Eli Tomac wins Supercross Triple Crown Round 5; Hunter Lawrence gets first in 250s
For the ninth time in Monster Energy Supercross history, the series used the Triple Crown format in Glendale, Ariz. and Eli Tomac won under this system for the fifth time after emerging victorious in the first two races and finishing third in the final event of Round 5.
The criticism on Tomac throughout his career has been directed at slow starts. That was not an issue in Glendale as he earned the holeshot in the first two races and then lead start to finish in those motos. Tomac did not sweep the starts, but came out of the first turn in third in Race 3. Tomac climbed as high as second in the final race before settling into the rhythm that gave him the overall victory.
“Good execution through the rut after the gate.” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien after Race 2. “That’s where I feel I’m getting it tonight; I’m really good after the gate, the first few feet there and then making a good shift. It’s this big fast straightaway and my bike is hauling the mail tonight.”
With five Triple Crown overall victories, Tomac stands head and shoulders above the competition. Cooper Webb has two wins under this format. Jason Anderson and Ken Roczen have one apiece.
“We just put ourselves in such good position in the first two (races),” Tomac said at the end of the night. “Obviously the first one was a holeshot, and I’m like ‘alright, let’s do this again.’ And I did it again in Moto 2. I had a little wheelie in Moto 3, but it was such a fun night of riding and racing.”
Malcolm Stewart finished a career-best second overall with consistency. He finished 3-2-4 and easily outpaced the third-place contender Chase Sexton and fourth-place Anderson who each scored two podiums in the three races.
“This is my first ever podium for a Triple Crown and I’m beyond stoked,” Stewart said.
Sexton and Anderson had one poor race each. Sexton fell twice in Race 1 and finished 11th. He rebounded for a third in the second moto and earned the holeshot and victory in Race 3.
That gave him one point on Anderson, who finished off the overall podium for just the first time in the Triple Crown format.
Anderson’s undoing was Race 2 when he crashed hard after failing to execute a triple. Anderson got hung up on a Tuff Blox while running second and lost 30 seconds trying to extricate his bike. He finished 12th in that race.
Ken Roczen, who swept the Triple Crown races on this track in 2020 and is the only rider to do so, rounded out the top five with a best finish of fourth in Race 1.
Hunter Lawrence scored his first 250 win and did so after riding with consistency. Finishing second in the first moto and winning Race 2 put him in a position where he could dictate the outcome in the final event of the night. He didn’t need to win that race, but could not fall any further back than second as Christian Craig was only two points behind him when the gate dropped.
Lawrence credited the energy of the crowd for his win.
“We work our butts off for nights like this, and as good as I feel, in all honesty I’ve got to give it up to the crowd,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “For the past two years with Covid, it sucked without everyone (in the stands). It’s awesome. The crowd was electric.”
Craig finished second, but felt the night was taken from him after an overly aggressive pass attempt by Vince Friese in Race 2 almost knocked him out of the park. Friese divebombed Craig early in that race in the sand section and propelled Craig off his bike, over the Tuff Blox and into a metal door.
“I believe in my ability to win, so when something gets taken away from you that’s not in your control with another rider: that one stings,” Craig said after the race. “Especially with how I was riding tonight. A win was within reach.”
The measure of a champion is how he reacts to adversity. After getting cleaned out by Friese, Craig was able to climb back to fourth at the end of Race 2, but that was enough to open the door for Lawrence.
Craig’s misfortune in the middle race also created an opportunity for Michael Mosiman, who was trying to mount a comeback after crashing on Lap 1 of Race 1 and finishing 10th.
Mosiman rebounded to finish second to Lawrence in Race 2, but disaster struck as time was running off the clock in the final moto. Mosiman missed the landing on a tabletop and crashed hard. He limped back to his bike and finished 15th, but the combined score in the Triple Crown left him ninth overall and dropped him to 23 points behind Craig in the standings.
Jo Shimoda swept the top five and finished third overall.
Garrett Marchbanks finished fourth overall with a 4-6-6 as Friese rounded out the top five with a 3-10-4.
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