Cooper Webb stalked Chase Sexton throughout the Tampa Supercross race and with Eli Tomac’s also struggling Saturday night, the results show a tightening of the points as Webb won his first race of 2023 and Sexton finished second.
Webb grabbed the holeshot, but Sexton quickly completed the pass and led Lap 1 after another dominant heat performance. Sexton would be forgiven for thinking he could ride away from the pack. He couldn’t; Webb stayed close enough to him during the 25-lap race to increase the pressure.
On Lap 21, the pressure finally blew. Riding a deteriorating line through the whoops, Sexton lost grip, began to swerve and could not hang on. He hit the ground with four to go. The pair of riders had enough of a lead that he hung onto the runner-up position.
RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Main Results; Click here for 250 Main Results
Last week Aaron Plessinger had one of his best rides of the season. He challenged Tomac in the opening laps at Houston until a red flag and staggered start allowed Jason Anderson to sweep past. Once out of contention for the win, Plessinger admitted to losing motivation and fell to fourth. He was still bitterly disappointed to miss out on the podium. He righted that wrong in Tampa to get his first Supercross podium since Oakland in Round 2 of last year.
Ken Roczen struggled in Texas last week to finish eighth. He recovered in Tampa to finish fourth and earn his fourth top-five in five races in 2023. If Tomac, Sexton, and Webb get distracted with their battle, Roczen, currently fifth in points, could strike.
Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier
As for Tomac, he struggled for the second time this season. It was a low point in what may be the start of a rollercoaster ride. After crashing hard two weeks ago in one of the Anaheim 2 Triple Crown features, he won his third race of 2023 in Houston.
That momentum didn’t last. Tomac looked uncomfortable enough on his bike that he did not want to press the issue in his heat when he was challenged by Plessinger. In the Tampa Main, he got a poor start in seventh, moved up two positions by Lap 5, but once he was in fifth, his momentum stalled. He stalled out and with the fifth-place finish, Tomac’s points’ lead is down to two over Sexton and four over Webb.
Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart
For most of the 250 East Main, Hunter Lawrence must have believed he would be forced to settle for whatever the race handed him.
Lawrence had a modest start that landed him sixth at the end of the first lap. It took a long while to work his way through the field. But as he did so, he slowly reeled in race leader Nate Thrasher until he could see the leader on the same straightaway in the closing laps.
That was all it took. Over the last half dozen laps, the gap steadily shrunk, which set up one of the most dramatic finishes of the 250 season. Lapped traffic played a heavy role. Lawrence worked it slightly better than Thrasher and on the last lap, they made slight contact in each of the final two turns. Lawrence came out on top for his second win in two 250 East races.
Thrasher was disappointed to lose the race, but couldn’t be too upset because earlier in the night, he scored his first career heat win.
Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier
During the week, Max Anstie kept hearing questions about whether he could back up his podium in Houston with another in Tampa. That was incentive for the 29-year-old Brit to dig deep and answer in the affirmative. Anstie was 16 seconds behind the lead battle at the end, but now owns two podiums in his two-race 250cc career. Those strong runs put him second in the points eight behind Lawrence.
Another rider with questions reverberating around him is Danger Boy Haiden Deegan. He finished fourth in his 250 debut at Houston. He was just as surprised by the result as anyone else. Before the Tampa race, he told NBC Sports that he did not have any expectations. There was no pressure to bak up his top-five Houston run. With the weight off his shoulders, he finished fourth for a second consecutive week.
Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart
Jeremy Martin rounded out the top five for the second time this season in the 250 East division. Coming off injury in 2022, he now has four consecutive top-fives to his credit.
Tom Vialle improved one position from his Houston Supercross results and finished sixth in Tampa. It hasn’t taken long for the European newbie to acclimate to the tight confines of the stadium series.
Race 4: Eli Tomac, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win
2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings
Week 4: Eli Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s