2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Round Nine – Daytona Supercross
Images by Jeff Kardas
Racing began Saturday night at the Daytona International Speedway with heat events – two apiece for the 450SX and 250SX classes with each heat sending nine drivers to the main events. Cooper Webb took the 450 Heat 1 win from Plessinger and Barcia, with Sexton completing the top four. Heat 2 saw Ken Roczen fastest, ahead of Stewart and Eli Tomac, with Musquin fourth.
In the Last Chance Qualifier, Dean Wilson was fastest, just 0.434s faster than Oldenburg, with Cade Clason third.
In the Main Event, Colorado’s Eli Tomac took the 450 win aboard his Kawasaki, leaving him equal with the Greatest of All Time Ricky Carmichael on his fifth win at the Daytona Supercross, with his other titles in 2016, ’17, ’19 and ‘20. Tomac led from the first lap in the 20-minute/plus one lap race to take home the victory.
“That was fun! I always enjoy riding at Daytona and it’s always been good to me. I was pretty strategic when picking my gate in the main because I was watching the other class and heat races and realized the inside might be my best shot at getting up front, which is exactly what I did. I fought for it too. Once I got out front, I wasn’t looking back. We’re still in this championship, so I’m not going down without a fight. I think we’ve found a good groove and I’m looking forward to our next stop in Dallas. I’m grateful for all the hard work and support from my entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team, I couldn’t have done this without them, especially five times!”
2019 champion Cooper Webb, from nearby Clermont, Fla., finished second, with Aaron Plessinger third – his first career podium finish. Ken Roczen, still looking for his first Daytona triumph, was fourth.
Webb engaged in a close battle for second before dropping back to third four laps in, but he kept his eyes on the prize as he diligently worked his way through the next 14 laps. Webb put on a valiant last-lap charge to overtake second just before the checkers, regulating Plessinger to the final spot on the podium in his stead.
Cooper Webb – P2
“It was a great night. I was trying to hang with Eli but he was hauling butt. I definitely rode pretty tight that Main Event but is what it is, I put my head down there at the end and made some good lap times and I was able to get AP there at the end, which was nice to get another podium tonight. It’s always fun coming to Daytona, it’s always a great event.”
Aaron Plessinger – P3
“This is definitely a monkey off my back, for sure. Going back to Daytona two years ago, I was lying in the emergency room with a shattered heel and not too sure what was going to happen after that, so to come here and rebound like I just did, it’s crazy. I’m speechless. I felt like I had more to give on the last couple of laps, but a podium is a podium and I’ll take what I can get. I feel like it’s going to come a little bit easier now. The track was so gnarly, with the black sand and then beach sand and all the ruts. Some of the transitions of the jumps had such big kickers on them. It was crazy. It was a long race, but we ended up on the podium, and that’s all I can ask for right now. I just want to give a shout-out to these guys for working their butts off and believing in me. We’re going to keep going.”
Roczen enjoyed a strong main-event start aboard his CRF450R but was pushed wide in the second turn and lost several positions as a result. The German charged up to fourth place by the third lap but made a mistake in a rhythm section on lap 12 and lost a spot to Malcolm Stewart. Roczen regained the position four laps later and challenged Cooper Webb for third, but he ran out of time before the 18th and final lap.
Ken Roczen – P4
“Daytona was a fun race! Obviously that track is always technical. The dirt was super black, and the lighting just made it more difficult than if we were racing in a normal stadium. In the main event, I got a good start but was pushed wide and dropped back a few spots. I really had to be aggressive early on and make some moves happen to move forward. I made a little mistake toward the end of the race and Malcolm Stewart got by me. I had to pass him again and I tried to charge forward, but unfortunately we couldn’t get on the podium. I feel like I rode really well, and we’re in a good spot. We still have the red plate and most importantly, we’re safe and had fun. I already can’t wait to go to Arlington and put in the same effort, just sharpen up a little bit and see where we are.”
Malcom Stewart was a more distant fifth, trailing Roczen by almost 3s, before an even larger gap back to Justin Barcia in sixth, followed by Jason Anderson, Chase Sexton, Justin Boggle and Dean Wilson. Dylan Ferrandis was just outside the top ten in 11th.
Malcolm Stewart – P5
“Daytona is one of the tracks I struggle on, so to get a top-five tonight was a good deal. The fact that I rode really well and made it happen is a big confidence booster, especially since we’ve got three more races in Atlanta that are kind of similar to this. I just want to give a shout-out to my teammate, Aaron Plessinger, who got a podium. That was a good one for him. Also, we got two Yamahas in the top five tonight. I think that’s a good stepping stone for us. We’re just going to keep digging, keep having fun, and enjoying the moment. We’ve made a few mistakes, but we’re sitting fifth overall in points. The podium’s coming. We’re getting closer and closer.”
Justin Barcia – P6
“Daytona was a tough day. I kind of struggled with the track a bit and trying to find the comfort, which unfortunately didn’t happen. I’m going back to California this week to do some work, get more comfortable so we can head into Texas and crush it. I’m definitely not pleased with the results today so I’m trying to put this one in the past, move forward and regroup next week to come out swinging in the next three races, I’m looking forward to it.”
Jason Anderson – P7
“My night was pretty mediocre all around. I was P7 in qualifying today and in the heat race, I fell in the first turn and got up to eighth. That gate position didn’t put me in a good spot for the main but I made it up to seventh and that’s where I ended up.”
Dean Wilson – P10
“My night was a bit eventful. I was in qualifying position in the heat race and I tried to make a pass in the last corner and crashed in the rhythm section before the finish, so I had to go to the LCQ. I was far outside gate in the main and didn’t get a good start at all but I just plugged away and ended up with a top-10. It’s not great but it’s a starting point and we’ll just try to build and get better from there.”
Ken Roczen currently holds the lead in the 450SX, although that’s only by two points from Cooper Webb, 199-197. Eli Tomac sits a more distance third on 175-points, while Justin Barcia and Malcom Steward are fourth and fifth respectively, on 153 and 143-points. Musquin, Plessinger, Osborne, Ferrandis and Cianciarulo complete the top 10.
Muc-Off Honda Racing’s Justin Brayton unfortunately had to sit out at Daytona, continuing to recover from a lingering injury sustained following a practice crash, as a result Mitchell Oldenburg stepped in for Brayton again.
Justin Brayton – Injured
“I was really hoping to be back for Daytona so I am pretty bummed to not be racing this weekend, it wasn’t an easy decision. I know we are capable of another podium, repeating our performance in Houston is my focus, but I can’t compete at this level when I am not 100%. I know people watched me compete last week in a car race but racing supercross is a whole other thing, our bodies really take a beating over the course of the night. Turning a steering wheel is so different to hitting whoops and my chest hasn’t fully recovered so I need to make sure it does so I can get the results my team deserves.”
Racing began Saturday night with heat events – Cameron McAdoo (Kawasaki) and Hunter Lawrence (Honda) took the 250 heats, followed by the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) which Hardy Munoz (Yamaha) won to head into the Main Event.
Heat 1 saw McAdoo take the win, Seth Hammaker, Pierce Brown and Jordan Bailey completed the top four. In the second heat, Jordan Smith was second, behind Lawrence, with Stilez Robertson and Justin Cooper closing out the top four. Fastest for the LCQ were Munoz, followed by Ty Masterpool and Mitchell Harrison.
The 250SX main was won by first-time winner 23-year-old Cameron McAdoo of Sioux City, Iowa on his Kawasaki, with riders from the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team having won four of the last five years here.
McAdoo had a sizable lead and took a dominating victory – the first of his career in 250SX competition. GasGas rider Pierce Brown of Sandy, Utah and Husqvarna rider Stilez Robertson of Bakersfield, Cali. completed the podium in second and third.
On the main event start, McAdoo got pinched off in the first turn and was forced to come through the pack. He started picking off riders and was into second by Lap 4. It took patience and a few more laps, but he was able to get by for the lead on Lap 9 and ride to his first victory.
Cameron McAdoo – P1
“That is what we worked for. When I got the win, I instantly started to think about how many people have stood behind me since I was an amateur and believed I could be up here. I have an amazing support group that consistently pushed me to be better and now we’ve got a win. It’s an unbelievable feeling and I don’t want it to end. I have all the guys at Kawasaki and my whole family to thank. My mom is up in section 365 of the Daytona frontstretch seating. A shout out to her, because in 2016 she drove me here in a van. This is just awesome. We worked our butts off to get here, but this is just the beginning.”
Robertson held off a hard-charging group of riders for the first eight laps before getting passed on lap nine. He held strong in the final six laps to claim an impressive runner-up finish.
Stilez Robertson – P2
“My first qualifying was not that great but the second one came around and I was feeling good. In the heat race, I actually felt pretty good and made the decision to go back to the knobby for the Main Event and I ripped a start! I put down a good eight minutes out front and started thinking about it too much and that’s when Mcadoo got around me. I didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes so I decided to settle into second and learn.”
Brown missed the opening round of the 250SX West Championship two weeks ago as he wrapped up his recovery process from a recent ACL surgery. He got a decent top-10 start in the Main Event and he went to work right away. With five laps to go, Brown made his move into a podium position and he didn’t let up as he crossed the checkers with third overall in his first race aboard the MC 250F.
Pierce Brown – P3
“I had some highs and some lows during my downtime and thought it would be a while before I was back up here but first race back and a podium – this is awesome and I’m so stoked! I had a really good start, I got shuffled back for the first couple of corners but I got into my pace, started making passes and next thing I know I was in third. I saw the white flag coming and I knew Justin [Cooper] was right on me, so I knew I had to make it happen.”
Cooper got a much better start in the Main Event. Unfortunately, he went down in the third turn on the opening lap after a tough block was knocked out in front of him. Rejoining near the back of the field, the red-plate holder quickly went to work and advanced to 15th before the start of the second lap. Cooper put in consistently fast laps to move into fourth but ran out of time to try for a podium.
Justin Cooper – P4
“The day started off really well. I was fastest in both practices. I spun off the gate in my heat race, and that didn’t go too well. I just kept pushing to get the transfer and brought it home in fourth. In the Main Event, I got a top-five start, and then in the third turn, a hay bale got kicked out in front of me, and got stuck under my bike and put me on the ground. So I started around 21st. I did what I could. It was really hard to pass out there. I only made it up to fourth, but I charged the whole way, and my lap times were pretty consistent. It’s not what I was hoping for, but that’s all we had tonight. We definitely got challenged here in Daytona. We’ll learn from it and come into these Texas rounds ready to win again.”
Lawrence completed the first lap in fourth place but went down in the sand section on lap 2 and slipped back to 10th. The young Australian secured seventh on lap 11 and moved up one more spot on the 14th and final lap.
Hunter Lawrence – P6
“This weekend was pretty good. We had a solid heat race and got my first ever heat-race win, which was really cool. My body is starting to come around and I’m feeling better and better. I made one mistake in the main event that really let me down in the sand section. I was in a good position to fight for a podium spot, so I’m bummed about that. All things considered, my body is feeling healthy, my shoulder is coming around and I feel great on the bike. This is a good, calm way to head into Arlington for three rounds back to back, which I am really looking forward to.”
Alex Martin, Jalek Swoll, Coty Schock and Jordan Smith completed the 250SX Main Event top-ten.
McAdoo now leads the 250SX West standings on 49-points, with Justin Cooper, the only other winner so far in second on 45-points. Garret Marchbanks holds third in the standings on 39-points, to Hunter Lawrence’s 35, with fifth placed Jalek Swoll only a single-point off in fifth.
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