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Supercross: Eli Tomac outduels Cooper Webb, has commanding lead

Ricky Carmichael and Ralph Sheheen recap Round 13 at Salt Lake City where Chase Sexton won the 250SX and Eli Tomac edged Cooper Webb in the 450SX, and also preview Round 14.

Eli Tomac fended off a furious last-lap charge by Cooper Webb to win Sunday’s Round 13 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at muddy Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With his seventh 450 main event victory of the season, Tomac moved into a tie with Ryan Dungey for sixth on the all-time Supercross win list with 34.

“When I got past halfway, I was like I do not want to let this thing go,” Tomac told NBCSN. “I was feeling so good and comfortable at that point, there was no reason to take it a level down there.”

POINTS, RESULTS: Click here for where everyone finished in Round 13

Tomac took the lead from Webb for the first time 8 minutes into the 20-minute event, but Webb reclaimed first a couple of minutes later on a course that was a bog after a daylong rain.

Tomac, who led a race-high 12 laps, took the lead for good with two and a half minutes with a nifty triple combination through the rhythm section and then picked his way through lapped riders on the last lap as Webb got a wheel alongside.

“That was the make or break for me; the lappers were unbelievable,” Tomac said of his winning move. “We passed each other once or twice in the whoops there. That was a great battle. Really fun, though. The track had some huge character so great day for the Monster Energy Kawasaki.”

Webb narrowly missed his second consecutive victory after outdueling Tomac in Round 12.

“Sucks I got second but man, it was a battle from Lap 1 until the last lap,” Webb said. “The conditions were tricky, and the lappers were gnarly. We’d catch one and one would go one way, one would go the other. A lot of it came down to that.

“We hit a few lappers, just trying to get going. Just seemed like one lap I might get them right, one lap he might get them right, but we were really pushing hard. That was a fun race even though I got beat. Man, it was cool to run up there. I’m sure if the fans were here, they would have been loving it.”

Tomac increased his championship lead over Ken Roczen (a disappointing 10th Sunday after getting lapped twice) to 26 points -- a full race’s worth -- with four main events remaining in the season.

Webb is ranked third, 32 points behind.

Cooper Webb mud

Rich Shepherd

“We’ll try to get that top spot Sunday,” the defending series champion said. “Eli’s riding really well. We’re right there. Hopefully we can take advantage of a win later on.”

Jason Anderson finished third, followed by Zach Osborne and Malcolm Stewart.

“I’m happy to be up (on the podium),” Anderson, the 2018 champion, told NBCSN. “I feel I’m getting a little bit better and closer to old form. My headspace is a little better as far as the racing goes. I’m just trying to keep building and building. But those front two guys waxed me, so I need to work on some stuff and hopefully come out in the next round. Think it’ll be a little drier in the next race.”

In the 250 class, Chase Sexton took advantage of a second chance to score his third victory of the season and reclaim the points lead over Shane McElrath.

On the initial start, Sexton nearly claimed the holeshot but went off course in the first turn and lost the lead to McElrath. Sexton lost a few more spots after running into Enzo Lopes and falling down, but then the race was red-flagged because of a hard crash for Garrett Marchbanks.

Under Supercross rules, the race was restarted because fewer than three laps had been completed.

McElrath, who had won the past two events to move into a tie with Sexton in the standings, took the holeshot this time but collided with Coty Schock just past the halfway point of the 20-minute race.

Sexton snatched the lead and led the rest of the way to open up a three-point lead on McElrath.

“Shane’s been on a roll, and I’ve been making a lot of mistakes out here,” Sexton told NBCSN. “I got a gift with that red flag. Honestly, I was being way too impatient with the opening corners of the first race.

SX mud

Rich Shepherd

“At the red flag, I said, ‘Man, I’ve got to win here. This is my race.’ I felt really good all day. I lost my front brake halfway through that main event and running into the lappers, it was bad out there. I felt really good. Just waiting behind Shane. I knew I was faster in the whoops. Just waiting for a moment to take it. He ended up making a mistake, so it was good.”

McElrath was able to remount his bike and hung on for second place.

“It was a tough day,” McElrath told NBCSN. “To come out with a second, obviously, it sucks to have fell while leading, and I ripped both holeshots, but overall it was a struggle earlier. We rebounded. We’ll get ready for next Wednesday. I’m happy with my effort and ready to go.”

Colt Nichols finished third in a race that was marked by a driving rain storm that began shortly after the red flag. “It was tough; the rain just came on and destroyed the track,” Nichols told NBCSN. “Chase made us all look silly.”

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Burning issues as Supercross restarts

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

  • 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).