2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Eight – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Report by Trevor Hedge – Images by Jeff Kardas
Muc-Off Honda’s Justin Brayton pulled out of the event due to injuries he sustained in a practice crash on Tuesday.
Jason Anderson topped qualifying and also dominated his Heat race ahead of Marvin Musquin and Aaron Plessinger.Ken Roczen had won the opening Heat from Adam Cianciarulo, Martin Davalos and Cooper Webb.
The focus of most of the 450 field after watching the casualties mount in the 250 Main was getting away cleanly.
Justin Barcia scored the hole-shot but Adam Cianciarulo quickly found a way past Bam-Bam to move into the lead. Barcia didn’t make life quite so easy for Marvin Musquin who almost went down while challenging Barcia for second which allowed Cooper Webb up to third place. Malcolm Stewart was in fifth, Eli Tomac sixth and Dylan Ferrandis seventh.Championship leader Ken Roczen was way down in the pack after a poor start.
Cianciarulo maintained the lead for eight-minutes before succumbing to the relentless pressure of Webb, the KTM man moving through to the lead with just over 11-minutes left on the shot clock.
Musquin had finally got past Barcia but Eli Tomac was struggling to mount a successful challenge on the GasGas rider.
Ken Roczen had passed more than ten riders to be up in sixth place and was looking to challenge Tomac for fifth.
Marvin Musquin started to pressure Cianciarulo for second place as the contest moved into its second half. That pair were still within striking distance of race leader Cooper Webb at this stage of the race.It was a good battle for that second place between Cianciarulo and Musquin until the Kawasaki man went over the bars in the whoops with just under eight-minutes left on the clock. That was Cianciarulo’s race over and done.
The action on track was now queueing up behind the widest GasGas on the planet as Tomac failed to mount a real challenge on Barcia.Roczen was right there in fifth behind Tomac while Jason Anderson was sixth and Malcolm Stewart seventh.
Roczen took fourth from Tomac with a couple of minutes left in the race but the Honda man also failed to put a pass on Barcia and had to settle for fourth place.Jason Anderson pushed Tomac back to sixth in the closing stages of the race.
Cooper Webb the victor and Marvin Musquin made it a KTM 1-2. With Barcia rounding out the podium that meant that Austrian machinery dominated the podium.
With that victory Cooper Webb trimmed Roczen’s 13-point advantage back to only six-points.With Tomac failing to really fire he is now 31-points behind Webb in the series.
AMA Supercross stays in Florida for round nine next weekend, March 6th, but moves to Daytona International Speedway. Supercross then heads back to Texas another triple-header with three rounds in one week.
Cooper Webb – P1
“This one is huge, back-to-back wins is amazing! It was a great race battling with AC [Cianciarulo] and great points for tonight. Marvin was riding great. I knew he was coming there at the end and I know how strong he is because we ride and train together every day. I felt like start to finish I was in my comfort zone just clicking laps away and it felt really good. KTM going one and two is incredible, this is an awesome feeling.”
Marvin Musquin – P2
“It feels really good to be running up front. The whoops started to be very tough so I was trying to be careful but at the same time I wanted to gain time on Cooper. I felt like I was a little bit quicker at one point but I didn’t want the track to bite me and go down. At least I had a great feeling out there. I want to thank the team for their hard work, I felt better today.”
Justin Barcia – P3
“It was a tough day for sure, I had a crash in practice and kind of destroyed myself. I had to regroup and I felt like I got a little bit better. We made a lot of changes on the bike for the Main Event and I got off to a great start. I picked my speed up at the end of the race and I got into a flow, which was cool. For how the morning went, to be up on the podium was a solid race. Obviously, I want a lot more out of myself but it will be nice to have a week off, regroup and get the body right before heading to Daytona, which I’m excited for.”
Ken Roczen – P4
“Orlando 2 was a good night for us, even though it may not look like it on paper. I felt really good in the heat race, getting the hoelshot and first gate pick in the main event. The 250 riders were racing, and as soon as they moved the Tuff Blocks, I noticed that my rut was actually very rough and had a big kicker in it. As the gate dropped, I fed my clutch and my front wheel just hit that kicker dead on and my front popped up and really messed me up. I went around the first turn in 22nd, and by the first segment I clocked in at 17th position. I really had to do some work, and then I got behind [Eli] Tomac and [Justin] Barcia. I definitely had more speed, but I just couldn’t quite make the pass happen right away. Once I got by Tomac, I tried to reel in Barcia but just didn’t have enough time, so ended up getting fourth. I felt like I was riding really well, even though I always had someone in front of me. Ideally, if I could’ve made a couple of passes to have a clear lap, I could’ve really put in some good time, but that just wasn’t in the cards tonight. We did some damage control and came in fourth and I’m really looking forward to Daytona. I’ve always wanted to win that round, so I’m going to put all my focus on that.”
Jason Anderson – P5
“I had a good practice and ended up P1, had a good battle in the heat race and got first in that. In the Main Event, I kind of had a bad start and worked my way up to fifth. I’m getting better and feeling better, so hopefully we’ll have an even better weekend in Daytona.”
Eli Tomac – P6
“Today was just not my day. The track conditions were rough at the start, but I had no issues finding traction and qualified in fifth aboard my KX450. In my heat race, I got a terrible jump out of the gate and this track was extremely difficult to pass on, I had to settle for seventh going into the main event. In the main event, I had a decent start and was able to get into a good position inside the top-5 where I had a solid three-way battle going with (Justin) Barcia and Ken (Roczen). I fought as hard as I could tonight, but it was only good enough for sixth place. We have the next weekend off from racing, so we will regroup and come out swinging at my favorite place to race, Daytona.”
Malcolm Stewart – P7
“We struggled in practice and made a few changes and got the bike really good for the heat race. The heat race was great, but I didn’t get the best start. My starts have been struggling a little bit all year long. Even in the Main Event, I didn’t get the best of starts, but I still made some passes on the first lap and put myself in a great position. Then I had a couple of sketchy moments on the track. I landed on a hay bale. I tried to do a quad and landed on a hay bale again. You know how people say cats got nine lives? I think I used every bit of those nine lives out there. It’s just one of those deals when the track goes away, and there are potholes, and the whoops are kind of sketchy. It turns into more about survival mode out there. We ended Orlando 2 in seventh. The way practice went, we turned this whole day all the way around. Hats off to my guys. They have been busting their tails all year long, the whole team. I’m looking forward to the week off. We’re going to do some more testing and start swinging for Daytona. That’s another hometown race for me, so I’m excited for that – three hometown races. Let’s just keep the ball rolling.”
Zach Osborne – P8
“It was a little bit of a tough night for me. I kind of tweaked my back in the last practice and I really struggled with it tonight. I had a mediocre start and an eighth-place finish, which is not really anything to write home about but I’ll get it sorted and be ready for Daytona.”
Aaron Plessinger – P9
“It was a so-so day. I started out not feeling comfortable in qualifying. We made some changes, and then we decided to go back to what I ran here last weekend. That was better in the heat race. I got a really good start and was up there in fourth and then passed (Broc) Tickle for third. I think I messed up on my gate selection and didn’t pick the right one, and did not get a great start in the main. I put my head down and tried to do what I did last weekend but only came back to ninth. The track was like glass out there, like wet glass. I went around one corner, and I barely even leaned over, and my back end almost spun around all the way on me. It was so hard-packed and so rough. The whoops were so edgy and slick and blue grooved. It was crazy. It was worse than the test tracks. So ninth on the night, I can’t be too mad, being that this class is as stacked as it is. It’s not where I want to be, though. I want to be up front and battling for that top spot, the top three spots at least. I know we can get there. Last year we had a pretty good race in Daytona, so I’m going to get back on my horse and ride on.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P11
“It was a tough two races in Orlando. I am not happy, but I gave everything I had to come back after hitting the tough block and losing a lot of time in the race. I’m happy to have the weekend off to do more work and get ready for Daytona.”
Dean Wilson – P12
“In the Main Event, I was all over 10th and I got a little bit traumatised from the blue flags and I thought the guy behind me was the leader so I let him by, which put me back to 12th. It’s disappointing but I’m looking forward to these next couple weeks to really heal up and get my body healthy. It’s tough to try and race injured but we’ll be back at Daytona.”
“Well, today certainly didn’t go the way we would have liked it too. We had some great momentum all day long. I qualified in sixth, finished second in the heat, and in the main event, I got such a great jump out the gate on my KX450 and was able to just lead some solid laps. Once Cooper (Webb) got by me, I was able to see some lines where he was a touch quicker than me and felt like he wasn’t getting away from me, but as I began to look for lines to try and make a pass back, a lapper threw off my whoop section and I miscalculated my jump into the whoops that resulted in me going down. It was not the way I wanted to end the night, but I can’t thank the Monster Energy Kawasaki team enough for their support on the good days and the bad days.”
The opening round of the 250 West Championship played out overnight in Orlando with Justin Cooper setting the pace in qualifying ahead of Seth Hammaker, Jeremy Martin, Jordon Smith and young Aussie Hunter Lawrence.
Cameron McAdoo won the opening 250 Heat from Seth Hammaker and Chris Blose while Jeremy Martin was the victory in Heat Two ahead of Justin Cooper and Hunter Lawrence.
While the Heat races had been fairly clean affairs the 250 Main was a war zone.
Jace Owen and Justin Cooper got away well when the 250 Main got underway but about 20-seconds into the race a pile up unfolded that included Jeremy Martin, Jarrett Frye, Coby Schock, Nate Thrasher and Stilez Robertson.It was Martin that came off worst and spent the most time on the ground before getting up while holding his shoulder. The impetus for the clash was Stilez Robertson jumping straight onto the back of Martin’s machine which sent them both down and the other riders could not avoid the melee.It was a later separate incident though that saw officials put out the red flag. Alex Martin had gone down in the middle of a turn and medical personnel were on site, only for McAdoo to then run straight into one of the medical crew despite the medical flag and red flag being displayed. McAdoo somehow escaped any penalty and was allowed to make the re-start. As less than three laps had been completed before the red flag riders lined up on the gates for a full re-run.
Justin Cooper scored the hole-shot ahead of Jordon Smith, Jalek Swoll and Cameron McAdoo. Hunter Lawrence had got caught up in the pack and was way back in 17th place with plenty of work to do.
Jordon Smith stayed on the tail of Cooper throughout the opening laps before making a mistake and going down hard.McAdoo then inherited that second place position and Swoll was in third.
Up front Justin Cooper now looked to be doing it easy.
Hunter Lawrence had navigated his way past ten riders over the opening few minutes and with ten-minutes left on the shot clock was up to sixth place and chasing Chris Blose. It took another few minutes for Lawerence to move past Blose and up into fifth place.
Over the final seven-minutes the order of that top five did not change and Cooper took the victory over McAdoo by five-seconds, despite backing right off in the closing laps.
Garrett Marchbanks rounded out the podium ahead of Jalek Swoll while Hunter Lawrence opened his account with 18-points for fifth.
That was a brutal start to the 250 West Championship with the well fancied Martin brothers, Jeremy and Alex, both failing to finish.
AMA Supercross stays in Florida for what will be the second round of the 250 West series on March 6th, but moves from Orlando’s Camping World Stadium to Daytona International Speedway, before reconvening for a Texas triple-header with three rounds in one week.
250 East competitors are on a huge ten-week break before reconvening in Salt Lake City on April 24 for the penultimate round ahead of the 250 East-West showdown finale at the same venue on May 1.
Justin Cooper – P1
“It feels awesome to get the win. That’s definitely the way you want to start the series. I had a foot injury coming in, so I was a little bit nervous about that, not having enough time on the bike, but it all started out well. I was fastest in all of the practice sessions. I just didn’t have my starts down. We didn’t really practice too many of those at home, so that was a struggle until the Main Event. Luckily, we pulled it off twice, so I’d say they came around at the right time.It was good to get out of this place safe. There’s always a lot of hype around the season opener. You don’t really want to throw away the championship at the first round. I got myself in a good position where I could ride my own race and was able to take it easy to the finish line. It was a pretty perfect night for me. I’m excited to keep building on tonight and getting stronger since I didn’t have much time to prep for this round. I want to be on the podium every weekend and do the best I can. I’m glad to have a weekend off before Daytona. We can definitely work on some things to be a little bit stronger heading into the second round.”
Cameron McAdoo – P2
“It feels really good to start off the season on the podium and shows that all the hard work we have been putting in this off-season has paid off. It was a bit of a hectic day out there with all the carnage going on around us and having that restart in the main event. I am happy with this second place, but I also feel like I could have been on that top step tonight. I know where I can improve and will spend the next two weeks doing that before we head to Daytona.”
Jalek Swoll – P4
“It was a pretty decent night. The heat race was a little hectic and I got shuffled back a bit and finished sixth. That didn’t set me up for a very good gate pick in the Main Event but I made the best of it. I felt like toward the end of the moto I started coming around but by that point it was kind of too late. I’m a little disappointed but we’ll be back next weekend.”
Hunter Lawrence – P5
“My Supercross season debut was pretty good; I’m pretty happy with it. We checked off a lot of the goals we had set during the preseason, with the limited time we had coming back from my shoulder recovery. That held me back a little bit to be honest. The strength was a big issue, but cardio and fitness have been great and I’m feeling really good; I need to keep building strength. We just finished the sixth week on the bike, so I can’t complain. My starts were good until a restart in the main event. I put in some good, hard laps and was able to charge all the way back up to fifth from a pretty bad start. I’m content with the night. I got a solid one on the board and I’m looking forward to gaining more strength in my shoulder and coming back swinging at Daytona in two weeks. Massive shout-out to the team and all the fans supporting.”
Seth Hammaker – P6
“My day started out well as I qualified second. I would be lying to you if I told you that I wasn’t nervous lining up for my first pro race tonight. It was awesome when I got the holeshot in the heat race and was able to lead some laps. Once Cameron (McAdoo) got by me, I just wanted to learn from him and see where I could be faster on the track. The main event was pretty wild, and I had a good spot on the restart, but I got some help from another rider who took me out before the finish line jump, so I had my work cut out for me and was able to get back up to sixth. All in all, it was a great first day of getting my feet wet in the class and now have a point where we can build off of. I can’t thank the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team enough for believing in me and giving me this incredible opportunity to chase my dreams.”
“Not exactly the result I was hoping for today. Coming into the season, I had been dealing with a thumb injury that has affected my ability to grip the handlebars at times and unfortunately, I paid the price for that tonight. Overall, I was really happy with my riding. I qualified fourth, got fifth in the heat race and was in a great position at the front of the pack in the main event after the restart, but the whoops tonight were eating up a ton of riders and my hand slipped off the bars when I was skimming through them and it just slammed me to the ground. I am just bruised and battered, but I will take the next two weeks to let my body rest so I can come swinging in Daytona.”
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