Supercross

Eli Tomac And Hunter Lawrence On Top At First Triple Crown in Arizona

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With his victory in Glendale, Eli Tomac has won five of the nine Monster Energy AMA Supercross Triple Crown events. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.

Eli Tomac took the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450 class overall win in front of 54,781 screaming fans inside State Farm Stadium at the first Triple Crown race of the season while Hunter Lawrence topped the podium in the 250 class.

The unique three-race format combines results to award single-event championship points. Tomac’s victory made him the season’s first repeat winner in an intensely close title battle. Malcolm Stewart took home second place. It marked his first podium of 2022 and also his career-first Triple Crown podium finish. Chase Sexton earned third overall in his first 450SX Class Triple Crown event thanks to a win in the final Main Event. In the Western Regional 250SX Class, Australian Hunter Lawrence took his first win of the season with consistent 2-1-2 finishes inside the first football stadium venue of 2022.

When the 450SX Class dropped the gate on the ninth-ever Triple Crown format race, Tomac shot out of the gate and holeshot the field in Race 1. From there he built over a three-second lead that held to the checkers. Ken Roczen held second early but had Jason Anderson and Malcolm Stewart on his tail. Two minutes into the 12-minute plus one lap race, Stewart pushed past Anderson for third. Further back, round three winner Chase Sexton was in the mix but two tip-overs relegated him to an eleventh place finish. With less than three minutes on the race clock Anderson, then back in third, pushed cleanly past Roczen. Stewart moved around the Honda rider soon after to wrap the top five in Race 1 as Tomac, Anderson, Stewart, Roczen, and Marvin Musquin.

Eli Tomac repeated his holeshot in 450SX Class Race 2. The Yamaha rider led with Anderson, Cooper Webb, Musquin, and Sexton on his rear fender. In the early laps, Stewart took over third place while defending champion Webb dropped back steadily, eventually finishing in eighth. Tomac rode perfectly and quickly distanced himself from any pressure for the lead spot. Just before the race’s midpoint Jason Anderson got slightly off-line on a launch and jumped off the track in a long rhythm section. He twisted his bike’s levers and got it hung up on a Tuffblox. It dropped Anderson outside of the top ten. Dylan Ferrandis was the rider on the move late in the race, reaching fifth by the end, displacing Roczen to sixth. Anderson climbed back to twelfth by the finish.

Malcolm Stewart made his first podium appearance of the season with second overall after scoring a 3-2-4 night. Photo: Align Media

In the final race of the night, Sexton rocketed out to the holeshot and quickly built a lead just out of reach of the battles behind him. Stewart sat second with Tomac in third, in a position to take his fifth Triple Crown overall win if things held where they were. Anderson was the rider on the move early, pushing past other racers until he forced a three-rider battle for second place. With just over five minutes left on the clock, Tomac pushed into second, but Anderson charged past both Stewart and Tomac to take over the spot and set his sights on Sexton, who was 4.2 seconds ahead on the track. Anderson wasn’t able to track down the Honda rider, costing him a podium finish. It was Anderson’s first Triple Crown event in which he did not leave with podium-position points.

“The win means a lot to me and puts us in a great spot for points position in the championship,” Tomac said. “My motorcycle was just so good the whole day, especially in the first two mains. My game plan was to go out and really just try to get the first race win and really set the tone for the night. It’s really important with the Olympic scoring that they use for these events. So in my mind, I knew I wanted to go out and win the first one and try to back it up. Obviously, we wanted to get all three, but I didn’t get the holeshot as I did in the others. I just felt good and had a good ride tonight in front of the home crowd. I’m not sure how many ended up down here, but we had a lot of people from my hometown, and of course, that makes it special.”

For Malcolm Stewart, it has been a long hard road but his first podium was one to savour.

“This is my first-ever podium for a Triple Crown and I’m beyond stoked,” Stewart said.” I can’t thank the whole team enough. We’ve all been grinding and we’re starting to see things pay off and I think this only builds more momentum for everybody.”

This was Chase Sexton’s first 450SX Triple Crown event, and it marked the sixth premier-class indoor podium result of his career.

Chase Sexton took home good points with third overall, helped by a first-place result in the last of the three motos.

“The first race was definitely not pretty,” Sexton said. “I actually did the exact same thing when I was a rookie in the 250 class, in my first Triple Crown — got a good start and I think I crashed like three times. I was hoping not to replicate that, but I was having a hard time with the track and all day I was pretty much off. The second race I felt like I had a little bit more of a flow, and then the third race I pulled the holeshot and tried to sprint away. I was actually having fun again; it was nice being out front, able to control it. Obviously, Eli didn’t have to win, so I knew that going in, but I just wanted to go out there and put my best foot forward, and I feel like that’s what I did. Any time you cross the finish line first, it gives you a bit of confidence. I felt like tonight I proved to myself that I can rebound and get back in it. It gave me a little boost of confidence, and now going into next week, it just makes everything easier.”

Western Regional 250SX Class

Hunter Lawrence has been on every 250SX Class podium in 2022. Inside State Farm Stadium he grabbed his first top spot of the season. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.

The Western Regional 250SX Class racing was equally intense. Hunter Lawrence grabbed his first win of the year after landing on the podium at each prior round. He earned the top spot in Glendale through similar consistency with 2-1-2 finishes in each of the 10-minute plus one lap races.

Points leader Christian Craig won races 1 and 3 nearly unchallenged from start to finish, but his second race was a wild one. After Craig took over the lead on the opening lap, Vince Friese collided with him in the sand section. The impact sent Craig sailing off the track and into the stadium’s field barriers. Craig’s charge to fourth in that race, salvaging an overall podium finish. Jo Shimoda rounded out the night’s top three with 5-3-3 finishes. It was Shimoda’s first podium finish of the year.

“Great weekend here in Arizona! I had no idea what to expect going into it because it was my first Triple Crown,” Lawrence said. “It was exciting with the three races, but at the same time, I thought it was going to be tougher on the endurance side of things – it was really just three sprints. We worked on starting our day better, and we did so, going P1 in both qualifying sessions, and then winning the overall was awesome. It’s weird when you go 2-1-2; right off I didn’t feel like I actually won it because of the moto scores, but it was a crazy night. We ended up staying out of trouble for all three races, which rewarded us well! Massive thanks to the team! I’m looking forward to next weekend. Obviously, I want to do it on a proper night as well – and I want to get a holeshot!”

Christian Craig earned two main event wins and executed an inspired comeback to score second overall (1-4-1) 

“It was a crazy day for sure,” runner up Christian Craig said of the day. “I always like these Triple Crowns because I feel like I’m good at that format with the shorter races and being able to sprint away. After the first one, I was smiling because I felt like this could be a sweep and extend my points lead. I think everyone saw what happened in the second main – I got taken out by another rider. I was really mad about it, pretty sour actually, just because of where it happened and how it happened. I had to rebound from that and somehow got back to fourth from last. Then I got back out there for the last one and pulled the holeshot, and got another win. The 1-4-1 wasn’t quite enough for the overall win, but we’re close, and I think I put a stamp on how I’m riding. So I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Jo Shimoda made the most of a three-race Triple Crown format earning his first podium of the season. Each race he lined up for only got better, coming away with a 5-3-3 score to finish third overall.

Jo Shimoda was relieved to be back on the podium with third place.

“It felt like a long time coming but we put it all together,” said Shimoda.”The three races are often tough but it paid off for us. I am hoping this is a starting point for us to gain some momentum as the season continues on.”

The series heads back into California for Round 6 and Anaheim 3, the last round of the initial West Coast swing. It will also mark the final Western Regional 250SX Class series event before that class takes a five-week break for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class series to kick off.

450SX Class Results
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
2 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
5 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
6 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
7 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
8 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
9 Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
10 Shane McElrath, Oakland, Fla., KTM

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (111)
2 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (100)
3 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (96)
4 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (93)
5 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (89)
6 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (88)
7 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (80)
8 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (80)
9 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (75)
10 Aaron Plessinger, Leesburg, Fla., KTM (67)

Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2 Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha
3 Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
4 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha
5 Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda
6 Jalek Swoll, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
7 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha
8 Carson Brown, Ravensdale, Wash., KTM
9 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS
10 Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (122)
2 Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (114)
3 Michael Mosiman, Minneaola, Fla., GASGAS (99)
4 Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (87)
5 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (79)
6 Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda (76)
7 Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha (64)
8 Carson Brown, Ravensdale, Wash., KTM (55)
9 Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Suzuki (55)
10 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (54)

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