Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen battled handlebar-to-handlebar in what may be a preview for the remainder of the 2020 season in the 450 class of Monster Energy Supercross. Meanwhile, Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath did precisely the same thing in 250s in the second Triple Crown race of the year.
Tomac got off to a slow start. Riding well outside the top 10 on the first lap of Main 1, he worked hard to get to fifth at the checkers. He had a much better start in the second race in route to victory. In the third Main of the Triple Crown format, he split the difference and started fifth, setting up one of the most dramatic finishes of the year.
“Jason (Anderson) was in second there and the way the points were falling I was like, ‘Gosh dangit, I’m going to be third overall right now,’ ” Tomac said on NBCSN after the race. “My main focus was just going forward.”
Tomac rode down Roczen and then set his sights on the 2018 champion Jason Anderson. Neither rider would give up their positions easily and Tomac was forced to pass each of them multiple times. In the end, his 5-1-1 was enough for the overall win. It is his fourth win of the season and the second consecutive on the heels of his Tampa victory.
Roczen got off to a great start. After sweeping the Mains at Glendale in the first Triple Crown of the year, he won the first race at Dallas to go four-for-four. Roczen finished 1-7-2 for second overall. He sits second in the points, seven behind Tomac.
“I physically didn’t feel all that great,” Roczen said afterward. “I’m glad that in the last race I was able to put up a good fight. Me and Eli were going back and forth there for a while, but I made a mistake and he went back by.”
Anderson had a shot at the overall win, for his first victory since his championship season. He entered the third Main with a one point advantage, took the lead halfway through the race from Zach Osborne, but couldn’t hold Tomac at bay. With time running off the clock, he jumped wide and crashed. Finishing with 3-2-5, he was scored third overall.
“I haven’t been out front in a long time,” Anderson said. “It’s probably been since 2018. Riding out front: I feel good, but at the same time I’m a little bit hesitant there. I just need to keep doing it race after race and give myself the opportunity (to win the championship).”
Justin Barcia (4-5-4) and Osborne (7-4-3) rounded out the top five.
The championship was impacted by a pair of injuries.
Cooper Webb finished second in the first race and was running second in Main 2 when he buried his front wheel in the Dragons’ Back and was catapulted over the handlebars. He landed hard on the concrete. Webb was transported to a local hospital and failed to start Main 3. He finished 12th overall.
The news was worse for Adam Cianciarulo. He also crashed on the Dragon’s Back in practice and broke his left collarbone. Cianciarulo will be out of contention for at least a few weeks.
The Arlington Triple Crown was a preview of what to expect for the remainder of the 250 East championship.
In the third Main of the night, Shane McElrath grabbed the hole shot and rode to a comfortable lead – beating Chase Sexton to the checkers. McElrath won the battle, but Sexton won the war.
With a 2-1-2, Sexton edged McElrath by one point. McElrath scored a 3-2-1 and on the cool down lap, the two title contenders took a moment to bump fists before heading to the podium.
“It’s always great getting a win, but I didn’t want the same thing to happen as happened last year,” Sexton said on NBCSN after the race. “I had to stop (McElrath) and put myself out there to show him I’m here to play and I think I did that tonight.”
McElrath’s win last week and Sexton’s victory at Dallas means the two riders will both head to Atlanta next week with a red plate firmly affixed to the front of their bikes.
“I tried a little too hard in the first two,” McElrath said after the race. “I had some silly mistakes and bad starts.”
Meanwhile, RJ Hampshire delivered a message to the competition. He will do what it takes to grab every position on the track. In route to winning the first Main, Hampshire cleaned out the leader Sexton. In the third Main, Hampshire rode into the side of Jordon Smith as they challenged for third. If not for a bad start in the second Main, Hampshire would have challenged for the overall win.
His aggression paid off with a third-place finish overall with a 1-6-3.
Jeremy Martin finished 5-3-4 for a fourth overall with Garrett Marchbanks (6-4-5) finishing fifth.
Main 1: Ken Roczen wants to be the 2020 champion and what better way is there to establish that than by beating the last two champions. … Roczen picked up where he left off in the last Triple Crown event; he swept all three Mains in Glendale and now has four straight. … Webb followed him across the line about three seconds back. … Jason Anderson was another second and a half behind. … Justin Barcia finished fourth. … Eli Tomac got off to another miserable start. He crossed the finish line 13th on Lap 1 and was forced to come from the back. He climbed to ninth with 6:43 to go, was sixth with 3:20 remaining and climbed into the top five with 2:45 to go. … Justin Brayton and Martin Davalos had top-five positions in hand before they crashed. Brayton finished 15th; Davalos 11th. | Results
Main 2: Eli Tomac got a much better start in the second Main. He took the lead on Lap 1 and never looked back. … Jason Anderson grabbed second halfway through the race and kept Tomac in sight, but finished 3.3 seconds behind. He had the overall lead at the time by 1 point. … Justin Hill scored an emotional podium in third. … Zach Osborne and Justin Barcia rounded out the top five. … After a bad start when he pulled the wheel up slightly and fell to 10th, Ken Roczen recovered to finish seventh. … The story of the race was a tragedy; riding fourth when time ran off the clock, Cooper Webb landed on his front wheel on the Dragon’s Back. He was catapulted off his bike and landed hard on his back on the cement. | Results
Main 3: After getting a bad start in the first Main and a great start in the second, Eli Tomac split the difference in Main 3. He started around fifth but had the best riders in front of him. Tomac sliced through the pack and survived seesaw battles with Ken Roczen for third and then Jason Anderson for the lead. … Roczen slipped into second when Anderson went down with one lap remaining. … Zach Osborne got the holeshot before fading to third. … Justin Barcia rounded out the top five. … With two laps remaining Anderson went down the whoops; he finished fifth. | Results
Main 1: The first Main was a slugfest. Chase Sexton stalked RJ Hampshire and caught him with 5:12 remaining. Sexton got around Hampshire clean, but one lap later Hampshire cleaned Sexton out. … Sexton fell a few positions, but charged back to second. … The battle shifted to Shane McElrath, who punted Jordon Smith off course with two minutes remaining. … McElrath finished fourth with Smith holding on for fourth. … Jeremy Martin rounded out the top five. | Results
Main 2: Chase Sexton decided it was best to not allow any rider to get close to him in the second Main. He shot out to a huge start and built a more than 10 second lead with two minutes remaining on the clock. … Shane McElrath stayed out of drama in the second Main as well. He passed Joey Crown midway through the event and held onto second. … Jeremy Martin took the last spot on the podium with Garrett Marchbanks finishing fourth. … The rookie Crown had a great showing. As high as second in the opening laps, he faded at the checkers, but still had a solid fifth-place showing. … The winner of the first Main had a bad start. RJ Hampshire was 15th on Lap 1. He charged through the field and nipped Joshua Hill at the line for sixth to keep his hopes for an overall win alive. | Results
Main 3: Shane McElrath grabbed the lead early and held on to the checkers, slowly extending his lead over Chase Sexton in second. … Once gain RJ Hampshire provided the drama. After dumping Sexton in the first Main as the two battled for the lead, he rode into the side of Jordon Smith halfway through this race and stole third. … Jeremy Martin and Garrett Marchbanks rounded out the top five. | Results
Next race: February 29, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta.
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