Supercross: Cooper Webb is the odd man in


TAMPA, Florida – After getting off to a strong start with runner-up finishes in the first two races of 2023, Cooper Webb finished fourth overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and ‘struggled’ last week with a fifth-place finish in the Houston Main, but with Monster Energy Supercross championships in 2019 and 2021, he’s looking to be the odd man in again this season. After all, he sits third in the standings, only 12 points out of first, and is one of just two riders who have swept the top five in the first four races of 2023.

Webb led most of the 2019 season with eight wins and an 18-point margin over Eli Tomac. Momentum was building.

But Tomac was always there, lurking in the shadows. And when Webb struggled in 2020, Tomac responded by winning the championship by 25 points – a full-race advantage.

When Webb won his first title in 2019 there was a lot of negativity surrounding his effort. Multiple injuries when he with Yamaha were fresh in the fans’ minds, but Webb was determined to tackle his new ride with Red Bull KTM with a positive mindset. He learned to shut out the noise.

In 2019, he got a poor start to the season with a fifth in the opener at Anaheim and a 10th the next week in Glendale, Arizona. But when he got his first win of the season in Anaheim 2, more quickly followed. He won four of the next seven races and finished second twice. By the end of the season, Webb was well out front and his 35-point advantage over Ken Roczen this time was the largest in the past several years.

Webb has become the odd man in.

“Yeah, as you said I’m the odd-year guy,” Webb told NBC Sports this week on media day in Raymond James Stadium as he straddled his bike and waited to make a few laps on select portions of the track. “I’m feeling good. I feel like we’re in a good spot. You know, last weekend was a little tough, but had a great week this week.

“The bottom line is it’s time to get that first one of the year and try to maximize our points and get back a little tighter in the hunt. But overall, we’re still a really good spot. It’s time to go racing.”

Even with his sweep of the top five, Webb knows there is a risk of losing sight of Tomac, who has won three of the first four races this season. Coming off last year’s incredible battle between Tomac and Chase Sexton in the Pro Motocross outdoor season, Webb is often the third rider mentioned in the chase, cementing his status as the odd man.

It bears noting that one is an odd number also.

Webb odd man
The track in Tampa features a long whoops section, sand along one of the rhythm lanes, and a Dragon’s Back. – Feld Motor Sports

This week, Webb feels he has a slight advantage. Originally hailing from North Carolina, Webb calls Clermont, Florida home now – a little more than 60 miles from Raymond James Stadium.

“This is Tampa,” Webb said. “They bring in the sand for the whole rhythm section every time we race here, so it’s definitely a little bit interesting. It looks like a good track so far. Also some, some weather in the air. Not sure how that’ll play a part tomorrow, but as of now the track looks really nice.

“Just driving here this morning was nice. I live in Florida full-time now, so just not having to get on a plane and sleeping in your own bed the night before is definitely a plus. Looking forward to the race. I’ve got a lot of friends and family coming, so vibes are hot – vibes are hot.”

Eli Tomac wins Seattle Supercross, ties Cooper Webb in championship points


In the past two weeks, Eli Tomac lost his momentum and with it the Monster Energy Supercross red plate to Cooper Webb, but a gutsy performance in Seattle gave him a sixth win of the season as he and the series heads into an off week tied. Tomac is currently tied in the points with Webb.

With this win, Tomac also ties James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list at 50 with six rounds remaining in 2023.

“I needed that bounce back,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It was almost like I was in a little bit of a slump in the past couple of weeks; just a little bit off. I’m feeling much better now. That track raced really cool. There were a lot of different lines out there.

“It was obviously very dicey early on. I got passed and then had to make those passes back.”

Tomac suffered with a stiff neck in Indianapolis two weeks ago when he lost the red plate to Webb for the first time in 2023. In that race, he scored his worst finish of the season in eighth. He lost more points in Detroit after finishing a distant third behind Chase Sexton and Webb. This is the fifth time this season that Tomac and Webb finished 1-2 in a race. Tomac has won them all, but Webb has been more consistent.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Seattle

Webb was disappointed to lose the ground to Tomac, but he will enter the Glendale, Arizona race with a red plate and a share of the points’ lead.

“It was overall a great night to get up front and get a second was great,” Webb said after the race. “Those few spots where I would get close to Eli and then make a mistake.

“The track was gnarly. It was no joke. It was cat and mouse as to who could ride the cleanest race and pick the line. I got off to a decent start, but Chase and Eli were ahead of me and I had some catchup to play and got into a good position.”

Early in the race, Sexton was indeed ahead of Webb and the remainder of the field. Another costly mistake sent Sexton to the ground. He battled back to finish fifth but is now 22 points out of the lead and in jeopardy of dropping out of championship contention unless Tomac and Webb have problems.

Rounding out the podium was Justin Barcia, who scored the third-place finish on his birthday

“Awesome ride,” Barcia said. “It was a lot of fun. I’m sure we kept the fans on their feet tonight. The track was gnarly. […] We’re searching; we’re so close to having that speed. We want it so badly. We’ll keep pushing hard and going for that win.”

Sexton’s mistake kept the three top points’ earners of 2023 from sharing the podium for the sixth time in 11 rounds, but the trio finished 1-2-3 in Heat 2 with Webb first, Sexton second and Tomac third.

The 250 West contenders were back in action after giving the last four rounds over to the East riders and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left off in Oakland: In Victory Lane. Lawrence scored his fourth win in five 250 West rounds. Last week his brother Hunter Lawrence tied Jett with 10 wins, but everyone knew it would not take long for Jett to regain the advantage.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but one race each in their respective divisions.

Lawrence rode a patient race in the Main. He settled in behind Stylez Robertson and concentrated on navigating the ruts mistake-free. He could not afford to be patient any longer when Cameron McAdoo caught up to the leaders. Lawrence found a second gear and gapped the battle for second.

An incident in their main made the battle between Lawrence and McAdoo more dramatic. While racing for second, the pair of riders ran out of room in the rhythm section. Both crashed but had a large enough lead over fourth to maintain their positions.

“It was a very eventful day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’s Daniel Blair, answering a question about the earlier contact. “[…] It’s good to be back racing. It’s been a while. I feel like I’ve had another offseason. Glad to get out in one piece tonight.”

Lawrence now has a 23-point advantage over the field with four rounds remaining.

Click here for full 250 Main Results

RJ Hampshire finished second in his race and is second in the points after a seesaw affair that produced the final pass for position just before the white flag was displayed.

“I felt like I had a pretty good pace going for a little bit,” Hampshire said. “I closed the gap and then had a couple of big mistakes that almost put me on my head. I backed it off a little bit.

“Cam actually gapped me a little more than I would have wanted. I knew I could get a push there at the end. I thought that was the last lap, which is why my pass was a little more aggressive than it should have been, but I’m stoked to be able to close the gap a little bit.”

McAdoo took the final spot on the podium. This is the fourth time in 2023 these three riders have shared the box and if not for a sixth-place finish in Anaheim 2, he would be mounting a much more formidable challenge for the points’ lead.

“The track was really demanding tonight,” McAdoo said. “It did change a lot and the key thing was to get off the rhythms every time. We were swapping back and forth.”

Enzo Lopes in fourth and Max Vohland rounded out the top five.

Robertson had the early lead but when he lost the top spot to Jett he cross rutted on the next lap, crashed hard and failed to finish.

2023 Race Recaps

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: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: 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: Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

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