AMA SX Round 12
Race report by Trevor Hedge
After riding in qualifying, Adam Cianciarulo made the decision to not race following his crash during Sunday’s 450SX Main Event.
Unlike most of this competitors Ken Roczen had a great gate pick devoid any deep trench in front of him however the 26-year-old failed to use that advantage to any great effect and it was Vince Friese that scored the hole-shot while both Roczen and Tomac made tentative starts and were outside the top ten through the first turns.
Roczen blew past Tomac, then the Kawasaki man returned the favour, only for the German to sneak past yet again. The duo were dicing as they thrust their way forward through the field, the pair up to sixth and seventh only two-minutes into the race.
Early leader Vince Friese then made a mistake, going down and getting shuffled right back to 16th place behind Chad Reed and Malcolm Stewart.
Zach Osborne was the race leader four-minutes in the main event with a 1.6-second buffer over second placed Cooper Webb with Jason Anderson equidistant in third. Ken Roczen was now fourth and Tomac fifth after pushing Justin Barcia back to sixth and Dean Wilson to seventh.
Through the whoop section Roczen’s factory Honda looked perfectly settled with great drive off the lips compared to his rivals, but Tomac also had his advantages through other parts of the track as the two chased down third placed Jason Anderson.
Tomac passed Roczen for fourth as the race approached the halfway point. Roczen seemed to lose a lot of pace through the middle of the race after showing what looked like could be race winning speed earlier on in the main.
Eli Tomac then passed Anderson with ease and immediately put clear air between his KX450F and the #21 Husqvarna.
With five-minutes remaining Zach Osborne still held on to the lead but was now starting to be attacked by Cooper Webb. Meanwhile Tomac was a further 1.5-seconds behind that duo. Webb saw that Tomac was closing in so redoubled his efforts to get past Osborne, making a pass stick with three-minutes remaining to put Osborne between himself and the charging Kawasaki.
A lap later Tomac sneaked past Osborne to move up to second place but Webb now had 1.5-seconds in hand with two-minutes remaining. That gap was down to half-a-second with two laps to run but then a small mistake by Tomac cost the Kawasaki man his chance of victory.
Cooper Webb a deserving victor, his second of the year and the ninth 450 SX Main win in his career.
Zach Osborne third with a clear buffer over Jason Anderson.
Ken Roczen a disappointing fifth, a result he will be left ruing ahead of Sunday’s round 13 of the 17 round Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.
Webb’s win saw him claw back eight-points on Roczen in the championship chase to now only be 16-points behind the German.
Cooper Webb – P1
“It was a great night overall but it was a tough race – the track conditions were definitely tricky and you had to be patient out there. The whoops were tough, I just committed to my lines from the beginning and it played out pretty well. It was a great night to get a win, these are not easily regained, especially with the top guys up here tonight so I want to soak it in but we’ve got five more rounds to go.”
Tomac’s second place saw him extend his series lead over Roczen from eight-points out to 13.
Eli Tomac – P2
“I was fighting with all I could tonight. I got pushed back off the start and began making my way towards the front after that. I got close with two laps to go but then I made a little mistake in the rhythm section so I couldn’t quite make it happen, but overall it was a good night for us.”
Zach Osborne – P3
“My Main Event ride was really good – I maybe let a win slip away but in the end it’s a good building block. I felt good all day, the team vibe was unreal and we had a really good, fun time today. To get all three of the bikes inside the top six was incredible. I’m really proud of what I accomplished and what the team accomplished tonight.”
Jason Anderson – P4
“My day was not bad. I ended up second in practice and in the heat race I had a decent little battle and ended up third. In the Main Event, I got a good start and got tangled in the first corner. I came up to third for a minute and then fell back to fourth and just kind of rode around in fourth.”
Ken Roczen – P5
“I’m feeling good on the bike and had a good heat race, but obviously I’m having issues that prevent me from keeping it going. I’m trying to figure it out and do my best to come back stronger. This thing isn’t over yet, but obviously fifth place is not where we want to be. The main goal is to try to be better, and especially get a better start; I took a chance going to the very inside on the start gate and that didn’t work out. I’m going to rest and recover, and I look forward to trying our best in the next race.”
Dean Wilson – P6
“Everything felt so much better today. I was in a really good mood all day, everyone on the team was just in a good vibe and the bike was awesome,” Wilson said. Qualifying went really good and I felt like I was riding really well all day. It was a demanding race and the elevation was definitely hitting me but I finished off with a sixth. I’m happy with that, it was a good fight.”
Justin Barcia – P8
“We definitely had better track conditions today, the traction was much better, but the whoops were very difficult. We made changes throughout the day searching for that happy setting. I got off to a pretty good start in the Main Event and was running well, but unfortunately got to the whoops and just couldn’t get through them all night. I’m proud of the team for making great changes today and it was a lot of hard work on everyone’s part. We’re just going to keep working and won’t be happy until we’re up front.”
Justin Brayton – P9
“So another ninth place, but it was a totally different type of ninth place than on Sunday, when I started second and kind of made some mistakes and went back. This time I got a really bad start and just got pinched off. I was in the second gate from the inside, which was kind of a gamble, but I chose it and it kind of bit me. I think I might’ve been last around the first turn and came back to ninth, so I felt good about the ride. I had really good lap times, especially the last 10 to 15 laps, so I just need to get a better start and I think we’ll be good to go here in four days.”
Aaron Plessinger – P12
“I struggled a lot throughout the day with setup. I didn’t qualify too well in the first session, I was just sliding around a lot and not really hitting the whoops like I wanted to. We got better in the second qualifying. I felt a lot better in that one and was flowing a little bit, but in the Heat race I got off to a bad start and fought my way to eighth. In the Main Event, I got an even worse start. I was messing around with some dudes in the back and couldn’t really get going until the halfway mark and worked my way up to 12th from 18th. It’s not where we want to be. We’re going to have to make some adjustments and get better starts and finish where we need to. I’ve got a good feeling about these next two rounds. I’m looking forward to it.”
There is an 80 per cent chance of rain forecast for this weekend’s event which might throw a spanner in the works for some, while opening up opportunities for others…
450 SX Results
- Cooper Webb – KTM
- Eli Tomac – Kawasaki +1.908s
- Zach Osborne – Husqvarna +15.421s
- Jason Anderson – Husqvarna +25.043s
- Ken Roczen – Honda +27.089s
- Dean Wilson – Husqvarna +28.726s
- Malcolm Stewart – Honda +29.118s
- Justin Barcia – Yamaha +36.432s
- Justin Brayton – Honda +40.072s
- Justin Hill – Honda +42.630s
- Martin Davalos – KTM +45.092s
- Aaron Plessinger – Yamaha +48.149s
- Benny Bloss – KTM +1 lap
- Blake Baggett – KTM +1 lap
- Kyle Cunningham – Suzuki +1 lap
- Vince Friese – Honda +1 lap
- Chad Reed – KTM +1 lap
- Kyle Chisholm – Yamaha +1 lap
- Adam Enticknap – Suzuki +2 laps
- Carlen Gardner – Honda +2 laps
450 SX Championship Points
- Eli Tomac -275
- Ken Roczen – 262
- Cooper Webb – 246
- Justin Barcia – 225
- Jason Anderson – 208
- Malcolm Stewart – 180
- Justin Hill – 161
- Dean Wilson – 159
- Justin Brayton – 157
- Aaron Plessinger – 147
- Zach Osborne – 144
- Blake Baggett – 134
- Adam Cianciarulo – 129
- Martin Davalos – 121
- Vince Friese – 120
- Tyler Bowers – 65
- Chad Reed – 59
- Kyle Chisholm – 57
- Benny Bloss – 54
- Kyle Cunningham – 40
Shane McElrath topped qualifying and won his heat race but it was Monster Energy Star Yamaha team-mate Colt Nichols that scored the hole-shot when the gates dropped in the main.
Championship leader Chase Sexton went down after losing the front and then got caught up with Pierce Brown, by the time the defending champion was up and running again he was down in 17th position.
It only took a few laps for Sexton to push back up inside the top ten and with ten-minutes remaining in the Main he was up to eighth, 15-seconds behind the leading Yamaha duo. It was at that same juncture that McElrath pushed past his team-mate to take the race lead.
Once in front McElrath pulled away from Nichols and with four-minutes remaining held a four-second lead over the 26-year-old. Jeremy Martin was a further six-seconds behind in third while Chase Sexton had clawed his way through the field to be up to fourth, but had another six-seconds to gain on Martin before he could challenge for that final step on the podium.
McElrath slowed on the final lap but still took the chequered flag almost two-seconds in front of Nichols.
Jeremy Martin rounded out the podium ahead of his Geico Honda team-mate Chase Sexton who was left to rue that early mistake that cost him dearly.
The fastest lap of the race went to Colt Nichols.
That win ties McElrath with Sexton on points after what was the sixth round of the 250 East competition.
Shane McElrath – P1
“Man it was a great day for the team! It was a tough race. The track crew built a technical track and it was physically demanding, but I’m super excited and thankful to do my best out there and tonight that was the top step. It’s cool to get back-to-back wins and I’m really excited about it, but right now my focus is on Sunday.”
Colt Nichols – P2
“It was a really great night for the team, exactly what we needed to do. I wish I could’ve held the lead a little longer, but it was awesome to lead laps and be back on the podium after such a long break from racing. I had a blast during the night program. It felt like another day at the test track with Shane in that Main Event. So that made it really fun. I’m ready to go again Sunday.”
250 SX East Results
- Shane McElrath – Yamaha
- Colt Nichols – Yamaha +1.846s
- Jeremy Martin – Honda +10.088s
- Chase Sexton – Honda +14.742s
- Garrett Marchbanks – Kawasaki +23.016s
- Kyle Peters – Honda +27.717s
- Jalek Swoll – Husqvarna +32.127s
- Jo Shimoda – Honda +37.209s
- Chris Blose – Honda +40.251s
- Pierce Brown – KTM +41.127s
- Jace Owen – Honda +50.957s
- Jordan Bailey – Honda +1 lap
- John Short – Honda +1 lap
- Josh Osby – Yamaha +1 lap
- Lorenzo Locurcio – Kawasaki +1 lap
250 SX East Championship Points
- Shane McElrath – 140
- Chase Sexton – 140
- Garrett Marchbanks – 118
- Jeremy Martin – 105
- RJ Hampshire – 80
- Jo Shimoda – 77
- Jalek Swoll – 74
- Enzo Lopes – 66
- Jordan Bailey – 64
- Pierce Brown – 54