Cooper Webb wins Supercross Round 15 as Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac chase


Monster Energy Supercross Round 15 will prove to be pivotal in the 2021 championship no matter who ultimately comes out on top.

Winning professional races often come down to how one responds to pressure.

Cooper Webb responded best to the pressure and won his seventh race of the season. He led the top three points’ leaders in a one-two-three finish that ultimately extended his advantage to 16 markers over Ken Roczen. Third in both the race and points, Eli Tomac is a distant 40 points behind.

For most of the race, it seemed that Roczen would shave even more off Webb’s points lead. After winning on Tuesday, Roczen narrowed the gap to 13 points. He led early Saturday night. And with Webb in third early in the going Saturday night, he momentarily had his deficit down to eight points.

Roczen was in the rider’s seat. Midway through the race, he had a massive 12-second lead over the field. It was his race to lose.

And that is precisely what he did.

Roczen got crossed up in the whoops as his rear tire swapped violently and eventually put him on the ground exiting the treacherous section.

“Literally I hit the whoops solid every time except that one time and it swapped me too much and I went down,” Roczen told NBCSN’s Will Christien after the race. “My bars were a little bit bent so it took me a little bit to get used to. I gave it all I got; that’s really all I can do. It was a solid ride up until then.”

Roczen remounted quickly, but lost five seconds to Webb, bent his handlebar slightly and could not regain his momentum. While he tried to relearn the handling characteristics of his bike, Webb caught and passed him with time running off the clock.

POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Round 15 in Supercross

Webb made his own set of mistakes in the race. He appeared to be off rhythm in the opening laps as he trailed Roczen and holeshot winner Aaron Plessinger. Justin Barcia and Tomac were faster than Webb in the first half of the race and it seemed they would be able to catch the points’ leader. But when Roczen went down, Webb’s shark-like personality kicked in.

“That feeling sucks when you’re struggling,” Webb said from the top step of the podium. “There’s nothing worse. I’ve got to give it up to my team. They gave me a competitive bike tonight. We went back and figured some things out.

“Honestly I made so many mistakes. I didn’t really ride well at all, but I just dug deep. I saw Kenny out front and he was riding awesome. I was trying to do everything I can. Then he made that mistake, luckily, and I just saw blood in the water.”

Webb immediately became a different rider. He struggled through the first two rounds at Atlanta. He salvaged a third-place finish last Saturday, but seemed numb on the bike Tuesday night and finished outside the top five for only the second time this season. That is the rider who started Round 15.

The team traveled to Florida after Tuesday’s race and found something to loosen up the handling, but it was not until Roczen’s fall that the improved performance was noticeable. The Webb who finished the Round 15 was the same rider as the one that finished first or second in seven straight races from Indianapolis 3 through Arlington 3.

After starting the Atlanta residency with a win, Tomac finished off the podium Tuesday night. His fifth-place result in that race makes his championship hopes slim, but he showed he will not give up by finishing third Saturday night. That is his fourth podium in the last five races.

“I felt like my riding was pretty good in the Main, but Cooper and Ken were out in front of me on the start there.” Tomac said. “I kept them in reasonable reach for a while, tried to make a push at the end but it wasn’t quite good enough. We won’t give up the fight and just keep going.”

After getting overtaken by Roczen early, Plessinger made the next two riders work for every pass. He slowed both Webb and Tomac as they battled. He settled into fourth at the checkers to score his best result since earning a career-first podium six rounds ago on another infield track at Daytona International Speedway.

Justin Barcia earned his fifth top-five in the past six races.

In the words of the inimical Yogi Berra, it was deja’ vu all over again in the 250 class.

For the second week a red flag on Lap 1 of the 250 Main conspired to rob Justin Cooper of his holeshot. And just like last week, this accident featured the rider who entered the weekend second in the points.

Cameron McAdoo crashed in heavy traffic. He drifted wide in the opening lap and clipped a Tuff Blox, which caused him to slow. Chris Blose jumped onto his back and landed heavily on the dirt. The race was red flagged so Blose could be helped off the track. He was transported to a local hospital for observation.

On the restart, Cooper once more earned the holeshot, but this time he had Nate Thrasher in tow.

Three rounds ago, Thrasher only dreamed about podium finishes. His best result was ninth in 250 West competition until he won his first career Last Chace Qualifier in the first round of the Atlanta residency. He won his first Main that same night. On Tuesday, he kept his momentum alive with a fourth-place finish in Atlanta 2.

Saturday night, he bobbled in his heat and crashed. That forced him into the LCQ once more.

And once more, he won the LCQ to advance to the Main – only to improbably win the big show again.

“It was great out there,” Thrasher told NBCSN’s Daniel Blair. “The LCQ is not where we wanted to be. We went down in the heat race, which is part of racing. But I knew we were riding good tonight.

“The track is very technical out there. It was getting really rough. The whoops were tough tonight and I just got through them. I wouldn’t say I was good, but I wouldn’t say I was bad.”

Cooper held on to finish second. It was almost as good as a win.

“Coming out of the whoops I saw a pileup and I saw that Cameron was down in that,” Cooper said. “I didn’t really see Hunter (Lawrence), I just knew he wasn’t behind me. A great night points’ wise. This track was really tough. I just wanted to get through this one safe.”

McAadoo’s and Lawrence both crashed early in the race, which allowed Cooper to ride pressure-free. Cooper built a 20-point advantage over Lawrence and is 22 points ahead of McAdoo with only once race remaining in the 250 West championship.

Seth Hammaker rounded out the podium.

“I’ve been pretty happy with the progress we’ve been making,” Hammaker said after the race. “I’m just learning every round and trying to be consistent.”

Lawrence finished fourth after getting pushed off course by McAdoo early in the race.

Kyle Peters rounded out the top five.

But once again, McAdoo dominated the highlight reel.

In the the second round of qualification, McAdoo crashed heavily. His bike rolled over and tossed him about like a ragdoll in an incident reminiscent of his Tuesday night crash.

McAdoo rode gingerly in his heat and barely qualified for the Main. His seventh-place finish forced him into a bad gate, which contributed to his being in heavy traffic in the opening lap. He crashed again on Lap 1, collecting Blose and Stilez Robertson in the process.

After the restart, McAdoo ran into the back of his teammate Hammaker hard enough to tear the back fender off Hammaker’s bike. Once again, McAdoo found himself on the ground.

He remounted and attempted to minimize his points damage until he was cleaned out by Garrett Marchbanks a few laps later. That was the final straw. McAdoo could only climb back to 13th in the closing laps.

ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time

ROUND 2, HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds, wins after Round 1 disappointment

ROUND 3, HOUSTON: Cooper Webb wins, Ken Roczen denied revenge

ROUND 4, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it four winners in four races

ROUND 5, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen goes back to back for first time since 2017 injury

ROUND 6, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen is perfect in Indy for third straight win

ROUND 7, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb trims Ken Roczen lead

ROUND 8, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb sweeps Orlando to put pressure on Ken Roczen

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael at Daytona; Ken Roczen, Copper Webb war 

ROUND 10, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb takes the points lead with five straight top-two finishes

ROUND 11, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb wins first two races of Arlington residency

ROUND 12, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb becomes championship favorite with Arlington sweep

ROUND 13, ATLANTA: The infield course at Atlanta gives Eli Tomac a late-season chance

ROUND 14, ATLANTA: A clutch win for Ken Roczen and a gutsy performance for Cameron McAdoo

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
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Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury