Supercross reconvened at Salt Lake City overnight for the final of the seven quick-fire rounds, staged over three weeks and all held without spectators inside Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, that closed out the COVID-19 affected 17-round 2020 AMA Supercross season.
While things were tight at the top for both of the 250 crowns in this East-West showdown, in the premier 450 category Eli Tomac only required a couple of points to secure the Title ahead of defending champion Cooper Webb. Conditions were hot and the track very technical and at 1400 metres of elevation the lungs of both man and machine were struggling to breathe freely.
250 Heat One (East)
First up on the race card was the 250 East Heat and once again the Monster Energy Star Yamaha riders were quickest out of the blocks with Colt Nichols leading Shane McElrath. Championship leader Chase Sexton had been swamped at turn one and was running in ninth place at the end of the opening lap while up front his title rival Shane McElrath was leading the way.
McElrath eventually pulled away from team-mate Nichols and went on to take a clear victory but Sexton showed his class by working his way through the pack and setting the fastest lap of the race, more than a second quicker than anyone else in the 20-rider field, despite running the whole race amongst traffic.
By the final lap Sexton was all over second place Nichols and shaping up to challenge for that position. Only a few corners before the end Sexton jumped through a rhythm section quicker than Nichols and the two clashed. Nichols, team-mate of race leader and championship challenger McElrath, looked over his shoulder towards the end of the series of jumps and visibly shifted his line to block Sexton in order to protect his position, and that of his team-mate. Sexton though was already in the air and could not alter his line enough to avoid jumping right on to the back of Sexton which resulted in both men going down. It could have been really ugly but both riders were quickly back up and running, Nichols though had sustained some machine and wrist damage in the clash that left him to limp home in ninth.
250 Heat One (East) Results
Shane McElrath – Yamaha
Chase Sexton – Honda +14.429s
Jo Shimoda – Honda +15.986s
Jalek Swoll – Husqvarna +16.493s
Kyle Peters – Honda +19.716s
Enzo Lopes – Yamaha +21.505s
Chris Blose – Honda +24.795s
John Short – Honda +26.828s
Colt Nichols – Honda +24.795s
Jace Owen – Honda +32.825s
250 Heat Two (West)
After an exciting heat race for the 250 East competitors the 250 West racers shot out of the gates for their heat race. Mitch Oldenburg scored the hole-shot ahead of Justin Cooper and Christian Craig while championship rivals Austin Forkner and Dylan Ferrandis were fifth and seventh. Aussie siblings Jett and Hunter Lawrence were 11th and 16th respectively. After qualifying 13th quickest amongst the 250 West competitors countryman Luke Clout had failed to make the start of the Heat race after crashing in the final qualifying session.
A pile-up at the end of the first rhythm section saw a number of riders clash after Brandon Hartranft went down. Coming out worst in the melee was championship leader Dylan Ferrandis, the Frenchman eventually rejoining the race in second from last position, 23-seconds behind race leader Justin Cooper.
At half-race distance Cooper was leading Craig by two-seconds, Mosiman was third and Forkner had just slipped past Oldenburg for fourth. Jett Lawrence was in ninth and Hunter was 11th but a couple of minutes later Hunter made a mistake which saw him shuffled right back to 18th.
By the last lap board Cooper had a commanding lead over Craig while Forkner had just taken third place from Mosiman. Jett Lawrence was now up to eighth and safely through to the Main. Hunter Lawrence though was heading for the LCQ after failing to finish the race.
On the final lap Forkner was starting to challenge Craig for second place but Mosiman then jumped a double to land right inbetween Craig and Forkner, but Forkner then sent Mosiman wide on the exit of the following turn and the Husqvarna man lost a number of positions to eventually cross the line in seventh.
Cooper the winner from Craig while Forkner finished third. The big news though was that championship leader Dylan Ferrandis was headed for the LCQ after finishing tenth due to that lap one incident that had put him at the back of the field. Ferrandis though had set the fastest lap of the race.
250 Heat (West) Two Results
Justin Cooper – Yamaha
Christian Craig – Honda +3.485s
Austin Forkner – Kawasaki +5.040s
Cameron McAdoo – Kawasaki +7.523s
Derek Drake – KTM +11.791s
Mitch Oldenburg – Honda +15.714s
Michael Mosiman – Husqvarna +15.854s
Jett Lawrence – Honda +17.143s
Martin Castelo – Husqvarna +24.948s
Dylan Ferrandis – +26.626ss
250 East-West LCQ
250 West Championship leader Dylan Ferrandis was the man with the most pressure on his shoulders amongst the riders lining up on the gates for the LCQ but the 26-year-old Frenchman got a decent start and went on to win the LCQ.
No such luck for Hunter Lawrence, the Geico Honda rider was back in 17th at the start and left with a lot of work to do in order to try and make a transfer spot. Hunter did make it up to as high as sixth but was eighth at the chequered flag and would be left to cheer on his younger brother Jett from the sidelines come the Main.
250 East-West LCQ Results
Dylan Ferrandis – Yamaha
Brandon Hartranft – KTM +2.865s
Alex Martin – Suzuki +5.908s
Jace Owen – Honda +10.022s
Chase Marquier – Honda +12.933s
Lorenzo Locurcio – Kawasaki +19.196s
Robbie Wageman – Yamaha +20.996s
Hunter Lawrence – Honda +22.815s
Josh Osby – Yamaha +25.802s
Justin Starling – Husqvarna +27.062s
250 East-West Main
Dylan Ferrandis headed in to the 250 East-West showdown Main event with a seven-point lead over Austin Forkner in the chase for the West title, while in the East competition six-points separated Sexton and McElrath. After getting caught up in a melee in his heat race though Ferrandis had contest edthe LCQ and thus had a terrible gate pick, putting further pressure on the Frenchman’s shoulders as they lined up for the race that would decide two championships.
Shane McElrath scored the hole-shot ahead of Jalek Swoll while Austin Forkner was in third through the opening jump sections but it didn’t take the Kawasaki man long to move past Swoll and up to second place. That meant we had the two riders that were both second in their respective championships running 1-2, while the championship leaders ran seventh and ninth respectively and were back in the strongest pack of the season due to the combined nature of this final Main. If they finished in those places both Sexton and Ferrandis would be beaten to their respective titles at this final juncture by their challengers. That was some script right there…
Shane McElrath was the clear leader and if he won the race Chase Sexton would need to finish at least third in order to successfully defend his 250 East title. With 13-minutes left on the clock Sexton was up to sixth and chasing his Geico Honda team-mate Jett Lawrence for fifth. Ferrandis had passed Mosiman for eighth but had plenty of work to do in order to clinch his second successive 250 West title.
But Forkner then went down hard! The Kawasaki rider had been running in second place, 2.2-seconds behind McElrath but a big mistake had the 21-year-old curled up on the track and in lots of pain. He made no attempt at getting back on his bike or even trying to get up. The Missouri native lay there as medical staff attended to him. The red flag eventually came out to halt the race and with it the championship hopes of Forkner also came to an end.
At the red flag McElrath was leading Craig by 2.2-seconds and the Honda man had the same buffer over third placed McAdoo. Jett Lawrence was fourth and Chase Sexton fifth.
As three laps had not been completed by the leader competitors were faced with a full re-start and at that re-start it was 16-year-old Aussie Jett Lawrence that took the hole-shot over Shane McElrath while Chase Sexton was in third, McAdoo fourth and Ferrandis fifth.
Jett Lawrence led for the opening three-minutes before McElrath put a pass on the youngster but Jett took that position right back at the next corner as he had the inside line, his pass on McElrath slowed the Yamaha rider and allowed his team-mate Chase Sexton to also slip past and push McElrath further back to third. At the end of the next section though both Sexton and McElrath got the better of Jett and the two men fighting for the championship were now also fighting for the race lead. Cameron McAdoo then pushed Jett further back to fourth and Ferrandis was looking to join that party.
The race then took another interesting turn. Sexton had not been able to pull away from McElrath, so he slowed to let the Yamaha man through to the lead. Sexton only needed to finish third even if McElrath won the race thus it was starting to become tactical between the two men. Half a lap later McElrath did the same thing and allowed Sexton back through to the lead in order to pressure him from behind and try and force an error that would give him the championship.
A little further back McAdoo and Lawrence were trading places just ahead of Dylan Ferrandis, the Frenchman happy to watch on and not get involved, as with Forkner out of the race the 250 West championship was already his. Jett Lawrence though made an attempt at an inside pass on McAdoo that did not come off and left the young Aussie on the deck, by the time he was up and running again he had been relegated to sixth position by Ferrandis and Mosiman.
Sexton had dropped the hammer out front and pulled away from McElrath. By half-race distance Sexton led McElrath by over two-seconds. Ferrandis had made a mistake while trying to take third place from McAdoo and dropped the bike, he was up and going again quickly but was passed by Mosiman while on the ground and relegated to fifth just ahead of Jett Lawrence.
Shane McElrath had no answers for Sexton. The Geico Honda man continued to pull away as the race progressed and with five-minutes left on the clock, held four-seconds over his challenger.
McAdoo and Mosiman tripped each other up while battling for third position which allowed Ferrandis and Lawrence to join their party and turn that into a four-way battle for the final spot on the podium.
Chase Sexton went on to take a clear and dominant victory, his fifth of the season and with it, successfully defended his 250 East Championship. Shane McElrath second on track and second in the series.
Michael Mosiman rounded out the podium but in fourth place was an elated 250 West champion Dylan Ferrandis, the Frenchman overcome with emotion in the post race interviews at the joy of successfully defending his title.
Jett Lawrence crossed the line in fifth well ahead of Brandon Hartranft, while Justin Cooper in seventh took enough points to move past Forkner and take second place in the 250 West Championship.
250 SX East-West Main Video Highlights
250 SX East-West Main Results
Chase Sexton – Honda
Shane McElrath – Yamaha +4.275s
Michael Mosiman – Husqvarna +7.487s
Dylan Ferrandis – Yamaha +10.219s
Jett Lawrence – Honda +11.192s
Brandon Hartfranft – KTM +23.741s
Justin Cooper – Yamaha +34.678s
Jo Shimoda – Honda +36.271s
Derek Drake – KTM +43.420s
Mitch Oldenburg – Honda +50.506s
250 SX East Final Championship Points
Chase Sexton 218
Shane McElrath 209
Jo Shimoda 122
Garrett Marchbanks 119
Enzo Lopes 107
Jeremy Martin 105
Jalek Swoll 104
Kyle Peters 94
Pierce Brown 92
RJ Hampshire 80
Colt Nichols 74
Jace Owen 69
Chris Blose 65
John Short 64
Jordan Bailey 64
250 SX West Final Championship Points
Dylan Ferrandis 200
Justin Cooper 180
Austin Forkner 176
Brandon Hartranft 158
Michael Mosiman 139
Alex Martin 124
Derek Drake 120
Mitch Oldenburg 109
Luke Clout 106
Jett Lawrence 97
Eli Tomac only required a couple of points to secure the Title ahead of defending champion Cooper Webb. Conditions were hot and the track very technical.
450 Heat One
The man with the coolest name in racing, Broc Tickle, took the hole-shot in the opening 450 Heat ahead of Vince Friese and Martin Davalos while championship challenger Cooper Webb was seventh at the end of the first jump section.
Davalos quickly worked his way through to the race lead but by half-race distance chasing him hard was Jason Anderson and Cooper Webb.
Anderson eventually took the lead with two-minutes left on the clock and from there pulled away to a clear victory. Cooper Webb passed Martin Davalos to take second place while Justin Brayton scored a fourth place finish ahead of Broc Tickle and Dean Wilson.
450 Heat One Results
Jason Anderson – Husqvarna
Cooper Webb – KTM +3.096s
Martin Davalos – KTM +6.454s
Justin Brayton – Honda +10.457s
Broc Tickle – Suzuki +13.061s
Dean Wilson – Husqvarna +15.259s
Aaron Plessinger – Yamaha +16.730s
Tyler Bowers – Kawasaki +19.662s
Vince Friese – Honda +20.632s
Kyle Chisholm – Yamaha +22.464s
450 Heat Two
There were plenty of big hitters in the second 450 Heat but it was Ken Roczen and Zach Osborne quickest out of the blocks to be running 1-2 over the opening laps. Championship leader Eli Tomac was up to fifth by lap two after passing Chad Reed and Malcolm Stewart.
Tomac then battled with Justin Barcia for fifth but the Yamaha man offered resistance and slowed the charge of the Kawasaki man somewhat, Tomac had to be careful not to get caught up in any incident as he has a championship on the line here today. The pair eventually closed in on Blake Baggett and both slipped past the KTM man after he made a mistake. Then with two laps to go Barcia made a mistake which allowed Tomac through to third place.
Up front though Ken Roczen was leading Osborne by a couple of seconds but on the final lap the Honda man slowed down too much and was nearly gazumped by Osborne on the run to the line but just managed to hold on for the win.
Chad Reed secured the final transfer spot in ninth.
450 Heat Two Results
Ken Roczen – Honda
Zach Osborne – Husqvarna +0.453s
Eli Tomac – Kawasaki +1.548s
Justin Barcia – Yamaha +3.154s
Blake Baggett – KTM +4.145s
Malcolm Stewart – Honda +5.014s
Benny Bloss – KTM +10.369s
Justin Hill – Honda +15.242s
Chad Reed – KTM +22.702s
Kyle Cunningham – Suzuki +35.523s
450 LCQ Results
Carlen Gardner – Honda
Fredrik Noren – Suzuki +2.665s
Kyle Chisholm – Yamaha +3.596s
Alex Ray – Kawasaki +8.161s
Theodore Pauli – Kawasaki +15.276s
Only moments after an exciting climax to the 250 championships 450 competitors lined up on the start gates to decide the premier crown. With a 22-point lead over Cooper Webb heading into this finale though it was Tomac’s to lose, the Kawasaki man only requiring a 19th place to clinch his first ever 450 Supercross crown even if Webb takes the race win.
Today would also perhaps mark the final high profile contest for Aussie legend Chad Reed as a professional. Recent comments from the 38-year-old though have suggested this will certainly not be the last time we see him on the racetrack so who knows what 2021 might hold for Chad…
When the gates dropped it was a Husqvarna 1-2-3 headed by Zach Osborne, Ken Roczen was in fourth ahead of Benny Bloss, Broc Tickle, Vince Friese and Chad Reed while Tomac was in ninth. Justin Brayton, Martin Davalos and Justin Barcia had got hooked up together and all went down.
Ken Roczen lost the rear while trying to pass Dean Wilson for the lead and was shuffled all the way back to eighth by the time he was up and running again. Eli Tomac was now in tenth while the only man that could potentially stop him from winning the crown today was down in 14th place, so the Kawasaki man could just ride safe and bring it home from here.
After Roczen’s mistake Jason Anderson had moved up to second place and was chasing race leader Dean Wilson while Zach Osborne made it a Husky 1-2-3 once again. It took a few minutes for Anderson to take the lead and following him through on Wilson also was Zach Osborne who moved up to second.
By half-race distance Eli Tomac had steadily and carefully worked his way up to fifth. Roczen was ninth, Webb tenth and Reed eleventh.
Jason Anderson looked set to take his first Main victory since 2018, his championship winning year, but a few minutes before the end the seat came off his 450 Husky. That misfortune allowed Osborne to take the advantage and go on to take his first ever 450 Main victory in what was an all Husqvarna podium rounded out by Dean Wilson. That second place though was enough to promote Anderson past Barcia to fourth place in the final championship standings while Osborne’s victory saw him improve his final standing to seventh overall.
Malcolm Stewart was fourth in the race, seventh in the title, but the major celebrations went to fifth placed Eli Tomac who with that result wrapped up his first Monster Energy Supercross 450 Championship.
Eli Tomac – 450 Champion
“This is just unbelievable, especially under all of the circumstances. I just look back at my entire lifetime of riding, the wins, the losses, and overcoming it all with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. There was a point in time we didn’t know if we would be able to get back to racing and here we are finishing business. I am so incredibly happy and proud we finally did it, it’s unbelievable.”
Ken Roczen seventh on the track and third in the series while Cooper Webb took the chequered flag in eighth and with it second in the series.
Chad Reed rounded out his stellar and unprecedentedly long professional career with a top ten finish in the race and 16th place in the championship.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.