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2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Tomac & Dungey Tie Breaker

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross

The 15th round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, heads to Rice-Eccles Stadium in scenic Salt Lake City, Utah, for the first time since 2013.

The 2017 round will serve as the championship’s 10th visit to Utah’s capital city, and will be the first time the race will not be the penultimate round of the championship. At 4,637 feet, the Salt Lake City round takes place at the highest elevation of any stop in the championship.

At the previous round two weeks prior at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, a crowd of 56,063 fans watched Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin cruise to his second-career win. The battle for the hotly contested 450SX Class title intensified even further as Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac now sit tied atop the championship standings following adventurous races for each rider. In the return of the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger broke through for his first win of the season.

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Kawasaki's Eli Tomac
2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac

The drama in the 450SX Class Main Event in Seattle began immediately when Dungey and his KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition were collected in a first-turn crash with RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Justin Bogle and Autotrader/Monster Energy/Suzuki’s Justin Barcia. Dungey remounted at the tail end of the field in 22nd place.

Out front, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Davi Millsaps earned the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot, but was quickly passed by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and Musquin. Anderson took control of the race briefly, but then gave way to Musquin and settled into second ahead of Millsaps. Tomac endured through a tough start of his own and completed the opening lap aboard his Kawasaki KX450F in 10th, while Dungey moved up a couple spots to officially start 19th.

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: KTM's Ryan Dungey
2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: KTM’s Ryan Dungey

A deteriorating track surface allowed Musquin to move out to a comfortable lead in the opening laps while Anderson asserted himself into second and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha Factory Racing rookie Cooper Webb moved past Millsaps into third. While the leaders settled in, all eyes were on both Dungey and Tomac, with each fighting their way through the field quickly despite the conditions.

Tomac put himself into podium contention on lap four when he gained three positions to move from seventh to fourth, just behind Webb. The pace of the Kawasaki rider ultimately forced Webb to increase his pace, which allowed both riders to close in on Anderson.

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Honda's Cole Seely
2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Honda’s Cole Seely

Tomac was able to pass Webb for third briefly, but the rookie responded and ultimately took second away from Anderson a short time later on lap nine. Tomac followed into third but crashed out of the spot the following lap, dropping to fourth just ahead of Millsaps in fifth. As this unfolded Dungey broke into the top 10 in his continued move through the field.

Webb held onto second firmly for a handful of laps but started to lose ground to Anderson. Behind them, Tomac was overcoming a deficit of more than six seconds to get both riders back within reach. On lap sixteen, Anderson dove to the inside of Webb coming out of a corner, forcing the rookie to alter his line slightly and make a mistake that would take him to the ground and out of contention. Tomac slipped by unscathed to get back into a podium spot in third. Webb’s misfortune also benefited Dungey, who moved into fifth.

Tomac’s forward progression culminated on lap 18 when he passed Anderson for second, which also put him into the points lead as time ran out on the Main Event clock, leading to the final lap of competition.

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: KTM's Marvin Musquin
2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: KTM’s Marvin Musquin

Musquin handily controlled the Main Event to lead every lap and cross the line 4.7 seconds ahead of the field, which mirrored the effort of his debut victory earlier this season at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“It means a lot to get this win. We’ve been working hard and today was a good day,” said Musquin. “The track was really tough and technical, and you could easily make mistakes. I didn’t have the greatest start so I don’t know how I pulled it off, but I got into the lead pretty quick and just tried to ride consistent.”

Tomac’s finished an unlikely second place after a wild race.

“That was a bit chaotic,” said Tomac. “I didn’t have the best start but I found a bunch of rhythm combinations early in the race that were vital to me moving through the pack. Once I made it up to about fourth, it was difficult to keep my momentum going and unfortunately I went down. Luckily I was able to get back up and everything was good on the bike, so I could keep pushing and I took one final position before the checkers. I have the red plate now and we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Anderson rounded out the podium in third on his Husqvarna FC450 machine.

“I got a great start tonight,” said Anderson. “I’m really happy with another podium finish. I’m going to work hard this week and try to keep the momentum going into Salt Lake City.”

Dungey’s resiliency carried him to a last-lap pass for fourth, and earned him a pair of invaluable championship points.

“Obviously, going down in the first turn wasn’t ideal,” said Dungey. “From that point forward, we just tried to pick as many riders off as we could and try to gain as many championship points as we could and not make any big mistakes. Overall, it was a good night and we salvaged what we could. I felt great, the bike felt awesome, and everything was all lined up. We just had a little mishap in the first turn, but that’s just the way it goes.”

With their respective finishes Dungey and Tomac now sit tied atop the 450SX Class standings, with Tomac successfully erasing a 29-point deficit that dated back to the sixth round of the season. Since then, the Kawasaki rider has won six of eight races, earning 194 of a possible 200 points over that span. Dungey, on the other hand, has earned just one win and 165 points over that same stretch. Musquin’s victory solidified his hold on third, 42 points behind the leaders.

2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Yamaha's Aaron Plessinger
2017 Salt Lake City Supercross Preview: Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger

The first Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event since early February initially saw an impressive run to the front in Seattle by Plessinger, who raced his way from fourth to first over the opening laps. However, a red flag brought the Main Event to a halt and forced a restart.

When the field roared out of the gate for the second time, it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Martin Davalos who claimed the holeshot ahead of GEICO Honda’s Jimmy Decotis and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath. Championship leader Justin Hill started fourth aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, while Plessinger slotted into fifth.

Davalos sprinted out to an early lead as Decotis and McElrath battled for second, which allowed Hill to join the fight from fourth. Hill eventually found his way into third on lap one and wasted little time attacking Decotis for second, taking control of the position on the same lap.

As Hill made his march forward so did Plessinger. After making a pass for fourth, he moved into podium position by passing Decotis on lap one and quickly reached Hill’s rear fender for second. Plessinger fought his way past his championship rival on lap two and then blew past Davalos for the lead on lap three. Hill would also pass Davalos to overtake second just after the start of lap four.

Once he put himself out front for the first time in 2017, Plessinger never looked back, while Hill continued unchallenged in second. Davalos lost even more ground and gave up third to Decotis on lap six and fourth to Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Mitchell Oldenburg on lap eight. Oldenburg and Decotis then engaged in a battle for third, with the KTM rider prevailing on lap 11.

Plessinger maintained a multi-second lead over Hill and easily took his second career win by 6.3 seconds.

“I got out front the first time and then they red flagged it. I thought to myself, I can’t catch a break,” said Plessinger. “But I did it again and put my Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha out front, and it was amazing. I haven’t won a race this year and it feels great to finally get back on top of the box.”

Hill’s runner-up finish ended a four-race winning streak for the championship leader, who has finished off the podium just once in seven Western Regional races.

“I could have been better. But we had seven weeks off and I have a little rust on me,” said Hill. “All things considered, I can’t really complain. I still have the points lead and I’ve been on the podium in every race but one. I think I can learn a lot from this and be better [at the next race].”

Oldenburg enjoyed his first trip to the podium in third after starting seventh.

“It’s amazing to be up here [on the podium],” said Oldenburg. “We had an amazing off season and the whole team put in a lot of work. It was a big bummer to get hurt right after the season start and I just put my head down once I got back on the bike. This is where I want to be – I do want to win. I don’t know what it was but at the start of the week I just had a good feeling about this race. I’m really excited.”

Plessinger was able to take three points out of his deficit to Hill in the Western Regional standings, but 18 points separate the pair with two races remaining.

Live broadcast coverage from Salt Lake City can be seen on Saturday, April 22, on Fox Sports 2 beginning at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET.

2017 Seattle Supercross 450SX Class Results

  1. Marvin Musquin – Corona, CA – KTM
  2. Eli Tomac – Cortez, CO – Kawasaki
  3. Jason Anderson – Rio Rancho, NM – Husqvarna
  4. Ryan Dungey – Belle Plaine, MN – KTM
  5. Davi Millsaps – Cairo, GA – KTM
  6. Broc Tickle – Holly, MI – Suzuki
  7. Blake Baggett – Grand Terrace, CA – KTM
  8. Cooper Webb – Newport, NC – Yamaha
  9. Chad Reed – Dade City, FL – Yamaha
  10. Dean Wilson – Clermont, FL – Husqvarna

450SX Class Championship Standings

  1. Eli Tomac – Cortez, CO – Kawasaki – 294
  2. Ryan Dungey – Belle Plaine, MN – KTM – 294
  3. Marvin Musquin – Corona, CA – KTM – 252
  4. Cole Seely – Sherman Oaks, CA – Honda – 211
  5. Jason Anderson – Rio Rancho, NM – Husqvarna – 208
  6. Blake Baggett – Grand Terrace, CA – KTM – 177
  7. Davi Millsaps – Cairo, GA – KTM – 176
  8. Broc Tickle – Holly, MI – Suzuki – 158
  9. Dean Wilson – Clermont, FL – Husqvarna – 147
  10. Chad Reed – Dade City, FL – Yamaha – 143

2017 Seattle Western Regional 250SX Class Results

  1. Aaron Plessinger – Hamilton, OH – Yamaha
  2. Justin Hill – Yoncalla, OR – Kawasaki
  3. Mitchell Oldenburg – Alvord, TX – KTM
  4. Martin Davalos – Clermont, FL – Husqvarna
  5. Shane McElrath – Canton, NC – KTM
  6. Jimmy Decotis – Peabody, MA – Honda
  7. Hayden Mellross – Australia – Yamaha
  8. Kyle Chisholm – Valrico, FL – Honda
  9. Cole Martinez – Rimrock, AZ – Yamaha
  10. Justin Hoeft – Castaic, CA – Yamaha

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings

  1. Justin Hill – Yoncalla, OR – Kawasaki – 160
  2. Aaron Plessinger – Hamilton, OH – Yamaha – 142
  3. Shane McElrath – Canton, NC – KTM – 129
  4. Martin Davalos – Clermont, FL – Husqvarna – 124
  5. Jimmy Decotis – Peabody, MA – Honda – 106
  6. Austin Forkner – Richards, MO – Kawasaki – 90
  7. Dan Reardon – Menifee, CA – Yamaha – 82
  8. Kyle Chisholm – Valrico, FL – Honda – 73
  9. Cole Martinez – Rimrock, AZ – Yamaha – 64
  10. Jeremy Martin – Millville, MN – Honda – 55

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