexton is the defending east coast champion and is looking to repeat that feat before he steps up to the 450 class in 2021. The riders most likely to stop that happening is Jeremy Martin, Shane McElrath, Jordon Smith and RJ Hampshire. With the switch to the east coast competition there are also no Aussies in the line-up.
Shane McElrath dominated the first heat race while Sexton had a clear victory in the second 250 heat on a track that had some deep sand sections that caught out plenty of riders.
Jordon Smith scored the holeshot in the 250 Main but Shane McElrath quickly swept through to the lead as Smith’s second position quickly came under attack from Jeremy Martin.
The battle between Smith and Martin went to the latter but their tussle had allowed McElrath to enjoy clear air and pull away from his pursuers, his margin out to almost four-seconds only a couple of minutes into the moto.
Chase Sexton was in fourth but worked his way past Smith and then Martin to move up to second place but with 10-minutes remaining McElrath’s lead was now over six-seconds.
A switch up of his training program, diet and a move to Yamaha machinery obviously all gelling well for the 25-year-old as he cruised home to victory completely unchallenged.
Sexton closed to within six-seconds in the closing stages as McElrath backed off on the way to the flag but he was never in the same race as the #12 Yamaha.
Jeremy Martin’s return to competition from a broken back 18 months ago was also a celebratory affair with the 26-year-old rounding out the podium ahead of Garrett Marchbanks and Jordon Smith.
RJ Hampshire was on course for a top-five before getting caught up on a tough-block that cost him a lot of time and saw him card only a sixth place finish, despite the 24-year-old recording the fastest lap of the race.
AMA SX Results 250 East
Round One – Raymond James Stadium
Eli Tomac arrived on the east coast having trimmed Ken Roczen’s championship lead to only a single point. Defending champion Cooper Webb had also recently come in to some better form and was victorious last week in San Diego to land in Florida only nine-points adrift of Roczen.
Tomac and Malcolm Stewart both started the opening heat race strongly but it was the Kawasaki man that was quickest on the opening lap to fend off Stewart and streak away to a dominant win.
Starts have been Tomac’s achilles heel all season but he was very quick out of the blocks in that heat race and apart from one significant moment in the whoops was untroubled on his way to victory. Cooper Webb was third in the first heat ahead of Justin Brayton and Dean Wilson. Chad Reed was 12th and would have to go to the LCQ to earn his spot in the Main.
Adam Cianciarulo scored the holeshot in the second 450 Heat and had clear air while two incidents on the opening lap caused dramas for many of his opposition. Blake Baggett losing a lot of ground in one of those incidents which meant the #4 KTM had to ride hard in order to fight his way back up the field to earn his transfer spot to the main.
Ken Roczen managed to get within striking distance of Cianciarulo a couple of times and finally managed to sneak past the Kawasaki man after he made a mistake in the sand. Lapped traffic saw Roczen held up a little late in that heat and allowed Cianciarulo to almost steal the win on the run to the flag but the Honda man held on to take victory.
Zach Osborne rounded out the top three ahead of Broc Tickle, the Suzuki rider making his return to competition after serving a two-year suspension for testing positive to stimulants.
Vince Friese scored the holeshot in the Main ahead of Adam Cianciarulo, Eli Tomac and Malcolm Stewart, while Ken Roczen was languishing outside the top ten as the 22-rider field negotiated the first turns of the layout inside the Raymond James Stadium.
Cianciarulo was into the lead before turn two and streaking away from Friese. Eli Tomac was the next rider to pass Friese, quickly followed by Malcolm Stewart pushing Friese further back to fourth ahead of Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen. That pair also made short work of Friese.
Eli Tomac steadily pulled back tenth here and there to close on his team-mate before making his move with just over 11-minutes remaining in the Main. It initially looked as though Cianciarulo would have enough speed to stay with and shadow Tomac but it didn’t turn out that way as his more experienced teammate pulled away to a clear lead.
Cooper Webb and Malcolm Stewart tussled hard over third place in the middle stages of the race race but eventually it was the KTM man that got the better of that battle. Ken Roczen momentarily also sneaked past Stewart but then went down after losing the front and had to watch Stewart blow by him.
Cianciarulo went down after getting crossed-up in the whoops while in a strong second place to really upset the race. Adam was hung up on tough blocks and by the time he get going again he had been relegated all the way back to tenth place.
With five-minutes remaining on the shot clock Tomac had a 13-second lead over Webb while Ken Roczen had managed to move up to third place after getting past Stewart.
Justin Hill then also pushed past Stewart to move the #27 Honda back to sixth place where he immediately came under further attack by Dean Wilson, Justin Brayton and the recovering Adam Cianciarulo.
Eli Tomac backed the pace off in the closing laps and cruised to his third victory of the season. Cooper Webb was a clear second place, well ahead of Ken Roczen.
Justin Barcia got fourth by a nose over Justin Hill at the flag.Dean Wilson was sixth ahead of Malcolm Stewart who just managed to stave off the advances of a closing Adam Cianciarulo who salvaged eighth place.
Justin Brayton scored ninth while Jason Anderson rounded out the top ten after being penalised two positions for gaining a track advantage.
Chad Reed, the only Australian in the SX field across both classes on the east coast, won the LCQ before finishing 19th in the Main.
AMA Supercross now heads to Arlington in Texas next week and Eli Tomac will carry a four-point lead over Roczen into that triple-crown round eight of the 17-round 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.
AMA SX Results 450
Round Seven – Raymond James Stadium
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