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Supercross: Cooper Webb wins Round 12; Eli Tomac second

Ralph Sheheen and Ricky Carmichael recap Round 12 at Salt Lake and look ahead to the next Supercross event.

Defending series champion Cooper Webb kept his title defense hopes alive in the first Monster Energy AMA Supercross event held on a Wednesday night.

Webb passed Zach Osborne with 5 minutes remaining in the 450 main event and led the final seven laps to win Round 12 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With five races remaining, Webb remains ranked third but cut the gap to 29 points behind championship leader Eli Tomac, who took second from Osborne (third) late in the race.

RESULTS, POINTS: Where everyone finished in Round 12

It was the ninth career victory and second of the season for Webb, as well as the KTM rider’s first since a hard crash on the concrete in Arlington, Texas in February.

“We’ll see at the end of the year,” Webb told NBCSN when asked if he was back in the title fight. “But it was a great night overall. To get second off the start. Zach was really riding well at the beginning. I was just trying to put in some good laps. I could see Eli coming to catch us and knew I needed to get around him and try to break away.

“It was a tough race. Track conditions were tricky, you had to be patient. The whoops were tough. I just committed to my line, and it played out pretty well. Great night to get a win. These are not easily gained, especially with the top guys up here tonight. So I want to just soak it in, got five more (races this year).”

The runner-up finish allowed Tomac, who won Round 11, to extend his lead to 13 points over Ken Roczen, who finished fifth.

“I was fighting all I could there,” Tomac told NBCSN. “Tonight it was who was the man on the inside. Cooper got us there (at the start). I got a little bit shuffled back the first lap and then started moving forward.

“Other than that, Zach and Cooper had the pace tonight. So I did everything I could. Got close with two (laps) to go, made one mistake at end of rhythm section, and that was it. I lost all my hope (of a win) there. Good night. Kind of a wash on points for us. Keep trucking along.”

Osborne nabbed his second career podium after taking the holeshot and leading the first 20 laps.

“I’m happy but also a little disappointed to lead that long and let it get away there at the end,” he said. “Nice night here in Salt Lake. Looking forward to being here the next couple of weeks. It’s been an amazing trip so far.”

In the 250 East main event, Shane McElrath scored his second consecutive victory since Supercross’ return and moved into a tie with Chase Sexton for the points lead with five races remaining.

After finishing ahead of Colt Nichols and Jeremy Martin, McElrath celebrated by waving to the nonexistent crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium (where the grandstands will remain empty over the final seven rounds of 2020).

“We’ve got to make the fans feel like they’re here,” McElrath, who led 14 of 20 laps, told NBCSN. “We had a tough day all around. This track is tough but we did a lot of praying and focusing, and it was nice to come out like that.”

Sexton finished fourth, rebounding after falling on the first lap and dropping to 17th.

“I just washed the front,” he told NBCSN after sliding into a tie with McElrath at 140 points. “Yeah, that was about it. Came from pretty much dead last. We’re going to have to be better and get ready for Sunday.”

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Burning issues as Supercross restarts

NEXT: Here are the details for the remaining five rounds:

  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).