One week after earning his first-career Supercross victory in the 250 Class, Cooper Webb took the checkered flag once again Saturday at Anaheim, turning in an incredible ride.
Webb got off to a poor start in the main event, leaving him 12th after the first lap while Zach Osborne and points leader Jessy Nelson did battle out front. Nelson passed Osborne to grab the race lead but threw it away on Lap 8 after clipping his rear tire on the over/under jump and crashing. With Nelson losing several spots, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers inherited the top spot and looked to be in position to win the race and take possession of the points lead.
Meanwhile, Webb continued his charge through the field and by the final lap of the race, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was up to second place and hot on the heels of Bowers. With the checkered flag nearly in sight, Bowers went high on one of the final turns and left the door open for Webb to make an aggressive pass for the lead. Webb dove inside of Bowers, making enough contact to send him into the tuff blocks and off the track.
Bowers recovered to finish in second, while Webb cruised to his second-straight victory. Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill rounded out the podium.
Known to have a propensity for aggressive riding of his own, Bowers did not take issue with Webb’s pass after the race. In fact, the two training partners even praised each other’s racing when all was said and done.
Saturday night’s events also led to a shakeup in the 250SX point standings. Nelson will give up the points lead to Webb, who now holds a 4-point edge on both Nelson and Bowers and will run the red plate next week in Oakland for the first time in his career.
Anaheim II 250SX Results
1. Cooper Webb
2. Tyler Bowers (-6.1 seconds)
3. Justin Hill
4. Zach Osborne
5. Malcolm Stewart
250SX Point Standings
1. Cooper Webb, 64
2. Jessy Nelson, 60
3. Tyler Bowers, 60
4. Zach Osborne, 54
5. Justin Hill, 53
Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.