Seven standout moments from the 10 rounds contested so far.
Words: Simon Makker
Before the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship ground to a halt, race fans had been treated to some incredible action over the first 10 rounds. It seems everyone has raised the bar significantly from one year ago and the margins between first and 10th are as small as ever. Add a relatively low number of injuries and stacked fields in all classes to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some enthralling battles. In this edition of Countdown we list our favorite clashes so far.
7. Tomac vs Barcia at San Diego:
Monster Energy’s Eli Tomac and Monster Energy Yamaha pilot Justin Barcia haven’t exactly been on Christmas card terms this year and what unfolded at San Diego certainly didn’t help. After an average start, Tomac was slicing his way through the pack when he found Barcia and sparks flew. The pair traded blows on consecutive corners before Tomac ran into Barcia and stopped both of their momentum. Tomac took the advantage, but Barcia, obviously seeing red, tried to slam the Pro Motocross champion in a hairpin half a lap later, then ran him wide again in the next 180 turn. Tomac ultimately got the upper-hand, but there were heated words exchanged between them at the end of the race.
6. Cianciarulo vs Webb at San Diego:
450SX rookie Adam Cianciarulo and defending champion Cooper Webb certainly aren’t strangers to racing each other, but the battle they put on at San Diego promised that we’ll see some great stoushes between them in the coming years. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Cianciarulo grabbed the holeshot, but Webb (Red Bull KTM) made a quick pass for the lead. AC counter-attacked two corners later with a lightening quick turnaround in a left-hand hairpin and took the line away from Webb entering the whoops. The Floridian then led most of the main with Webb stalking and watching his every move, before pulling the trigger late in the race. They elbowed each-other wide on consecutive 90-degree turns, then raced neck-and-neck for the best part of a lap before Webb set the Kawasaki rider up and got a better drive through a rhythm lane, securing his first win of 2020.
5. Roczen vs Tomac at Glendale:
The short, sharp nature of the Triple Crown format opens the door for all manner of close, intense racing as everyone puts out the elbows the get an advantage. The opening main event at Glendale threw up a dream scenario as Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Tomac found themselves up front early and scrapping for the lead. While Roczen always held the advantage throughout the shortened main event, he had to withstand all the pressure and hammer-blows that Tomac threw at him. The German never waivered and took the checkers for his fourth Triple Crown race win in a row and proved that this year he’s capable of handling all the heat that can be flung his way.
4. Cianciarulo vs Osborne at St Louis:
At the second round of the championship, where Roczen broke his near three-year winless streak, Cianciarulo and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne stole the show with a titanic battle. Osborne scored the holeshot and led early but got shuffled back by Roczen and Anaheim 1 winner Barcia. AC then tried to force the issue by pushing Osborne wide, but the next corner Osborne asserted his authority by going hard into the 450SX rookie in a 180 bowl turn and take the advantage again. Late in the race the pair found each other again, with both going at it for a good half lap before Cianciarulo gained the upper hand and pulled away for a hard-fought podium result.
3. Tomac vs Roczen vs Webb at Oakland:
The fifth round of the championship at Oakland saw signals that Tomac was a very real threat for the championship, as he secured his second win of the championship, despite a mistake. After Roczen stormed away with the holeshot, Tomac made short work of his teammate, Cianciarulo, then ground down his main championship rival. After a clean pass and pulling out a handy lead, Tomac careened over a berm and again surrendered the lead to Roczen. With the clock winding down Tomac went into beast mode and ran Roczen down for the second time, passing him for his second win of the year. At the same time, Webb, who at one stage was more than seven seconds behind the leading duo, caught Roczen on the last lap. The pair collided at the bottom of the last 180 turn, popping Roczen out of his line and allowing Webb to scrape past to capture the victory. After last year’s last-gasp loss to Webb, there would’ve been a horrible feeling of déjà vu in Roczen’s camp.
2. Webb vs Davalos vs Tomac at Atlanta:
While Roczen claimed his third win of the championship, all hell was breaking loose behind him, with Webb, Martin Davalos (Team Tedder Monster Energy KTM) and Tomac engaging in a, mesmerising three-way death-dance for the entire final lap. Davalos was fighting for his first 450SX-career podium, Tomac for valuable championship points and Webb for an incomprehensible podium result after a DNF in Arlington where he crashed spectacularly onto the concrete. Gritting his teeth, Webb ultimately gained the upper-hand, but all three racers were certainly pushing the limits, desperate for the final podium result.
1. Ferrandis vs Geico Honda at Anaheim 2:
Arguably the biggest, most talked moments of the 250SX West championship occurred during the main event at Anaheim 2, when Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s defending champion Dylan Ferrandis sent Geico Honda’s Christian Craig into the cheap-seats in a move that was 50-50 at best. Ferrandis remounted, then pressured race leader, Geico Honda’s hotshot rookie Jett Lawrence, into a spectacular, season-ending mistake. After a desperate battle between the pair, Lawrence dropped the front-end at the end of the whoops and rode the front wheel before being pile-driven into the face of the next jump, breaking his collarbone. Ferrandis took the victory, but his move on Craig didn’t win him too many fans and it earned himself a warning probation from the AMA.