The 17 round 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship should have been finishing at Salt Lake City early in May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe the series has been suffering through an extended shutdown period. Round Ten was held at Daytona early in March but the gates finally dropped again on May 31 for Round 11, but without the fans present due to social distancing guidelines. The backdrop of an empty Rice-Eccles Stadium certainly took much of the sheen and glitz from the event and almost made it look like a club level arenacross! I can only imagine it felt somewhat the same for the riders.
Ken Roczen proved quickest in qualifying ahead of Eli Tomac while the only other rider in the 41-second bracket was Adam Cianiarulo.
Eli Tomac won the opening heat race from Cooper Webb while Ken Roczen topped the second heat ahead of Adam Cianciarulo and Justin Brayton.
As SX fired off the line for the first time in 85 days it was Blake Baggett who scored the hole-shot ahead of Adam Cianciarulo and Justin Brayton. Baggett was looking very strong early on and quickly built a 1.3-second buffer over Cianciarulo, while Eli Tomac was starting to challenge Brayton for third by the end of the opening lap.
Vince Friese was fifth ahead of Cooper Webb, Martin Davalos, Ken Roczen and Justin Hill while Zach Osborne rounded out the top ten.
Adam Cianciarulo then went down pretty hard in the rhythm section which promoted Brayton up to second place. Both Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac got caught up with the fallen Cianciarulo which worked to Brayton and Baggett’s favour.
Once Webb and Tomac extracted themselves from the stricken Cianciarulo they had Ken Roczen for company and had given race leader Blake Baggett and second placed Justin Brayton more breathing space. With 18-minutes remaining Baggett led Brayton by three-seconds.
Tomac mis-timed a series of jumps which allowed Cooper Webb to steal that third place, a few turns later Roczen added further insult by pushing Tomac back to fifth place with 16-minutes remaining. That trio were now pushing each other along though and quickly caught, and then passed Brayton who presented no challenge, the Australian Supercross Champion seemingly succumbing to the inevitable and offering no resistance.
Roczen then made a small mistake in the rhythm section which allowed Tomac to sweep back past and up to fourth. Moments later Tomac then also dispensed with Webb and quickly streaked away from the defending champion.
Tomac then really turned up the wick, leaving Webb and Roczen in his dust before closing down Baggett and passing him like he was standing still.
From there it was Tomac by himself as the Kawasaki man just stepped up another gear and ran away from the field to his sixth win of the season. As the track got more challenging Tomac just looked even more untouchable.
Cooper Webb resisted the advances of Roczen before eventually pulling away from the #94 Honda to take a clear second place. Roczen had a huge moment where after a table-top he landed, got cross-rutted and speared into the track bordering tough-blocks in what could have been very ugly. From there the German simply rolled home, managing his buffer over fourth placed Jason Anderson.
Jason Anderson claimed that fourth position ahead of Zach Osborne and Martin Davalos. The rider that led more laps than anyone else than Tomac, Blake Baggett, eventually crossed the line in seventh place ahead of Justin Barcia and Justin Brayton. Dean Wilson rounded out the top ten ahead of Malcolm Stewart, who was the final rider to finish on the same lap as race winner Tomac.
Chad Reed qualified 18th but eventually retired from the Main with seven minutes left in the bout. The Aussie veteran currently holds down 17th place in the series with 53-points.
450 Video Highlights
Eli Tomac’s victory extended his three-point lead over Ken Roczen out to eight-points. Cooper Webb’s second place took a couple of points off the German to be 24-points behind Roczen going into round 12 back in the same Salt Lake City arena on Thursday.
If he holds his game together, Tomac looks likely to lift his first AMA 450 Supercross Championship, Kawasaki’s first since Ryan Villopoto in 2014. It would also mark the first 450 Championship for a Japanese manufacturer since that last Villopoto victory.
This fast conclusion to the season will see another six quick-fire rounds ran over the space of only three weeks running two events per week, one on each Wednesday and another each Sunday leading up to the final on June 21.
450 SX Results
Eli Tomac – Kawasaki
Cooper Webb – KTM +3.771s
Ken Roczen – Honda +13.542s
Jason Anderson – Husqvarna +20.519s
Zach Osborne – Husqvarna +22.619s
Martin Davalos – KTM +24.870s
Blake Baggett – KTM +27.174s
Justin Barcia – Yamaha +30.318s
Justin Brayton – Honda +32.215s
Dean Wilson – Husqvarna +33.664s
Malcolm Stewart – Honda +35.315s
Aaron Plessinger – Yamaha +1 lap
Benny Bloss – KTM +1 lap
Kyle Cunningham – Suzuki +2 laps
Kyle Chisholm – Yamaha +2 laps
450 SX Championship Points
Eli Tomac -252
Ken Roczen – 244
Cooper Webb – 220
Justin Barcia – 210
Jason Anderson – 189
Malcolm Stewart – 164
Justin Hill – 148
Justin Brayton – 143
Dean Wilson – 142
Aaron Plessinger – 136
Adam Cianciarulo – 129
Blake Baggett – 125
Zach Osborne – 123
Vince Friese – 113
Martin Davalos – 109
Tyler Bowers – 63
Chad Reed – 53
Kyle Chisholm – 52
Benny Bloss – 44
Kyle Cunningham – 32
Round 11 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross hosted Round 5 of the 250 SX East Championship.
Shane McElrath topped qualifying, won his heat race and then scored the holeshot in the Main ahead of Jeremy Martin and East Championship leader Chase Sexton.
Sexton quickly sneaked past his team-mate to move up to second place but McElrath had the speed to keep him at bay and then steadily eke away from the Honda man as the race progressed and went on to take an unchallenged three-second victory over Sexton.
With that victory Shane McElrath moved a few points closer to 250 East Championship leader Chase Sexton, the gap narrowing to seven-points.
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