As racing returned after an enforced break of almost three months, 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series leader Eli Tomac made a clear statement—any rider who wants the championship will have to beat him. That’s easier said than done, as Tomac turned a decent start and a bit of adversity into a convincing win at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Tomac and his closest competitor in the standings, Ken Roczen, came out swinging in the afternoon Heat races. Both won easily, setting up a battle in the Main Event on a short track that featured lap times as short as 43 seconds.
When the gate dropped for the Main Event, the air temperature was 90 degrees, and the wind was howling—highly unusual conditions for Supercross. Blake Baggett took the holeshot, with Adam Cianciarulo right behind him. Justin Brayton was next, followed by Tomac and Vince Friese. Defending Supercross champion Cooper Webb was in P6, with Roczen mired in P8.
However, by the end of the second lap, Cianciarulo had crashed hard and out of the race, slowing up Tomac and Webb, allowing Roczen into the fray. The top three riders in the series—Tomac, Webb, and Roczen—were running in P3, P4, and P5.
The trio flew in close proximity, though without passes, until lap 6, when Tomac made an error. Webb and Roczen swept by in short order, putting Tomac back to P5. Baggett and Brayton continued to run at the front.
On lap 8, Tomac moved past Roczen for P4. A lap later, Webb, Tomac, and Roczen all move up a spot as Brayton slowed. A lap later, Tomac moved past Webb for P2, and set off for Baggett. On lap 12 (of 29), Tomac displaced Baggett for the lead, giving Tomac a cushion over Webb and Roczen.
It took Webb and Roczen until lap 15 to get past Baggett. By then, Tomac had established a commanding lead of nearly four seconds. From there, Tomac managed the lead until the end, never letting it drop below three seconds. Roczen was unable to mount a challenge to Webb for the runner-up spot, with Roczen nearly going down on the final lap when he cross-rutted a jump and collided with multiple Tuff blocks.
“It’s so cool to get to go back to racing here in Salt Lake City and get back to riding and racing and doing what we know,” Tomac said after the race. “Overall, awesome day there. The track got really slick at the end, lots of dust flying and lots of hunting for traction. I was a little slower early on, got to improve on that next time, especially if these guys up their game.”
“It’s good to be back racing,” Webb said. “It’s awesome just to be able to do what we love. I was battling up there in the beginning. We were all sandwiched, and I was able to actually get around Eli, but then he went around us and really laid some good laps. During the middle of the race, I kind of lost speed a little bit, and at the end I was really trying hard. I missed a rhythm at the end though, and that really cost me in maybe catching him.”
“I felt pretty good. I had a decent start, but got bumped around a little bit and lost some positions,” Roczen said, “so we had to fight our way up there, and were kind of just riding in a train. It was hard to make up time…A podium is okay. Obviously we need to put ourselves in front of Tomac, but there’s a lot of racing left and a lot of crashes out there, and with all the lappers, a lot of things can happen. Really, we just have to regroup and try again on Wednesday.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammates Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne went at it almost the entire race, with Osborne leading the way for most of the Main Event. With three laps remaining, Anderson got by Osborne for P4 with Osborne rounding out the top five. Anderson battled back from a botched start that left him in P13 after the opening lap.
Baggett, who had led the opening third of the race, faded to P7 behind Martín Dávalos, who passed Baggett on lap 22.
Justin Barcia came into SLC1 as a dark horse possibility to compete for the championship title. However, his P8 finish puts him a daunting 42 points behind Tomac with six races remaining.
Tomac’s win stretches his lead over Roczen to eight points, and Webb is now 32 points behind Tomac. Webb’s inability to beat Tomac puts a significant dent in his quest to retain the #1 plate.
Racing resumes on Wednesday with SLC2, the second of the seven-race twice-a-week sprint to the finish in Salt Lake City.
Rich Shepherd photography courtesy of Feld Entertainment
2020 Salt Lake City 1 Supercross Results, Rice-Eccles Stadium
- Eli Tomac (Kawasaki)
- Cooper Webb (KTM)
- Ken Roczen (Honda)
- Jason Anderson (Husqvarna)
- Zach Osborne (Husqvarna)
- Martín Dávalos (KTM)
- Blake Baggett (KTM)
- Justin Barcia (Yamaha)
- Justin Brayton (Honda)
- Dean Wilson (Husqvarna)
- Malcolm Stewart (Honda)
- Aaron Plessinger (Yamaha)
- Benny Bloss (KTM)
- Kyle Cunningham (Suzuki)
- Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha)
- Justin Hill (Honda)
- Alex Ray (Kawasaki)
- Vince Friese (Honda)
- Chad Reed (Honda)
- Tyler Bowers (Kawasaki)
- Fredrik Norén (Suzuki)
- Adam Cianciarulo (Kawasaki)
2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series Standings (after 11 of 17 rounds)
- Eli Tomac (Kawasaki), 252 points (6 wins; 7 podiums)
- Ken Roczen (Honda), 244 (3 wins; 9 podiums)
- Cooper Webb (KTM), 220 (1 win; 8 podiums)
- Justin Barcia (Yamaha), 210 (1 win; 3 podiums)
- Jason Anderson (Husqvarna), 189 (3 podiums)
- Malcolm Stewart (Honda), 164
- Justin Hill (Honda), 148
- Justin Brayton (Honda), 143
- Dean Wilson (Husqvarna), 142
- Aaron Plessinger (Yamaha), 136
- Adam Cianciarulo (Kawasaki), 129 (2 podiums)
- Blake Baggett (KTM), 125 (1 podium)
- Zach Osborne (Husqvarna), 123
- Vince Friese (Honda), 113
- Martín Dávalos (KTM), 109
- Tyler Bowers (Kawasaki), 63
- Chad Reed (Honda/KTM), 53
- Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha), 52
- Benny Bloss (Yamaha/KTM), 44
- Kyle Cunningham (Suzuki), 32
- Ryan Breece (Suzuki), 31
- Alex Ray (Kawasaki), 25
- Justin Bogle (KTM), 24
- Chris Blose (Honda), 18
- Broc Tickle (Suzuki), 12
- Adam Enticknap (Suzuki), 12
- Daniel Herrlein (KTM), 8
- Ryan Sipes (KTM), 7
- James Weeks (Yamaha), 7
- Henry Miller (KTM), 6
- Jimmy Decotis (Suzuki), 4
- Fredrik Norén (Suzuki), 4
- Jason Clermont (Kawasaki), 3
- Cade Autenrieth (Honda), 3
- Ronnie Stewart (Husqvarna), 3
- Josh Cartwright (Kawasaki), 1
- Jerry Robin (Honda), 1