When it seemed like this year couldn’t get any weirder it did, round 13 was initially slated for Seattle in April. Everyone knows this is very likely a rain race; it’s like the Supercross gods insisted this round would be wet no matter the time or place. The conditions produced a track that was extremely challenging and couldn’t have been more different than the other two SLC rounds. It produced some fantastic racing and one of the best battles in Supercross history.
(This looked more like Seattle than SLC in June, Daniel Blair was bundled up)
Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb were nothing short of amazing; they were going so fast they lapped up to third place. The battle was reminiscent of the 1986 Anaheim battle between David Bailey and Rick Johnson. Both riders were taking chances and pushing beyond what I thought was possible. They were executing the extremely technical track like it was dry, skimming the whoops and tripling rhythm sections that others struggled even to double. The heart both riders showed was something rarely seen; it takes two riders at their peak to draw this out of each other.
(Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb produced one of the best races of all time in the muddy conditions)
The 250 East series also is boiling down to two riders, Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath, have set themselves above the pack, and things are getting tense. Last Wednesday, Sexton got rough with McElrath in one of the timed qualifying sessions. Even though McElrath denied it during the post-race press conference, I believe he repaid Sexton for the aggression. Unfortunately for McElrath, the race was red-flagged, Garrett Marchbanks was down and injured in a dangerous spot. The officials had no choice but to red flag the race and completely restarted the event, which went much better for Sexton. This time he pressured McElrath into a mistake; he collided with lapped rider Coty Shock and went down. From this point, the race was essentially over, but it sets up some serious drama as they have two rounds left in the series.
(Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath are getting spicey as the series winds down)
Eli Tomac is proving his doubters wrong and walking away with this series. At this rate, he could have the 2020 championship clinched with one round left. On the other hand, we could have multiple riders in the 250-class lining up in two weeks going for the 250 East and 250 West championships. Ken Roczen appears to be struggling with altitude, and I heard he is staying in Park City, which is 2500 feet higher than the SLC stadium. I am no altitude expert, but the ones I consulted all wondered why he would stay up there. Whatever the reason, this isn’t the type of performance we expect from the German rider. Is time running out on his opportunity to win a Supercross Championship?
(What's wrong with Ken?)
I love this format, having two races a week is truly a treat, so much so that when it’s over, I will probably go into Supercross withdrawals. Who do you think will win the 250 East, and can Roczen ever figure out an entire Supercross series?
Photos - Feld Entertainment