2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Seven – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Report by Trevor Hedge – Images by Jeff Kardas
Adam Cianciarulo topped 450 qualifying ahead of Cooper Webb and Malcolm Stewart but was beaten to the Heat Two win by Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson.
Eli Tomac won Heat One after chasing down returning rider Shane McElrath, the Smart Top Bullfrog Honda rider seriously impressive after so much time out of competition.
Zach Osborne scored the holeshot ahead of Muc-Off Honda’s Justin Brayton as Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb gave chase.
Osborne made a mistake a couple of laps in which let Brayton through to the lead and Roczen followed him through to push Osborne further back to third. Webb then pushed Osborne further back to fourth.
Brayton held onto the lead for the next few laps as Roczen maintained station behind him but then in one foul sweep Cooper Webb passed both Honda men in the one corner to springboard from third right through to the race lead. Justin Barcia then passed both Zach Osborne and Justin Brayton to move up into third place.
Roczen chased Webb hard but the KTM man held on to secure a clear and well-earned victory despite a last-lap charge from the German.
Zach Osborne moved back up to third place for a podium finish after Barcia made a big mistake five-minutes from the flag. Barcia pulled off an amazing gymnastic save that enabled him to hang on to that fourth place.
Eli Tomac suffered again from a poor start and steadily worked his way through the field towards an eventual fifth place finish ahead of Aaron Plessinger, Marvin Musquin, Jason Anderson and Malcolm Stewart.
Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top ten ahead of early race leader Justin Brayton.
With that victory Webb trimmed three-points off Roczen’s championship lead, the gap narrowing to 13-points. Defending champ Eli Tomac is 16-points further adrift in third. With ten rounds remaining the championship remains completely wide open.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross reconvenes at the same venue next week with round eight on February 20, followed by a two-week break before round nine at Daytona.
450 Video Highlights
Cooper Webb – P1
“It was a great race tonight, we were one and two for pretty much the whole thing, tooth and nail. It was a tough race, the track really broke down a lot, especially from the beginning laps and it’s definitely a little different when you are leading the majority of the Main Event. I made a few mistakes those last few and Kenny caught up, but I was able to get it done and man does it feel good.”
Ken Roczen – P2
“Orlando was a different kind of race. The schedule was delayed due to the possibility of rain and lightning, so we only had two qualifying practices, with completely different types of dirt. The first practice was kind of sketchy because it was super hard-packed on the jumps and soft and wet at the bottoms, from the water sitting. Then it ended up being really slick and tricky. By the night show, we felt pretty decent; got a holeshot and heat-race win, which set us up nicely for the night show, and grabbed another good start there; it wasn’t quite a holeshot, but I was in the top three, battling up there with Cooper [Webb], who ended up getting by me. By then it was basically just him and me battling all the way to the end. It wasn’t quite enough for the win, but with the track a little tricky, I was happy to keep the rubber side down and take second place for the night. Hopefully we can turn it around for Orlando 2 and see if we can get back on the top step.”
Zach Osborne – P3
“It feels so good to get back on the podium and kind of find some mojo tonight,” Osborne said. “It felt good to get a start, that’s where I have really been struggling. It felt so good to get out there out front, getting in some clean air and breathe a little bit. I am super grateful to be up here.”
Justin Barcia – P4
“It was a bummer mistake in the whoops that really cost me the podium. I pushed as hard as I could to try to get the pass on him but wasn’t able to get it done. I definitely know I have the speed, I just need to put everything together and move on from it. It was a little frustrating but it was good riding and I’m healthy and ready to move onto the next Orlando.”
Eli Tomac – P5
“I said this last week but starts are so important this year. I’m not going to beat myself up too much because my speed is there and, when I can get a start, my KX450 has the power to keep me up front, but it’s up to me now to make the right adjustments at the gate. I’ll be traveling back home this week to put in some extra work on my starts and better prepare myself for our next race in Orlando.”
Aaron Plessinger – P6
“It was one of my better days, for sure. I started off pretty hot in practice. Got up there on the board for a second, then I ended up qualifying 11th. I didn’t get the greatest start in the heat race, so in the Main Event, I absolutely went for it. I jumped the gate and then backed up, and then took off with all the other guys and came out 10th. Then somebody rolled the first supercross triple, so that put us back quite a bit. I think the guys said I was 17th going into the first lap, but I just put my head down and charged. The track was so slick and replicated the test track in Corona. I think my bike really liked that, and I really liked that. I charged as hard as I could until the end of the race and clicked off a lot of passes and wound up in sixth place. That’s one place behind my best career finish. If that doesn’t give me confidence, then I don’t know what will. I’m really stoked about my riding tonight. I’m pumped to come back here next Saturday because I think I’ve got more to prove.”
Marvin Musquin – P7
“I was a little bit off in practice but I focused on the night show and made sure I had a good heat race to put myself in good position. I was so ready for the Main Event, I had a good gate and when I let the clutch go it started spinning and my rear wheel went sideways. I lost balance and was dead last off the start, exactly what I didn’t want to do. I put my head down and tried my best, as always. It was sketchy making passes in the beginning but I ended up seventh. I’m just bummed. It was a bit muddy behind the gate and things like that happen.”
Jason Anderson – P8
“It was an improvement all around for me today. My practices were better and my racing was quite a bit better, so If I could get a start it would help my results. In the Main Event, I got up there after a not-so-good start and got behind Tomac in sixth but I came together with someone, it was more my fault than anything, and dropped back but we’ll move on to next week and keep progressing.”
Malcolm Stewart – P9
“The day started out great. It was so nice being back home in Florida. In the Main Event, I had a decent start, but I made a few mistakes. I just wasn’t jiving with the track. All in all, I guess I would say it wasn’t a bad day. I still managed to finish in the top 10, finished ninth on a tough night. It could have been worse. A lot of guys went down. A lot of guys were definitely fatigued and having problems. We rode a solid night. That’s the best I can say. We’re going to dig deep and keep finding our way. We know what we’re capable of. Let’s get back up into those top-fives and get on the box. I know we’re all right there. It’s just a matter of when and where. We’re seven rounds in and getting close to halfway now. It’s time. I’m ready to do it. We’ll come back to Orlando next Saturday for Orlando 2.0 and go for it.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P10
“My day started well. I was fastest in qualifying aboard my KX450 and was feeling ready for a good night. I took the momentum from qualifying into my heat race and came away with a solid third place finish but come main event time I was feeling flat. I know I have more in me, but we have a lot of racing left. I have a great team supporting me and we’re going to figure this out; it’s only a matter of time.”
Justin Brayton – P11
“Considering all the rain we had, the track was amazing. It was really tight and technical and had such a decent start straight. he program came together late and we are using every moment on the track to improve ourselves, me included. The speed is there and we are getting closer and closer with the bike setup. It’s a brand new bike so we are still learning it. We will do some testing and make some minor tweaks this week ahead of Orlando 2.”
Dean Wilson – P12
“My night was very difficult but it feels really good to be back at the races. I think the hardest part for me was not being on the bike for almost three weeks, I felt like a fish out of water. I’m happy to get through the night, I know 12th isn’t really what we want but I could see ninth right there and with a good start, I think I’ll be pretty good.”
“It was a difficult day with only two practices on a tough track. I managed to get a good start in the main and was feeling good. I tried some different rhythm sections then ended up crashing. I got hit by the rider next to me in the stomach and couldn’t breathe for a moment. I was okay in the end, but my race was over.”
|14||Benny Bloss||Honda||24 Laps|
|18||Justin Bogle||KTM||23 Laps|
|20||Justin Starling||KTM||22 Laps|
|21||Fredrik Noren||Kawasaki||18 Laps|
|22||Dylan Ferrandis||Yamaha||2 Laps|
Rider Championship Standings
Manufacturer Championship Standings
|16||Jeremy Smith||Kawasaki||8 Laps|
|18||Scotty Wennerstrom Jefferson, TX||Kawasaki||+47.907|
|19||Ludovic Macler||Kawasaki||7 Laps|
|20||Austin Politelli||Honda||2 Laps|
|17||Ronnie Stewart||GASGAS||8 Laps|
|19||Deven Raper||Kawasaki||2 Laps|
|17||Austin Politelli||Honda||6 Laps|
|21||Deven Raper||Kawasaki||5 Laps|
The Yamaha pairing of Christian Craig and Colt Nichols looked on course to continue their domination of the 250 East Championship after running 1-2 in qualifying ahead of Aussie teenager Jett Lawrence. Colt Nichols won the opening Heat while Jett Lawrence won Heat Two ahead of Mitch Oldenburg.
Could the young Aussie get one over the dominant Yamaha pairing?
There was drama though in Heat One as championship contender Christian Craig went down hard while leading and under press from Lawrence, the Yamaha rider was left clutching his wrist and took no further part in the Heat. It looked as though it could have been an injury that might rule him out of the round but the 29-year-old bounced back to with the LCQ to secure his transfer to the Main.
Jett Lawrence scored the holeshot in the 250 Main ahead of series leader Colt Nichols while Christian Craig had worked his way up to third place before the end of lap one.
Nichols piled the pressure on the young Aussie but Jett was faultless and led the entire race. Lawrence never got further than two-seconds ahead of Nichols at any point until the duo hit lapped traffic, through which Jett got the better run to pull another second out over Nichols. The gap narrowed to just over a second by the flag but that was primarily due to Jett buttoning off in the closing laps.
Christian Craig could not maintain the pace of the leading duo and eventually lost touch with the leading duo before taking the chequered flag in third place, 19-seconds behind victor Jett Lawrence. That wrist injury from the Heat affecting Craig as the race wore on.
Jo Shimoda took fourth ahead of Muc-Off Honda’s Mitch Oldenburg.
With this victory Lawrence clawed back a couple of points to strengthen his fourth place, narrowing the gap to third place Jo Shimoda down to ten-points. Craig though is 20-points further away while series leader Colt Nichols is eight-points ahead of Craig, and 38-points clear of Lawrence.
The Yamaha duo of Colt Nichols and Christian Craig have been on fire throughout these opening seven round of the series and if they remain injury free it seems almost certain that we will have a Yamaha 1-2 in the championship this year. This was the seventh round of what will be a nine-round 250 East series.
250 East competitors now have 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.
250 Video Highlights
Jett Lawrence – P1
“Today was a smooth day; I felt like I rode very smart and made smart decisions in qualifying and was P3 in both sessions. I felt like I was smarter with my thinking process. Going into the heat race, I didn’t get a very good start; I popped the clutch a little, which made me wheelie out, but I was able to manage the first turn and get further up in the pack. With [Christian] Craig going down, I ended up winning that, so got pretty lucky. In the main event, I executed my start very well and was able to manage the race to the checkered flag. Colt [Nichols] was on me, which was good to have the pressure there, keeping me on it. I’d like to thank the team, my mechanic Christian [Ducharme], and my trainer Johnny [O’Mara] for all the support. We’ve been working really hard and it’s good to leave on a good note. I can’t wait for Salt Lake.”
Colt Nichols – P2
“I was just a touch off of Christian all day in practice. I was able to get the heat race win, which was nice. I got to line up where I wanted on the gate. I just didn’t quite execute the start as well as I wanted to. Jett (Lawrence) got ahead of me and was able to control the inside. So that was kind of the race right there. The track was a little difficult to pass on, and it was so slick. The moisture started to come up, and it got slicker and slicker as the night went on. So that made it tough. But overall, I can’t complain. I got some points in second place, and that’s always a good thing. I just was a little bummed about my riding. I felt really flat at the beginning of the race. I didn’t have much intensity there, so that’s why I was a little frustrated. We’ve got a long break now, so I’m going to try to enjoy things and get some outdoor riding and come back swinging in a few months.”
Christian Craig – P3
“The weekend started off great. I qualified first. I loved this track, everything about it. The dirt was hard-packed, just like the test track, so I was feeling so good. I got off to a good start in the heat race, and then on the second lap, some sort of little case turned into a big fall. I’m sure everyone has seen it on TV. I banged up my hand pretty good. I wasn’t sure I was even going to race, but we had it taped up by Dr. G. and had to grit it out. I knew I had to do what I could to get through tonight. We have 10 weeks after this, so I can heal up then. I was able to get out to a good start from way on the outside in the Main. I got into third quick and stayed with Colt for a lot of the race. Then I had some sketchy moments, so I backed it off and finished third. I only lost two points to Colt. After the Heat race, if you would have told me I’d get third, I would have been jumping up and down. It was a win in my books after that crash. We’ve got a long break, so we’re going to heal up and get ready for Salt Lake.”
Jo Shimoda – P4
“It would have been nice to land on the podium one more time before the break, but I am still happy with how I rode. Just needed a little bit better start. At the start of the day, we didn’t really know what kind of track we were going to get after all that rain so to leave healthy and third in the points is good.”
Mitchell Oldenburg – P5
“I know exactly where we need to improve and I am going to pound laps between now and April to get there. It’s frustrating being on the verge because I know we can be a podium team in the 250-class.”
|6||Joshua Varize||KTM||18 Laps|
|16||Grant Harlan||Honda||17 Laps|
|20||Lorenzo Camporese||Kawasak||16 Laps|
|21||Hunter Sayles||KTM||15 Laps|
|22||Jeremy Hand||Honda||13 Laps|
250 Rider Championship Points
250 Manufacturer Championship Points
|14||Vincent Luhovey||KTM||8 Laps|
|16||Vincent Murphy||Husqvarna||5 Laps|
|17||Guillaume St-Cyr||KTM||4 Laps|
|14||Rene Garcia||KTM||8 Laps|
|15||Austin Cozadd||Yamah||6 Laps|
|16||Bobby Piazza||Yamaha||4 Laps|
|12||Chad Saultz||KTM||6 Laps|