Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen grabbed the 450SX Class victory at Round 4, his first win of 2021, with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac right behind and round three winner Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb fighting his way to third in the Indianapolis Supercross.
In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Colt Nichols became the first repeat winner of the season in either class, backing up his Round 3 win with a dominating wire-to-wire victory.
Round two winner Eli Tomac grabbed the holeshot and looked to have the speed to run away with the win but when he washed out in a corner and hit the ground his Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate, Adam Cianciarulo, took over the lead spot.
The three top runners – Cianciarulo, Roczen, and Tomac – ran an exciting race, with the three riders competing within a second of each other. After multiple attacks, and often getting his front wheel past Cianciarulo’s rear wheel, Roczen made a clean pass into the lead right before the race clock ticked down to ten minutes in the 20-minute plus one lap event. Tomac got around Cianciarulo in the following corner and resumed chase of the Honda rider, but Roczen inched out a gap that reached three seconds before a mistake sent Roczen off the track. He re-entered just behind Tomac and in short order got back into the lead.
The riders hit the finish line marker with a single second on the clock, extending the race by an additional lap. Tomac remained right on Roczen but never got close enough to make a pass. Behind them, Cooper Webb moved through the field after a mid-pack start, nabbing the final podium spot from Cianciarulo in the whoops with under two minutes left on the race clock. Maybe the most impressive charge of the night, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne, moved up to finish in fifth after getting stuck in the starting gate and starting the race in last place.
Webb continued to get stronger as the race wore on and he kept his focus on landing in podium contention late in the race. With five laps to go, the 2019 450SX Champion made his move into third and he charged his way to the checkers for his second straight podium appearance in the first four rounds.
Webb:“I actually nailed my start in the Main Event but I got shuffled back in the first few turns. The leaders just got out front and they rode awesome. I kind of got buried in fifth and it was hard to make passes tonight, you had to be patient and wait for some mistakes. I dug deep, AC [Adam Cianciarulo] and I had a good battle at the end and I was able to get third place but you can’t give Ken [Roczen] and Eli [Tomac] that kind of track position and we saw what they did tonight.”
Looking for redemption after a tough night in Houston, Musquin came out with great intensity through the day’s qualifying sessions, where he raced his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to a second-place qualifying position. He got off to a second-place start in 450SX Heat 1 and he rode confidently to secure the second-place spot. In the Main Event, Musquin didn’t get off the line as quick as he wanted and as a result found himself mid-pack early on. Working his way through the pack, Musquin took an off-track excursion to avoid collision with another rider and he ended up going down, beginning the second lap in dead last. He fought his way up as high as ninth-place, but he found himself on the ground again later in the race and ultimately salvaged 10th place after a rollercoaster of a ride.
Musquin:“I felt really good with the bike all day and qualifying second was awesome. I was confident going into the Main Event and then waiting for the gate to drop, I think Adam [Cianciarulo] flinched, so I moved and the gate felt like it didn’t drop as quick as usual, which messed me up and my start was really bad. I tried to push as hard as I could on the first lap but it went from bad to worse – I had to jump off to the side of the track when a rider cross-jumped in front of me and I crashed again and lost more time. I put my head down and passed one guy at a time and I saw another opportunity to pass later in the race but I washed the front-end and went down again. I am super disappointed, I felt like I could have fought and come back, even with a bad start, to a top-five or on the podium but we’ll regroup. We have two days of rest and I just want to get back out there and do my best again.”
Eager and ready to go for the Main Event, Osborne took off a little too early and hit the gate, leaving him at a standstill as the rest of the field took off down the start-straight. He quickly got himself going and made a charge up to 12th by the end of lap one, latching onto his teammate Anderson to climb through the pack in an intense battle of their own. Osborne eventually got past Anderson on lap 16 and that’s when he ignited a major push to bring himself into podium contention heading into the final laps. Sitting in fifth, Osborne had the third-place battle within his sights but he ran out of time before making a move, ultimately securing an impressive fifth-place.
“I had a pretty decent night,” Osborne said. “I got a second place in my heat race and qualified third from the day, so that was solid. In the Main Event, I went a little too early and hit the gate. I pulled it back and set my sights on getting far as I could, and I was able to make it all the way up to fifth. It was a solid night and solid result considering all of the challenges.”
Jason Anderson got a seventh-place start in 450SX Heat 2 and he worked his way into sixth on lap five. He went down a few laps later and dropped back to 10th, narrowly missing the Main Event by one transfer spot. In the last chance qualifier, Anderson grabbed a fourth-place start and charged into the lead two laps in. From there, he rode strong to secure the LCQ victory and a spot in the Main Event. Anderson made the most out of a tough gate choice as he put himself into a top-10 position off the start in the Main Event. He held off his teammate Osborne for the first 15 laps as they pushed each other to climb through the pack. Battling between seventh and eighth place, Anderson ultimately finished strong with seventh.
“It was better than last weekend, I am trying to get better as the weekends go on,” Anderson said. “I got my first W of the season in the LCQ and just going to try to build off that and keep moving forward.” It was a tough ending to the night for Dean Wilson, who came into Saturday’s race day all banged up after suffering a practice crash during the week. He attempted to practice earlier in the day but ultimately made the tough decision to pull out of the night program due to injuries sustained in his knee, ankle and foot.
Justin Barcia pulled off a top-five start from the inside gate but he got tangled up with another rider and went down in the second turn. With a big charge early on, he broke into the top-11 and started clicking off solid laps. He made a couple mistakes and went down, costing him significant momentum late in the race. Finishing 13th on the night, Barcia is ready to keep moving forward as he looks to rebound in just a few short days.
Barcia: “I would say tonight was my most difficult night so far. My speed was good and my riding was okay but it just wasn’t what I needed tonight to be up front. We’ll regroup here in Indy and get back at it on Tuesday. I just need to put it all together.”
Colt Nichols backed up his Round 3 win in the Eastern Regional 250SX Class by grabbing the holeshot and riding nearly flawlessly to a commanding win. Nichols’ Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha teammate Christian Craig spent most of the race in second without pressure while Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence recovered from early race trouble; after hitting a false neutral on the start and then stopping to avoid contact with another rider on a wall obstacle that had him backing the bike and remounting, Lawrence looked like he’d have a salvage ride night. But the sophomore Aussie started slicing through the pack. He caught Craig on the final lap, and two corners from the end the riders came together and both went off the track. Jett recovered sooner, but both lost two places just a few dozen yards from the checkers. The return to Indianapolis marks the series’ impressive response to the pandemic shutdowns; last year’s Indy round was the first postponed and re-scheduled to Utah.
450SX Class Results1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki3. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM4. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki5. Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna6. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha7. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna8. Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha10. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
450SX Class Championship Standings1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (86)2. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (80)3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (77)4. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (70)5. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (69)6. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (67)7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (63)8. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (62)9. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (61)10. Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (58)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results1. Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha2. Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., GASGAS3. Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki4. Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha6. Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda7. Thomas Do, Murrieta, Calif., KTM8. John Short, Pilot Point, Tex., Suzuki9. Joshua Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., Honda10. Grant Harlan, Justin Tex., Honda
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings1. Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (96)2. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (88)3. Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (83)4. Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (77)5. Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., GASGAS (76)6. Joshua Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., Honda (56)7. John Short, Pilot Point, Tex., Suzuki (54)8. Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda (51)9. Thomas Do, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (47)10. Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (46)