Eli Tomac took the win in front of 47,043 fans in a wild 450 class race that will be re-watched for years to come while Jett Lawrence made it back-to-back wins on the Eastern Regional 250SX Class.
At Ford Field Eli Tomac became the first rider in the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship to win three races in a row; he stretched his points lead to 42 after 10 rounds of the 17-round series. Malcolm Stewart rode a smart race to bring home a second-place finish, matching his career- and season-best result and moving into a tie for second place in the points. Justin Barcia finished in third after leading early. In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Australian Jett Lawrence took the win, his third of the season, and extended his points lead to eight just four rounds into the division’s championship.
After Cade Clason grabbed the holeshot, Justin Bogle jumped into the early lead in the 450SX Main Event with Marvin Musquin right behind. Bogle maintained the top spot through the early laps with Musquin close, Justin Barcia sitting third, Cooper Webb holding fourth, and Jason Anderson in fifth. Just over two minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Barcia pushed his way past Bogle. Anderson and Webb were by soon after that while Eli Tomac was up to sixth after a mid-pack start.
Less than five minutes in, Anderson got by Barcia in the whoops. A lap later it was Tomac passing in the whoops, this time blitzing past Webb for third place. One lap after that Tomac repeated the move on Barcia, putting him into second place. At the race’s midpoint Eli Tomac took over the lead, Anderson counterattacked from second, and Malcolm Stewart rounded out the top three.
The tacky, rutted track had created plenty of drama and crashes in the heat races and LCQs, and at this point in the race, it began to dramatically impact the racing and title points standings. Chase Sexton caught Cooper Webb. Then Webb shorted a jump out of a corner and Sexton landed on him. Both riders went down in a brutal tangle. Sexton was out, Webb slowly remounted and valiantly tried to ride laps with his left arm tucked against his chest. He was hurt but doing what he could to salvage points.
Shortly after, Anderson washed out his front end in a corner entrance. He remounted, then pulled off down the next straight after realizing he’d been too injured in the crash to continue.
Just a couple of laps later, Dylan Ferrandis ran into trouble and pulled out of the race. In the closing laps, Musquin made a charge for the final podium position, but the track got its final say in the results as Musquin washed out his front wheel in a bowl turn and lost his chance for a spot on the podium.
The chaotic race was a thriller, and one surely to be watched again and again over the years as one of those sporting events that stand out as a wild and unique race. It resulted in a huge mix-up in the points, granting Tomac a seemingly insurmountable lead. Only time will tell which riders will be recovered enough to line up on the gate next weekend at the Indianapolis Supercross.
Even if lady luck played a hand in Tomac’s win he was more than happy to accept the help.
“It was a wild night of racing overall and a great result for us,” Tomac said. “I had a good start down the first straight away but then got bumped in turn one and was shuffled back. From there I had to go to work. I had a good line on the right side of the whoops, which is where I was making the majority of my passes. I just felt good, and the motorcycle was great for how technical the track was. Once I got to the lead, I just kept pushing. After the halfway point, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – some of the best guys were down on the track, and it was a bummer to see. At that point, I just kept doing my thing and kept my focus, and that was it. It was a good night for the championship and another race win; we’ll keep pushing.”
Malcolm Stewart continued to boost his own confidence with another second place and is now on equal points in the second spot in the championship.
“I felt good all day. P1 in practice and in the heat race, I knew we had a good ball rolling,” Stewart said. “In the Main Event, I didn’t get the best start but I just really had to ride because it’s one of those tracks where it’s going to bite you at any time. I just started clicking off laps and I didn’t really want to put too much thought into it, I just wanted to get up there. Once I started seeing riders crash – like top-tier riders going down – it was kind of crazy but we ended up second and I’m thankful. Let’s just keep the momentum going!”
Riding with seven stitches in his hand Justin Barcia was happy to end the night on the podium.
“I had to dig beyond deep,” Barcia reflected. “I didn’t even think I was going to be racing tonight, to be honest. My hand is pretty destroyed, I had a practice crash and it’s scary looking, so I’m just happy to be here. My team did a great job tonight. Today was a test day for us because I wasn’t riding very good, so we did tons of changes and I had a great bike for the Main Event – it was the best start I’ve had all year. I had a lot of fun out there, it was carnage but I just rode a smart race and ended up on the podium, it was sick!”
Eastern Regional 250SX Class
When the gate dropped in the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Jett Lawrence was credited with the holeshot but Stilez Robertson jumped past into the lead. The two battled for the opening laps with Lawrence taking over the spot for good at the end of the first lap. Pierce Brown was next to get around Robertson with Cameron McAdoo getting past and into third before two minutes ticked off of the clock in the 15-minute plus one lap race.
At the race’s midpoint, Brown was slowly chipping away at Lawrence’s three-second lead. Then a lapped rider prevented Lawrence from jumping the finish line and Brown was on the Honda’s rear wheel. After some close battling Lawrence inched away as McAdoo caught Brown’s rear tire. With just over four minutes left on the clock, McAdoo took over second but wasn’t able to close on Lawrence. The finish extended Lawrence’s points lead to 8 after four rounds of the 9 round regional series.
“That one was really tricky,” Lawrence said after the win. “The track’s pretty tight and basic, but it got chewed up pretty gnarly, especially in those rhythms; it would catch you off guard now and then. It was a lot more difficult than our last couple of weekends. I felt like the times were really, really close, so the boys definitely kept me on my toes. Pierce [Brown] surprised me; normally every guy revs it in the air, but he was silent – scared the living daylights out of me on the inside [laughs]. The biggest thing was just making sure I clicked my lap times off and focused on myself because you never know when I make a silly mistake and one of these boys capitalizes on that. I had fun in that one. I’m very grateful, and hopefully, I can keep marching on.”
Cameron Mcadoo was happy with second and admitted that he needs to work on his starts.
“This is my first time racing here in Detroit and I’m happy with how the day went,” Mcadoo said. “We started on a strong note after finishing the first timed qualifying session with the fastest lap time and backed that up with a strong showing in my heat race. I really want to be battling for wins and know I have the speed to do so, I just need to work on getting better starts so I can be in the mix from early on. Overall, I’m proud of how I rode and am thankful I have such a strong team supporting me.”
Pierce Brown has been building up momentum through these first four rounds and tonight was the cherry on top with his first podium.
“Man, I had so much fun tonight, I really needed that! I’ve shown bits and pieces of speed and I finally showed I could put a full night together,” Brown said. “I love these Detroit fans! It’s my first time here and I love it, it’s so much fun. Stoked to put the GASGAS on the podium for the first time!”
The series now heads to Indianapolis for another exciting Saturday night of racing inside Lucas Oil Stadium on March 19th.
450SX Class Result
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
2 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
3 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
4 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
5 Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda
6 Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda
7 Shane McElrath, Oakland, Fla., KTM
8 Justin Bogle, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Suzuki
9 Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Suzuki
10 Cade Clason, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda
450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (229)
2 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (187)
3 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (187)
4 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (184)
5 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (173)
6 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (164)
7 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (164)
8 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (141)
9 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (133)
10 Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (119)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki
3 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS
4 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna
5 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
6 Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda
7 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha
8 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna
9 Enzo Lopes, Indian Trail, N.C., Yamaha
10 Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., Husqvarna
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (99)
2 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (91)
3 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (68)
4 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (67)
5 Enzo Lopes, Indian Trail, N.C., Yamaha (64)
6 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (63)
7 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (60)
8 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha (58)
9 Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda (50)
10 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (42)