It was a night of excitement, drama, and significant championship point moves in the penultimate round of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The 450SX Class Main Event dropped the gate with four racers still with a mathematical chance at the title.
When the checkers flew the crowd of 61,247 cheered for Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb, taking his seventh win of the season and stretching his points lead to 23 with one round remaining and only 26 points available to the winner of each round.
Prior to the start of the 450SX Class Main Event, Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin had earned the fastest qualifying time and a Heat Race win. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac was looking fast but had given up his Heat Race win with a crash. Point leader Cooper Webb was unimpressive but was riding while ill, having been under the weather all week. When the 22 riders funneled through the first turn, Cooper Webb emerged with the holeshot with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Zach Osborne and Eli Tomac right behind while Musquin picked himself off the ground after high siding over another rider's rear wheel. Tomac wasted no time getting around Osborne and the match up was set - number one and two in the points going for a win at the second to last round of the season.
At just under two minutes into the race Tomac got cleanly around Webb, but Webb was not looking to settle for second and the two riders traded the lead and rode several sections side by side during the first five minutes of the 20-minute plus one lap race. Just before the midway point the leaders looked to have settled into their positions up front; meanwhile Musquin had worked his way up to tenth. Then Tomac got off balance in one of the two whoop sections and crashed softly, handing the lead to Webb. While Tomac picked his bike up and pursued from fourth, Osborne moved into the lead until a bobble that almost sent him over a berm dropped him back to third. Tomac had the fastest pace and with three and a half minutes and one lap remaining, Tomac got back into second place; but one minute later he repeated his previous mistake and went down in the whoops in what looked like a replay of his first crash.
Cooper Webb brought home the victory, his seventh this year - and seventh total after three years contesting the 450SX Class. With more wins than Tomac, and a twenty-three point lead, Webb can ensure his first Monster Energy 450SX Title with a 20th place (out of 22 riders) at the final round next weekend in Las Vegas.
Right after the race, Webb said, "It was tough. I was just getting handed [gifts] left and right. Guys were making mistakes and I felt good. I was starting to battle with Eli for a bit and then tightened up a little. He got a good flow, but he crashed and then Zach was all over me. And I rode good, but man, those guys were a little better. But, I think when they got around me [they found out that] it's tough to lead out there the way the track is. You've got to be so precise, and they made some mistakes and gave me a nice gift... I can't believe it. I felt like crap all day and all week, so I was just glad to be out here. And the goal was a top five, so to get a win is incredible, and I thought for a second I clinched it, but it's all good. It's crazy how life works. You can be - this morning I was puking in the bathroom not knowing what I was going to do tonight, stressing, and then we're winning tonight so, man, God's good for sure... It's obviously a great momentum booster for me and to get another win is awesome for me and for the team; they work so hard. And anything can happen, obviously when racing, we saw tonight, a lot can happen but it's nice to go with a little better lead and we'll see what will happen next week."
Osborne was feeling good after proving he has the speed to lead, "It was an incredible race. To lead some laps and pass for the lead and just be in there and get that experience was huge for me. As you said my [late 2018] off-season performance was really, really good and I came into a couple weeks before Christmas and had an injury and it was pretty much worst-case scenario from there. And it's just been a long, long comeback trail. Our chaplain here at the track, he talked about facing giants this morning and that's what I feel like I've been doing all season. And today I conquered some giants and I'm very blessed to stand here right now."
Tomac took his third-place finish in decent spirits, acknowledging his double mistake that cost him the win in the same stadium that set back his championship hopes just two years ago. Tomac said about tonight's race, "That was something else, you know. I somehow managed to do that exact same move twice during that race. Just jumped in the rut there, as I was watching on the replay, my weight was too far right both times when I landed in the rut and then the notches got me, and I go into the same exact Tuff Blox. So disappointing... I could maybe get away with one of those, but both wasn't gonna do it tonight. So, just giving everything I had. I mean, that's all I could do, right? Trying to stay in the front but a couple of mistakes got me... that was tough... That was my whole goal to keep this [title fight going] to the next race and we did that. I still would've liked to have been in front of Cooper but all we can do is take it to Vegas again. He's got a sizeable lead now, so take it to Vegas and learn from our mistakes."
450SX Class Results
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
2. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
5. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
7. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki
8. Joshua Grant, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha
9. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
10. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Suzuki
450SX Class Championship Standings
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (358)
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (335)
3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (327)
4. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (300)
5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (274)
6. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (223)
7. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki (208)
8. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda (194)
9. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., KTM (158)
10. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (154)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
2. Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Yamaha
3. Justin Cooper, Huntington, N.Y., Yamaha
4. Martin Davalos, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki
5. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Yamaha
6. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Suzuki
7. Alex Martin, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
8. Jordan Bailey, Orlando, Fla., Husqvarna
9. Lorenzo Locurcio, Groveland, Fla., Kawasaki
10. Anthony Rodriguez, Tallahassee, Fla. Honda
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (174)
2. Justin Cooper, Huntington, N.Y., Yamaha (165)
3. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (152)
4. Martin Davalos, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki (134)
5. Mitchell Oldenburg, Godley, Tex., Yamaha (128)
6. Alex Martin, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (121)
7. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Yamaha (118)
8. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Suzuki (115)
9. Kyle Cunningham, Willow Park, Tex., Honda (108)
10. Jordan Bailey, Orlando, Fla., Husqvarna (91)