Saturday night at the Daytona International Speedway saw Eli Tomac make take victory at the 50th annual running aboard his Kawasaki, to become the fourth rider to win the Daytona Supercross four times, including in 2016, 2017 and 2019, while the 250SX main was won by Garrett Marchbanks.
Racing started Saturday night with heat events – two apiece for the 450SX and 250SX classes with each heat sending nine drivers to the main events. Roczen and Webb won the 450 heats, while Shane McElrath (Yamaha) and Marchbanks took the 250 heats.
Following the heats, respective Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) races advanced the top-four finishers from each going to the mains. Jalek Swoll (Husqvarna) took the 250SX LCQ; Ryan Breece (Suzuki) was the 450SX winner.
Victory did not come easily for Eli Tomac, who fell behind Ken Roczen early in the 20-minute/plus one lap main event, with the gap growing to nearly nine seconds at one point. With just less than two minutes left before the white-flag lap, Tomac completed a long, steady comeback by taking the lead when Roczen’s Honda bobbled slightly in a tight turn and he nearly went down.
Ken Roczen rallied to finish second, only 0.707 seconds behind, while defending series champion Cooper Webb, also from Clermont, finished third on his KTM bike. The 1-2-3 finish mirrored the current standings in 450SX class of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.
Eli Tomac – P1
“Tonight it was just a little bit of patience in the beginning because the pace was hard early on. Somewhere about halfway I realized I had to get going and make the moves and the passes. It was tough to make up the time. Gosh, that was close. Big night. We’re in a really good spot in the points, a spot we haven’t been in. So, we’ll just keep trucking along.”
Outside the top three, Cooper Webb grabbed a top-five start and raced his way into third by lap three. Determined to reach the lead battle, Webb diligently climbed into second, setting his sights on the leader ahead. He made a couple of mistakes and lost the second-place spot with six laps to go, but he maintained a solid pace in the final laps to secure his seventh podium finish of the season with third.
Cooper Webb – P3
“I felt like I put myself in a good position – I was in second and a little way back and Eli [Tomac] was able to get me. I started making a lot of mistakes and let him get away. It’s good to be on the podium, so I’m stoked on that but I’m going to work this week. I think I’m at a point where I’ve finally healed up good enough to try to contend, so I’ll take the podium but I really want to get another win.”
Jason Anderson led the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team efforts in the 450SX class, qualifying in the top five and going on to finish fourth in the main event after the early holeshot and dicing for the podium, before dropping to fourth on lap 11, a position he maintained.
“My weekend went alright, the heat race went well, I almost got into the lead there but I ended up finishing second. In the main, I got the holeshot and fell back to fourth but I pushed forward and almost had third. All-in-all it, was a good race for me and I just have to keep racing out there with the boys.”
Justin Barcia completed the top five, as top Yamaha, followed by Aaron Plessinger, while Dean Wilson was seventh. Malcolm Stewart was eighth, Justin Hill ninth and Justin Brayton completed the top ten. Aussie Chad Reed was 13th.
Prior to the headlining 450SX main event, the 250SX main was won by Garrett Marchbanks of Coleville, Utah on a Kawasaki. Marchbanks rode a holeshot start to an early, sizable lead and a dominating victory – the first of his career in 250SX competition. Honda riders Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin finished second and third.
Garrett Marchbanks – P1
“I hadn’t gotten a holeshot in I don’t know how long, I rode smart, after I got out front I rode some good laps. You know, [it’s] don’t look back [at that point], just keep on going.”
Outside the top three RJ Hampshire managed to maintained third for a majority of the race but he ended up tweaking his knee in a corner and ultimately lost ground with two laps to go, finishing fourth on the day Hampshire now sits third overall with four rounds remaining in the 250SX Eastern Regional Championship.
RJ Hampshire – P4
“Obviously I would have liked to finish on the podium but all-in-all, I’m pretty happy with how tonight went,” Hampshire said. “While I was running third, I dabbed my leg in a corner and it gave me a stinger on my knee, which kind of caused me to mess up the rhythm a couple of laps and [Jeremy] Martin was able to get around me. With the track being as high-speed as it was, I made the decision to be smart and take fourth so I could move on to Indy and get better results.”
Shane McElrath completed the top five as top Yamaha, with Pierce Brown sixth, Jo Shimoda seventh, and Enzo Lopes, Jalek Swoll and Cedric Soubevras round out the top ten respectively.
Bike Week At DAYTONA continues at Daytona International Speedway through March 15, highlighted by the March 14 doubleheader featuring the 79th Daytona 200 and the Daytona TT.
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