Webb and Sexton top the podium at East Rutherford SX
Images by Hoppenworld
On a jump infested and highly technical layout Cooper Webb has managed to win an action packed 450 main event to extend his championship lead in the 450SX championship. Meanwhile Chase Sexton took over as the 250 East Coast class championship leader position after winning his first main for the year.
While his teammate Marvin Musquin was avoiding being run over after crashing in the first corner, Webb grabbed the holeshot from Zach Osborne and Eli Tomac. But before the opening lap was complete Tomac had moved to second and was right on the rear wheel of Webb.
After a few attempts Eli was finally able to get to the lead and reminiscent to his Vegas performance in 2017 Tomac was looking to unsettle Webb as he slowed in several sections before cutting down to a tighter line through some of the corners, but the Kawasaki rider finally cleared his thoughts to establish a small lead.
In fact, it looked like Eli would pull away for the win until he got cross rutted and went down in the whoops to drop back to fourth. This left him behind Webb, Osborne and Blake Baggett, before Osborne caught up to Webb to make the pass for the lead. At this stage Zach led ahead of Webb, Baggett and a fast closing Tomac but then Baggett crashed and Osborne rode straight up a right hand berm which gave the lead back to Webb.
The atmosphere was electric as Tomac caught all the way up to Webb but an identical crash in the whoops dropped him back to third. That is the way they stayed to the line with Webb winning over Osborne, Tomac and Baggett.
With one race left, Web has a 23-point lead over Tomac while Musquin, who came into the race as the only other rider besides Tomac within striking distance of his teammate salvaged a fifth after his crash to now trails Webb by 31 points so he is no longer in championship contention.
“Overall, I felt like it was a good race. I felt like I rode in a nice pace that was consistent and I’m not saying that the other guys weren’t, but the mistakes they made were definitely the difference. I’m happy, another win is incredible and we’re inching a little closer to the final goal.”
“It’s been a long gruelling road to get back, I felt great in the off season, had a really good bike and one tiny mistake took me out of the first six rounds but it is finally coming back to me, we completely changed the bike in the off week and I felt a lot more comfortable in the whoops. In the main event I got off to a good start and after getting beaten up in the past I decided to just send it which I did for a couple of laps then made the pass for the lead – it was a really good race for me.”
“I had to have a chuckle about it, I mean, I did the exact thing twice (crash twice in the same spot), I mean, how do you even do that? We were going triple into the whoops and I was leaning a little too far to the right, got cross rutted and then went into the same tuff block, the same tip over, it’s like a replay. I could have got away with one of those but the second one really did me in.”
“It was a huge bummer to have that crash in the first turn, considering I was feeling great all day today. From dead last I came back to fifth-place, it’s a good race but it didn’t bring me what I wanted points-wise and I wanted to win tonight. But is what it is, it’s racing and things like that obviously happen.”
After the injured championship leader Austin Forkner made his way to the main event with a far from convincing fourth-place in his heat race it was Alex Martin who grabbed the early lead in the main event, this was ahead of Martin Davalos, Sexton and Forkner.
Then Austin slammed by Sexton for third and he was soon in second behind his teammate Davalos after Martin slid out so it looked like things were going the way of Forkner BUT a flat landing before the wall jump caused him to re-aggravate his knee and take him out of the race.
When Austin pulled off, Sexton inherited second place and later he took over the lead from a struggling Davalos who would also surrender second and third to the Yamaha duo of Mitchell Oldenburg and Justin Cooper so the win went to Sexton over Oldenburg, Cooper and Davalos.
With just the final East/West shootout at Las Vegas to go next weekend Sexton has inherited/earned a nine-point lead over Cooper, with Forkner a further 13 points back. The 250 West Coast series is similarly placed with Adam Cianciarulo holding an eight-point lead over Dylan Ferrandis heading into Vegas so the combined final is going to be very interesting indeed.
“We have made a lot of bike changes from the beginning of the season, it is pretty crazy when you compare what I was riding back then to now, it has made a big difference and I have just been trying to put in my laps but I felt really good out there tonight, it feels awesome to be fastest qualifier, win my heat then the main, it’s been a long time and it feels great.”
“It’s unbelievable. With all the injuries… I just didn’t know if this was for me anymore. My wife has always been behind me and this feels amazing. Everyone in my corner have been so awesome and the people around me have never stopped believing in me. It feels good to finally get this done. It feels like we finally got this monkey off our back.”
“I just struggled to find my flow. I didn’t feel good the whole race so to I can’t really complain about a podium finish. It would have been nice to get second, but I’m pumped for Mitchell. We’ll see what we can do in Las Vegas.”
Josh Grant made the penultimate race of the year count with his best finish of the season in eighth, as a fill-in rider for Aaron Plessinger.
“I’m really stoked on how my night went. The track conditions were really difficult and made for some tough passing. All in all, I am happy with an eighth-place finish and looking forward to finishing off strong in Las Vegas.”
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