The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series went to Salt Lake City, Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium once again on Wednesday for the penultimate round of the season. In the 450SX class, Cooper Webb (1st), Eli Tomac (2nd) and Zach Osborne (3rd) grabbed the three spots on the podium, while Chase Sexton (1st), Shane McElrath (2nd), and Colt Nichols (3rd) took the top three spots in the 250SX East main event.
For the 450’s, Tomac will now head into the finale on Sunday night with a 24-point lead over Webb and needs only two points in the main event to clinch his first-ever 450SX AMA Supercross Championship. Sexton used his second-straight main event win to pull out a six-point gap over McElrath in the chase for the 250SX East Championship.
After the racing was over, we gathered quotes from many of the top riders in Salt Lake City.
Cooper Webb: (1st in 450SX) “I wasn’t thinking about that too much I was just hitting my marks and trying to see where I could be a little bit better. The track was – we were all really close in speed, not a lot of separation. I fixed the whoops about halfway, I think that’s where it was holding me back, and started hitting them really well. I had a lot of pressure from Kenny [Roczen] , he was all over me there at the beginning. And Zach rode great out front. I definitely saw Eli get behind me and he was riding really good; I knew I had to go ahead and make a pass [on Osborne]. So, it’s a great night, it’s great to get another win. It’s incredible when we can win these things, and man that was a tight race between us four the whole time. It seemed like a lot of pressure between us all and it was like we weren’t making many mistakes. I’m sure it was a fun race for the fans to watch and it was a fun race to win for sure.”
Chase Sexton: (1st in 250SX) “I just knew I was good in that rhythm section and I knew that I could get close to him. I was like, all right, I’ve got to make a pass here. It was good. I made it. It was pretty aggressive, but also I didn’t want to give Shane another chance to get back on me in the next corner, so I had to make it stick. From there on I just kind of tried to sprint away and hit my marks as good as I can while going through lappers. The track was really good and I enjoyed that main event. I’ve been looking forward to this East/West Showdown all year. I want to race everybody and I think we were supposed to have two this year and we only got to race one. For me, I want to go out there and have that offensive mentality and put myself in a good position. Hopefully, we can run up there and try and win the race. I think I want to prove some stuff on Sunday. I feel like tonight I rode well, so hopefully, carry that into Sunday. I want to win that race. I’m looking forward to getting out there and mixing it up with the rest of the crew.”
Eli Tomac: (2nd in 450SX) “”I felt better on this track today just for making passes. I was pushing hard, as hard as I could. Caught the front pack, then once Cooper made the pass on Zach it seemed like he stepped it up. So, I did everything I could, couldn’t quite get there, but really good day for us.”
Zach Osborne: (3rd in 450SX) “The whole time I was in the lead, I was just trying to set a new personal best on laps led. I was doing something I’ve never done before, so I’m happy with my ride. I tightened up a little bit at the end, this was one of the harder Main Events I’ve ever done with the altitude and just the intensity was way up there.”
Shane McElrath: (2nd in 250SX) “Man, second place isn’t bad, except in this situation. I really needed a win tonight and unfortunately came up short. I was just a little behind all day today, but I’m fired up and I’m making a statement at the last round.”
Colt Nichols: (3rd in 250SX) “Overall it was a good race to get third and on the podium, I just had a bad start and that really hurt me. I also didn’t have the intensity that I needed, so I’m a little bummed. I felt like I left a little bit out there, but it’s all good. I have one more race on Sunday and I’m ready to do battle with the guys from the East and West.”
Ken Roczen: (4th in 450SX) “The second-to-last race in Salt Lake City was a good one. I’d rather have it this way and put in a hard effort and not be good enough and get beat than have too many issues and drop off completely. I just wasn’t fast enough tonight. I tried really hard to at least get on the podium, and we were close, but just not enough, unfortunately. We put in a good charge. We’re going to come back in the last race and try to get to the very top step one last time for 2020. Overall, it was a very good effort from the team and on my side, especially after a heat race where I got parked because I had a big rut in my line and didn’t have the greatest gate pick. We put in a good fight and ended up fourth for the night. It’s not exactly the result we wanted in the end, but it was a great fight and that’s all we can ask for.”
Jason Anderson: (5th in 450SX) “It felt really good to start the day off with P1 in practice and get a heat race win. In the Main, the difference between me and the leader was seven seconds and there were like five guys within that battle, so it was good. All-in-all, I felt good all day and we’re ready to get up there and battle for a win.”
Justin Brayton (6th in 450SX) “This was the best one yet for me. I had a great start in the main and ran second for a while. I was running up front and doing the laps that I wanted to do, running good lap times, racing with the guys I feel like I should be racing with. I’m pretty proud of this one. Sixth isn’t amazing, but overall from what I’ve been doing—starting 13th or 14th and coming to eighth, it’s much better to start second and run there for a while and get used to that pace again, then get passed by a few of the best guys in the world and end up sixth. Overall it was a good night for me. One to go—let’s do it!”
Jo Shimoda: (5th in 250SX) “Yeah I was feeling good all day, fourth in timed qualifying, but I did have one crash. Good start in the heat race and the first few laps I was close to Shane [McElrath]. I finished second. For [the] main event I started around 10th and could only catch up to fifth for the day. It was better than the last few races, though. Just little bit better start and I really focused on the first two turns to get through. The last few races I’ve been frustrated because I didn’t get to ride 100 percent with all the crashes”
Chris Blose: (8th in 250SX) “Placed 8th. I’m not exactly excited about my performance. I rode great in the heat after being stuck under my bike from a 2nd turn crash. I definitely have to work on my starts to make life a lot easier on myself. I know where I belong and little by little I’m getting there.”
Malcolm Stewart: (7th in 450SX) “I turned a bad day into a good day when it really counted. I struggled in practice and the heat race, but in the main was the best I rode all day. We ended up 7th so I’ll take it due to the day I had (laughs). One more round to go!”
Jalek Swoll: (14th in 250SX) “The day started out good – my speed felt good and I got everything down early. The Main Event was chaotic but I’m head-up right now, looking forward to putting in a good result on Sunday and ending the SX season on a good note.”
Justin Barcia: (9th in 450SX) “Unfortunately the other day I woke up and my neck was fully stuck and I couldn’t move it. So I only had a day to try to get that better and it really didn’t get better. The beginning of the day did not go well for me at all. I just rode around trying to get used to the track and loosen up my neck a bit. Luckily, it got a little bit better throughout the day. The Heat race went pretty well, I ended up fourth in that, but it was another one of those not so great starts again in the Main Event. I got a little tangled up in the second corner and then ended up fighting my way back from 16th to ninth. I think you can make excuses about not being able to go faster on the track because it was one-lined, but I just didn’t have any more speed than that. I got through it and I’m healthy. I’m just going to keep trying to loosen up my neck. I’m looking forward to Sunday and hopefully will get a run on a solid result.”
Dean Wilson: (13th in 450SX) “There were some good parts and some bad parts of today. I’m stoked on the heat race win but I made an adjustment that I felt would be a benefit for the Main Event and I just really struggled out there. We’re healthy and taking away a lot of positives into the last round on Sunday.”
Aaron Plessinger: (14th in 450SX) “I had a great Heat race, a great qualifying, I just couldn’t put it together for the Main. I got an okay start. The track was pretty slick and I just got held up by a lot of people, and I just rode tight. Yeah, the bike’s starting to work better, but I just need to put it together. There’s no excuses. I shouldn’t be finishing outside the top 10 or even the top five. I just have to put one race together. I get one more shot this year. I’ve got to send it. I just want to get out there and ride my dirt bike, have fun and do the best I can at the last race.”
Broc Tickle: (16th in 450SX) “Today was positive for me. We made some adjustments to the bike to be ready as the track deteriorated and went in the right direction. Results-wise it was not what we were looking for, but we are making progress. Overall, I had a solid performance.”
Photos by: FELD Entertainment