Eli Tomac grabbed a historic sixth Daytona Supercross win with a dramatic late-race pass for the lead at Round 9 of the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series while Jett Lawrence took home the 250SX class win.
After leading most of the race, Cooper Webb went home matching his best finish of 2022 with a second-place spot. Chase Sexton ran upfront with a steady ride that earned him the final podium position. In Round 3 of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Jett Lawrence dominated the field, taking home the win at his first Daytona Supercross appearance and breaking the points tie to become the sole red plate holder in the class.
Cooper Webb shot out of the gate with a decisive Holeshot in the 450SX Class Main Event. The race excitement spiked down the first rhythm lane as Malcolm Stewart jumped into second place. Next, Tomac attempted to cut under Stewart in turn two. Jason Anderson came in hot under both riders and the three sandwiched together then split apart like billiard balls on a break. None went down as they scrambled to get back into the race. The incident put Anderson in second and Stewart behind him in third.
Just one corner later, in only the third corner of the race, Anderson cut across the sandy inside rut and collided with Stewart. This time both riders went down, nearly in a replay of the altercation between the two riders the weekend prior. From there Stewart and Anderson scrapped came together once more, and both hit the ground again as each tried to claw forward for points without giving quarter to the other.
Out front and ahead of the chaos, Cooper Webb put in precise laps on the deteriorating track and kept the #1 plate clean for most of the race. Chase Sexton hung behind him, matching Webb’s pace in the early laps of the race with Tomac just behind Sexton and Justin Barcia nearly in position to make a run for Tomac’s spot. Six and a half minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race the top three were barely separated by two seconds on a track notorious for forcing costly mistakes.
Then, with eleven and a half minutes on the clock, Tomac made his way past Sexton and set his sights on Webb. The gap alternately grew and shrank for several laps, often holding at less than a second between the top two riders as they weaved their way through lappers and contended with deepening ruts and growing bumps. On top of it all, Tomac’s bike started spitting smoke from its engine overflow tube, often an indication of an overheating clutch.
With 45 seconds left on the clock, Webb was cut off by a lapper and Tomac was in the perfect position to seize the moment. From there Tomac eased out of striking distance from a re-pass by Webb and took his Yamaha to a historic sixth victory at the Daytona Supercross, more than any rider in the venue’s 52-year history.
“It’s unbelievable to get win number six, and it was everything I wished for!” Tomac said. “It was a tough day, though. I was having a little bit of a tough time with the track earlier in the day, but once the lights came on, it was like I flipped a switch, and it was game on. Me and Cooper (Webb) rode wire-to-wire for most of the race. We were going back and forth around the different parts of the track on being the better guy, and I was able to capitalize on him being stuck behind a guy and made the move. I put myself in the position for that move, though, and just went on from there. It was such a cool night for us.”
Webb came close to the win but lady luck didn’t deal him a good hand with a lapper but he was satisfied with his efforts and second place on the podium
“Man, I was so close to getting the win, I could taste it,” Webb reflected. “I rode great the whole time and I felt like I rode strong, I knew Eli was coming because he’s so good here. I should have maybe anticipated a little bit better but it’s definitely a bummer when a race is decided – or goes that close – and a lapper gets involved but it’s racing. Overall, I’m happy but it sucks. I knew how hard I needed to push to go the distance but it happens, I guess. We’ll come back next week and try to get that first win of the season.”
After a couple of weeks absence from the podium Chase Sexton was glad to be at last taking home some silverwear again.
“That’s the gnarliest track I’ve raced at since I went to the big class – definitely a different animal! I didn’t really have that great of a start, but I kind of made my way to where I needed to be,” Sexton explained. “I felt like I was going good at the beginning, and then the track broke down. [Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb] kind of stayed the same, and I got a little bit worse; I just wasn’t really flowing. Eli got by me and then [Justin] Barcia was behind me. In the middle of the race I started riding a little bit better; I started finding a little bit of a flow and started clicking off decent laps. I’m happy to be back on the podium after a few rougher weeks.”
Eastern Regional 250SX Class
The Eastern Regional 250SX Class also delivered amazing racing. Stilez Robertson captured the Holeshot but Jett Lawrence was into the lead before they’d reached the second turn. Midway into the first lap, Lawrence was already pulling a gap on the field, Robertson held strong in second, and Enzo Lopes sat third. Cameron McAdoo, last year’s winner and sitting tied for the points lead, ran outside the top five but was on the move. The battle for the final podium spot was dramatic for the duration of the race with Phil Nicoletti, RJ Hampshire, and Pierce Brown having a throwdown battle that alternately saw each rider making moves forward amid their group. When the night dust settled McAdoo had secured the final podium spot behind Lawrence and Robertson.
“Even apart from winning, I think the first time here at Daytona is just a great experience to have, with the fans being right there,” Lawernce said. “It’s as close as we get to feeling like a NASCAR race; it’s even in the same area, although we might not be going as fast. I can say that as a kid, I was always dreaming of riding the Daytona track, and today topped it off with a win. The bike’s been feeling very forgiving and wanting to go fast, which is nice. Stilez [Robertson] was right there for a long time in the main; I could see him out of the corner of my eye, and it was keeping me focused. I’m pretty pumped to get the win. It was definitely a nice, calm weekend – a lot better than last weekend; at least I can go to sleep easier tonight.”
For Stilez Robertson it was his first podium result of the season and now wants to keep on a roll.
“After the heat race, I came back and talked to the team and they really had my back and gave me some good motivation for the Main Event,” Robertson said. “I got a good start and Jett [Lawrence] got me through the first turn and I just tried to stay with him as long as I could and ended up really good. I’m super excited and can’t wait to keep it going!”
Cameron McAdoo minimized any championship damage with a solid third and is now looking ahead.
“It was a pretty tough day overall, so to get on the podium feels really good,” said McAdoo. “I had some issues with comfort and really gelling with the track. I ended up bumping my knee in the heat and it was pretty painful, but I gave it my all tonight. The track was tough with a lot of those switchbacks and it made it pretty tough to pass. It was a hard fight, but we were able to minimize the damage with a podium.”
The Supercross series heads north to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan for more of what’s already proven to be a wild and exciting season for both classes.
450SX Class Results
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
2 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
4 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
5 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
6 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
7 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
8 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
9 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
10 Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (203)
2 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (185)
3 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (170)
4 Malcolm Stewart, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (164)
5 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (163)
6 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (163)
7 Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (145)
8 Dylan Ferrandis, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (137)
9 Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (133)
10 Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna (110)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
2 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna
3 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki
4 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS
5 Enzo Lopes, Indian Trail, N.C., Yamaha
6 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
7 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna
8 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha
9 Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda
10 Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., Husqvarna
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (73)
2 Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (68)
3 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (52)
4 Enzo Lopes, Indian Trail, N.C., Yamaha (50)
5 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (47)
6 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (45)
7 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (42)
8 Phillip Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha (42)
9 RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (41)
10 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (39)