Eli Tomac wins Supercross Round 2, Jett Lawrence takes first 250 victory
Patience and experience paved the way for Eli Tomac to score his 35th career victory Tuesday night in Houston, Texas in Round 2 of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season.
Last Saturday, Tomac struggled out of the gate in Round 1 on Saturday and was never able to make up the deficit. Determined not to have two bad rounds in a row, he launched quickly in the Main after finishing fourth in his heat and settled into third.
Experience told him to be content to ride there for a time as he watched as first his teammate Adam Cianciarulo fall from second-place three minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap timed race. A minute later, the leader Chase Sexton experienced trouble in the same location and handed the lead to Tomac.
Tomac led the remainder of the race - the first ever held on a Tuesday. It was not easy, however. Zach Osborne closed to within one second before he also took a trip to the dirt and fell down the order.
“I was mostly in my own world,” Tomac said after the race. “It was tough up front. It was wild to see two crashes in the same spot. That sand, it was almost as if there was a little edge that was coming up out of the sand that was hiding under there and I think it bit both Chase and Adam.
“So that was a bit of a gift that way, but after that it was a matter of maintaining.”
POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Tuesday in Supercross
“Saturday was pretty scary for the points chase there, so tonight there was no choice but to rebound to stay in this fight,” Tomac said. “The start there was huge for us. I moved outside for the main and it paid off. I was able to sweep around the outside.
“The two guys in front of me, Chase and Adam were laying down the laps - burner pace. I knew it would be a long race.”
Both Cianciarulo and Sexton buried their bikes in the sand section of the track while trying to balance the need to keep their front wheel up and slow sufficiently to navigate the tricky section.
Dylan Ferrandis scored his first podium finish in only his second 450 start, but he didn’t make it look easy - or pretty.
Ferrandis built a reputation for being aggressive in the 250 class in part by making contact with his rivals while passing from the inside. In Round 2 at Houston, he made his most daring passes for position on the outside, getting squirrelly several times, but keeping a firm grip on his Yamaha.
Ferrandis had to claw his way forward after completing the first two laps mid-pack in 10th.
“I can’t believe I’m here,” Ferrandis said. “I’m not supposed to be here. I never expected that.”
Ferrandis’ strong finish puts him only one point behind Ken Roczen, who finished Round 2 in fifth.
Justin Brayton earned his first podium finish in three years.
“These are hard to come by,” Brayton said. “Thirty-six, almost 37 - that just proves right there age is just a number.”
Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen provided one of the best races within the race as they battled for fifth.
With time running off the clock, Webb swept around Roczen who was seemingly content with fifth and enough points to retain the championship lead.
Sand claimed several riders throughout the night. In addition to Cianciarulo and Sexton who fell out of podium positions, Marvin Musquin and Joey Savatgy went down in this tricky segment of the course.
Sexton and Savatgy were unable to continue and both limped off the track under their own power. After high-siding and hitting the front of a ramp hard, Sexton favored his right wrist.
It was not all bad news for Sexton, however; he scored his first heat win of the season.
Osborne put the most pressure on Tomac, but once the gap closed to a little more than a second, Tomac found another gear.
After the race, four riders were judged to have jumped through a section with a red cross flag. Per AMA Rule 4.16.E.9.C, Roczen, Jason Anderson, Vince Friese and Martin Davalos have been docked the loss of championship points and purse equal to two positions for that race, plus an additional two points.
It didn’t take long for Jett Lawrence to live up to his hype in 250 SX East this season. In the eighth race of his career and the second of the season, Lawrence took the lead early and rode away from the field.
Lawrence established himself as a rider to beat early by winning the first heat race of his career when he beat Christian Craig and RJ Hampshire in Heat 2.
“I’ve known I had it in me for a while,” Lawrence said. “But they say ‘when is it going to happen? Is it going to click together tonight?’ And tonight was that night.”
The battle for second was intense for the entire Main. Hampshire held the position while Austin Forkner wanted it. Forkner made an aggressive move on Hampshire and blindsided his rival. Both riders hit the dirt, handing the runner-up position to last week’s winner Craig.
Craig ultimately lost the spot to Colt Nichols and finished third, but a pair of podiums gives Craig the points lead and one of the best starts of his career.
Forkner had a long night.
In his heat, he was ridden off course when Kevin Moranz failed to navigate the first turn. Forkner fell to the back and was forced to charge through the field to finish fourth. Another fall in the main sent him home sixth.
ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time