The Round 15 results of the Monster Energy Supercross season will show that the first, second and third-place riders in the 2021 championship ended in precisely those positions, but the race held much more drama than statistics reveal.
Cooper Webb won his seventh race of the season after falling back to third early in the going while Roczen momentarily had the points lead down to eight markers. But there is a reason the points aren’t counted until the end.
Roczen got the lead early and for the first half of the race he was in his own zip code. A mistake in the whoops sent him to the ground, trimmed seven seconds off his lead, bent his handlebars slightly and robbed him of momentum.
With time running off the clock, Webb caught and passed Roczen. Webb bobbled on the last lap but would not be denied. He extended his points’ lead to 16 with two rounds remaining at Salt Lake City.
Roczen finished second. For a rider who does not have a history of challenging for podiums late in the season, his three such finishes in the last four races is notable.
Eli Tomac crossed under the checkers third and kept his mathematical challenge for the championship alive as the series heads to a high altitude venue. Tomac excels on that type of track since much of his training is done around Denver, Colo.
Aaron Plessinger grabbed the holeshot – his second of the season – but Roczen passed him early. It took a while for Webb and then Tomac to get around as Plessinger tried to hold off his challengers.
Justin Barcia rounded out the top five.
Malcom Stewart in sixth, Dylan Ferrandis in seventh, Dean Wilson in eighth, Marvin Musquin in ninth and Chase Sexton rounded out the top 10
For the second week, a Lap 1 red flag attempted to deny Justin Cooper the holeshot.
Last Tuesday Cameron McAdoo had a hard crash on the tunnel jump and a stoppage was required to get him down from the obstacle. McAdoo crashed again Saturday night after Cooper once more earned the holeshot.
With another complete restart in the books, Cooper grabbed the holeshot again. He would not hold onto the race lead this time, but as problems continued for McAdoo, he all-but locked up the 250 West championship. Cooper enters the final race of the season – an East/West Showdown at Salt Lake City – with a 20-point advantage over Hunter Lawrence and 22 ahead of McAdoo.
Incredibly, Nate Thrasher won his second 250 West race in the last three attempts after being forced to advance through the Last Chance Qualifier each time. On the restart, Thrasher followed Cooper to the front of the pack and passed him easily. With a clean track ahead of him, Thrasher built and maintained a 6.7 second lead.
Cooper finished second, which is his fourth straight first- or second-place finish. He has been perfect in regard to top-fives in eight rounds.
Seth Hammaker bobbled in the rhythm section after the restart, causing McAdoo to run up on him and knock the back fender off the No. 150 Kawasaki. McAdoo crashed. Hammaker recovered to finish third.
Lawrence crashed early in the race after getting pinched off course by McAdoo. That actually may have been a blessing in disguise as it put him far enough behind the Hammaker/McAdoo incident that he was able to rid around the crash.
Kyle Peters rounded out the top five.
Last week McAdoo put in one of the gutsiest performances of the season after crashing in the opening lap of Round 14. The hits kept coming in Round 15. He posted fast times in practice before a hard get-off reawakened his injuries. McAdoo rode gingerly in his heat and narrowly qualified for the Main.
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McAdoo’s start to the Main got off to another rough start. He drifted wide, hit a Tuff Blox and went down in the middle of traffic. Chris Blose clipped his helmet with a back tire, rocking McAdoo once more. The red flag was displayed for the second consecutive race for an incident involving the rider of the No. 31.
Blose went down hard. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
But McAdoo’s woes weren’t over: When Hammaker got wobbly through the rhythm section he bunched the field behind him. Challenging for a top-five position, McAdoo ran up on the incident and hit the ground for the third time. Moments later, McAdoo was cleaned out by Garrett Marchbanks.
McAdoo could not overcome this incident. He dropped to the back of the pack and could only rally to 13th when the checkers waved.
Next Up: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 24.
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 1 AT HOUSTON: Justin Barcia, Christian Craig take early lead
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 2 AT HOUSTON: Eli Tomac closes gap, Jett Lawrence wins his first
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 3 AT HOUSTON: Ken Roczen earns one-point margin; Colt Nichols, Christian Craig share 250 lead
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 4 AT INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen wins to extend points margin, Colt Nichols doubles down
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 5 AT INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it two in a row; Colt Nichols threepeats
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 6 AT INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen continues to roll; Christian Craig stops Colt Nichols
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 7 AT ORLANDO: Cooper Webb gets second win as Jett Lawrence also doubles
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 8 AT ORLANDO: Cooper Webb wins again to close the gap on Ken Roczen
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 9 AT DAYTONA: Eli Tomac gets back in contention with fifth Daytona win
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 10 AT ARLINGTON: The Battle of words between Webb and Roczen ends with Webb win
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 11 AT ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb two-for-two in Arlington; Hunter Lawrence wins first 250
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 12 AT ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb gets second residency sweep with perfect Arlington effort
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 13 AT ATLANTA: Eli Tomac surges to second win on NASCAR infield course
POINTS, RESULTS AFTER ROUND 14 AT ATLANTA: Ken Roczen isn’t done yet; Justin Cooper extends 250 lead