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Supercross: Eli Tomac protected points lead with risk-free race

Cooper Webb broke his winless streak in the 450 in Tampa while Hunter Lawrence used a dramatic last-lap pass to win the 250.

Eli Tomac rode a risk-free race to protect his points lead, according to the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team, on his way to a fifth-place finish in the Tampa Supercross race. Tomac retained the red plate with a two-point lead over Chase Sexton in second and four over Tampa’s winner Cooper Webb.

During the race, Tomac never pressed the issue with other riders, finishing third in his heat before the main modest showing. Tomac was as low as seventh at the start of the feature, moved his way into fifth by Lap 5, and then he settled into position.

Daytona Supercross

“It was a bit of an off day for my riding,” Tomac said in a press release. “I struggled with finding a comfort zone during the night show, with the conditions being on the edge of slick and decent traction. Overall we learned a lot about those conditions for the future, and I’m happy to still have the points lead.”

The Tampa track design incorporated a long sand section and Dragon’s Back as features not yet used in the first four races of 2023. Along with rainy conditions off and on throughout the race, the riders faced several challenges.

Tomac’s risk-free race maintained the points’ lead, but would not have without a crash by Sexton with four laps remaining. Riding in the lead at the time of his incident, Sexton would have held a one-point advantage had he won.

“It was a good day, overall, even though the results don’t show it,” said Jeremy Coker, Yamaha Star Racing Team Manager. “The track was tough with the sand, and then obviously, there was an extra element with the rain before the night show. It just added a little trickiness to it, and Eli wasn’t super comfortable with the soil out there. It’s just one of those nights where it was better not to risk it and bring it home where we did and keep the points lead.

“So, we’ll go to work this week and make some changes to the bike to get him a little more comfortable and come back swinging for Oakland.”

Tomac’s teammate Justin Cooper finished seventh for the second time in back-to-back races in his debut. Cooper will run selected rounds in the 450cc class since he is no longer eligible to race in 250s.