Supercross Round 10: Another milestone in Detroit, Eli Tomac takes sole possession of fifth on winners list
Monster Energy Supercross Round 10 in Detroit was one for the books for Eli Tomac.
Just one week after winning a record-setting sixth Monster Energy Supercross race at Daytona, Florida, Tomac set another milestone by taking sole possession of fifth on the all-time winners list with his 42nd career victory, breaking a tie with Ryan Villopoto and landing three wins behind Chad Reed.
It was Tomac’s third straight win of 2022.
Tomac got off to a patented slow start, riding barely inside the top 10 at the end of Lap 1, but then meticulously made his way to the front at the halfway point after passing his principal rival in the championship battle, Jason Anderson, for the lead.
But drama waited in the wings.
After winning his heat, Tomac called this track “tricky.” As it turned out, that was a major understatement.
“That’s the way the track was tonight,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It was one of the tougher surfaces I’ve ever ridden or raced on because it had both conditions. It was sticky and hard in the rhythm sections, pulling you left and right. But then it had the base in some of the bottoms of the turns where you could lose your front end.”
And that is precisely what happened to Anderson in the closing laps. While running second, his front tire washed out and took him to the ground. He was not able to continue and lost even more ground to the points’ leader after getting docked a position and finishing ninth last week in Daytona, he was 21st Saturday night.
The biggest beneficiary of Anderson’s crash was Malcom Stewart. After contact between Anderson and Stewart in back-to-back races at Arlington, Texas and Daytona that drew a penalty last week, the two riders have publicly said the rivalry is over. But it is certain they want to beat one another on the track.
As chaos erupted behind him, Tomac rode a smart race at the end and allowed Stewart to close to withing 3.6 seconds for his second runner-up position of the season.
“I felt good all day,” Stewart said. “Detroit has treated me well. ... I’m beyond thankful to be up here again. I’ve been digging deep.”
With his second-place finish and the crash by Anderson, there is a tie for second place in the standings. Unfortunately for Stewart and Anderson, the deficit climbs to 42points.
“I didn’t even think I was going to be racing tonight,” third-place Justin Barcia said. “My hand is pretty destroyed.
“I had a practice crash and it’s scary looking. I look a bit zombie-ish. I’m just happy to be here.”
Marvin Musquin scored his fourth top-five of 2022 in fourth, as the ageless Justin Brayton got his first top-five of the season.
But the drama belonged to several riders who finished in the back of the pack. Moments before the Anderson crash, Cooper Webb cased a jump.
Webb might have saved his race, until he was hit in the helmet by Chase Sexton, who had no place to go once Webb slowed in the groove.
After getting clobbered by his own bike, and practically stripped of his jersey, Sexton was immediately done for the night.
But Webb rode one-handed until, with one minute left of the clock and nothing more to gain, he pulled off the track in 20th and snapped a three-race streak of podiums. Webb is fifth in the points with a 56-marker deficit to Tomac.
Jett Lawrence continued to dominate the 250 East class with his third win of the season and a perfect record of podium finishes. After sweeping his heat and feature last week in Daytona, he picked up where he left off and doubled-down again Saturday night.
As with Tomac, it took patience to get to the end. In his case, however, Lawrence had to tiptoe around other riders. His only serious challenge of the night came midway through his heat when Pierce Brown caught Lawrence as the two battled through lapped traffic,
“The lappers were gnarly,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “You really had to be patient and I didn’t want to get taken out by a lapper. That would be the worst night ever. I was taking my time. I didn’t want to rush is and make a mistake with the lappers. I got into a flow. I wasn’t trying to just gap everyone.”
In his third full Supercross season, Lawrence is gaining perspective, which is something that should make his competition nervous.
“I’m finally being smarter now; I can say it,” Lawrence continued. “I’m finally being mature a little bit more.
“I’m pretty harsh on myself sometimes with those mistakes. I get pretty frustrated, but plenty of people have told me a lot of champions will make the mistake once and not make them again, so I’m trying to make sure I learn that.”
Cameron McAdoo continues to be the poster child for consistency. Other than a sixth in his first heat race in the season-opener in Minneapolis, Minnesota, McAdoo has swept the podium in every event. He took the overall win in Arlington two weeks ago.
A bad start put him too far behind Lawrence to challenge for the lead, however.
“I need to put myself in a better position at the beginning of the race,” McAdoo said. “I can’t let (Lawrence) get away like that.”
Pierce Brown rounded out the podium after winning his heat in Detroit and barely missing the third step last week in Daytona with a fourth-place finish.
Coming off a crash last week, RJ Hampshire finished fourth.
In fifth, Jordon Smith had an eventful night. Well inside a transfer position in his heat, he was taken to the ground by another rider and fell outside the top 10. He remounted and charged through the field, but could only get to 10th in his heat. Forced into the LCQ, he won that race and challenged for a podium early in the feature.
ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener
ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season
ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins
ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead
ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown
ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins
ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac
ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features
ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record