We love what Supercross is doing with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Tampa, Fla., (February 17, 2020) Round seven brought forward a new points leader in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series. Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac grabbed his 30th career 450SX Main Event win and the title points lead on track conditions that challenged riders and forced mistakes in front of 46,173 fans inside Raymond James Stadium.
Opening ceremonies at Round seven of the Supercross Championship series at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Smarttop/BullFrog Spas/Motoconcepts Honda’s Vince Friese crossed the holeshot line first but before the second corner Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo sailed past. Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, the points leader going into this round, was buried in the pack; last weekend’s winner, Cooper Webb of the Red Bull KTM team ran just outside the top five at the holeshot line. The racers on the move early trying to chase down Cianciarulo were Tomac, Malcolm Stewart, Webb and Roczen who’d made his way to fifth after five minutes of racing.
Eli Tomac was fast all day. He rode a composed race on a treacherous track to grab his third win of the season and take over the championship points lead. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
The track was slick in areas with a challenging sand section, and Tomac used the split lanes in the sand to rail an outside berm and take the lead away from Cianciarulo on Lap eleven. With just over eight minutes and one lap of racing left, Webb jumped past Stewart into third. Roczen was by Stewart next, but a tip over allowed Stewart by at about the same time that Cianciarulo crashed in the whoops, dropping from second to tenth. Roczen made it back around Stewart and the top three riders in points held onto the podium positions.
Cooper Webb followed up last week’s win with a second place finish in Tampa. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
After the race Tomac was feeling good- “Early on, [I] was just following Adam. With these short lap times I knew we had a lot of laps under our belts tonight, so kinda just settled for a while then made the push just before half way. I’m like, alright gotta go if I’m gonna go,’ you know? So [I] was able to do that, switched up the sand there. That ended up working out really cool tonight with the option there, a good passing spot. The motorcycle was just awesome the whole day, so man this feels good.”
On the podium, Webb pointed out how the sand section could work against riders, “When we have this sand section it just makes it super hard to see, so when you’re kinda behind someone you lose a bunch of time just simply not being able to see. So, it made it tough when you’re behind, but once I got around Malcolm around half way, really tried to put my head down. Eli was already pretty much checked out so I’m happy with a second. Obviously wanted to be up there for that win tonight, felt great all day but its’ a good night overall. I felt like I rode good and just need to be better on my starts.”
“The motorcycle was just awesome the whole day, so man this (win) feels good.”
Roczen made a lot of passes in the Main Event and seemed to like the track. “The rhythm sections weren’t too technical but the sand, obviously it being beach sand it’s super deep and there’s not really a true line forming through there so we’re swapping lanes all over the place. But that was fun. The whoops were tough, really rough. Overall though I’m just happy to be back on the podium. Struggled with my starts the last couple weekends, just trying to keep a cool head now and get those [starts] back dialed and put myself in a good position.” When asked specifically about losing the red plate, he said, “It’s only four points behind, you know, like you said. A lot of things can happen, and we’ve just got to work on our starts again and get those dialed, at the same time not freak out. Sometimes when you over train then you start going backwards. So just trying to keep it cool and go out there and have fun.”
Shane McElrath had the field handled at the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class series. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Also establishing a new points leader, by virtue of it being the starting round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class series, Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing’s Shane McElrath took an impressive win, leading the pack nearly from the start. It was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jordon Smith who jumped out with the holeshot, but McElrath was into the lead before the second corner. From there, McElrath checked out, pulling three seconds ahead of the pack in just the first minute and a half of racing. By then GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin, in his first race back after missing all of last season due to a back injury incurred in the summer of 2018, was into second and looking ahead toward the lead. Instead, Martin was attacked from behind by teammate and defending champion Chase Sexton. After a short battle where the two Honda’s traded the position a few times, Sexton got clear but by then was facing a nearly six second gap to first. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire battled his way from seventh up to as high as fourth place before going off the track and getting his bike temporarily hung up on an infield structure. McElrath crossed the checkers for this seventh career win and the early points lead in the Eastern Regional 250SX Class title chase.
“Coming into this race I was living on a prayer, really.”- McElrath
The partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was on display throughout the paddock and on the racetrack as teams and athletes supported the mission of Finding Cures, Saving Children. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
The Florida race not only kicked off the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship but was also the “This Race Saves Lives” event in which teams featured St. Jude patient-inspired artwork on their bikes and gear. The custom graphics and one-of-a-kind gear was collected after the race and will become available in the coming days where fans can bid on items from their favorite teams and riders. The online auction went live during the opening segment of Race Day Live and the first item up for bid was Ricky Carmichael’s custom-built Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. Fans can bid on Ricky’s bike and other items by visiting: stjude.org/supercrossauction
The Tampa race was themed “This Race Saves Lives” which kicked off an online auction that will run through the remainder of the season. Fans can bid on one-of-a-kind race worn items from their favorite riders.
Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
With eleven points now separating three riders in the 450SX Class, the series heads to Arlington, Texas this weekend, February 22, where AT&T Stadium will host the second Triple Crown event of the year in which riders compete in three 10-Lap Main Events.
Sean Brennan, Supercross PR Manager
*Information and photos by Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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450SX Class Podium (riders left to right) Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb.
250SX Class Podium (riders left to right, Jeremy Martin, Shane McElrath and Chase Sexton.
Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.