Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb take his second 450SX Class win of the season ahead of Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen in the Orlando Supercrss. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne held on for a hard-fought third place.
The Eastern Regional 250SX Class delivered drama early in the night, but in the Main Event it was Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence with a wire-to-wire win.
Zach Osborne grabbed the holeshot and had the speed to keep the pack behind him in the 450SX Class Main Event but a big mistake in the whoops allowed three riders to get by as he recovered. Muc-Off Honda’s Justin Brayton took over the point position with Ken Roczen right on his rear tire. Roczen was coming off a three-win streak, but that only motivated Cooper Webb more; the KTM rider sat close in third. Just over three minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race, Webb positioned himself to pass both riders in a single corner. Like that, Webb had the lead with Roczen using the moment to get around Brayton even as he lost a spot to Webb.
Webb, who sits second overall in the early standings, continues to make positive improvements in his overall setup, which led him to a favourable second-place qualifying position earlier in the day. Webb got off to a great start and positioned himself up front on the opening lap. Four laps in, he made a spectacular move to launch his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION from third to first, establishing himself as the rider to beat for the remainder of the race. Fending off a hard-charging Ken Roczen in the final laps, Webb remained poised under pressure to best his championship rival by less than one second at the end of 25 laps.
Webb:“It was a great race tonight, we were one and two for pretty much the whole thing, tooth and nail. It was a tough race, the track really broke down a lot, especially from the beginning laps and it’s definitely a little different when you are leading the majority of the Main Event. I made a few mistakes those last few and Kenny caught up, but I was able to get it done and man does it feel good.”
Opening round winner Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia was soon past Brayton also, and the three riders rounded the track nearly in formation just slightly out of range for any of them to make a pass attempt. With just over five minutes left on the race clock Barcia had an incredible save in the whoops. He was thrown from his bike but managed to stay in touch long enough to jump back on without hitting the ground.
Barcia overcame a bad jump off the line by sticking to the outside and funneling into fifth through the first turns. He moved into third early on and established a solid podium run for more than half the race. He made a mistake through the whoops and lost third but he was able to keep his momentum rolling enough to hold onto fourth. He collected himself and put in a last-ditch effort to reclaim third but it wasn’t enough to land on the podium in Orlando.
Barcia: “It was a bummer mistake in the whoops that really cost me the podium. I pushed as hard as I could to try to get the pass on him but wasn’t able to get it done. I definitely know I have the speed, I just need to put everything together and move on from it. It was a little frustrating but it was good riding and I’m healthy and ready to move onto the next Orlando.”
Osborne took advantage of the mistake to take third spot – in the same section where he’d lost the race lead – and held it to the end despite a constant push from Barcia.
2020 defending champion Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac had a tough night after a mid-pack start and rounding the first lap in 11th place. Tomac charged hard on the retro-track layout that commemorated the last time the series visited the venue and that event’s battle between James Stewart and retiring 5-time champion Ricky Carmichael in his final Monster Energy Supercross race. At the 2021 running of Orlando, Tomac made steady progress forward and reached fifth by the chequered flag.
Marvin Musquin had a tough start to the day with challenges in qualifying but he turned things around for himself at the start of 450SX Heat 1. Grabbing a third-place start and battling up front all race long, Musquin solidified a respectable third-place transfer into the Main Event. Musquin was ready to race for the Main Event but as the gate dropped the French rider found himself losing traction to the mud and he got off the line in dead last. He made his way up to 13th on the opening lap and from there he went to work passing riders as quickly as possible. He climbed up to eighth midway through the race and with two laps to go he overtook another spot to salvage seventh-place on the night.
Musquin:“I was a little bit off in practice but I focused on the night show and made sure I had a good heat race to put myself in good position. I was so ready for the Main Event, I had a good gate and when I let the clutch go it started spinning and my rear wheel went sideways. I lost balance and was dead last off the start, exactly what I didn’t want to do. I put my head down and tried my best, as always. It was sketchy making passes in the beginning but I ended up seventh. I’m just bummed. It was a bit muddy behind the gate and things like that happen.” Team rider Maximus Vohland continues to recover from a dislocated hip sustained during a practice crash at the fourth round. The young rookie will continue to assess and evaluate his injury alongside his doctors.
In Eastern Regional 250SX Class racing it was Jett Lawrence’s night from the drop of the Main Event gate. After scoring the holeshot it was his race to lose with points leader Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Colt Nichols right behind him. As the two pulled away from third place rider Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Christian Craig, the gap between the top two riders stretched and closed. Lawrence handily got through lappers, never allowing them to slow him enough for Nichols to get within striking distance.
The big drama of the 250SX class had come earlier in the night. Christian Craig crashed hard in 250SX Class Heat 2 while leading; Craig was pitched and slow to get up, evaluating his right hand. He returned for the Last Chance Qualifier with the injury taped up. He rode conservatively for the LCQ win and a spot on the Main Event gate. Craig gutted it out through the pain in the Main Event for third, losing only two points on his teammate as the regional series goes into a 10-week break before the final two rounds to determine the champion.
The racers line up again inside the same stadium on a completely re-designed track next Saturday for the second of the Orlando double-header; the February 20th Florida race will kick off the 2021 Western Regional 250SX Class series with a new group of hungry racers eager to start their title campaigns with a win.
450SX Class Results
- Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
- Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
- Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
- Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
450SX Class Championship Standings
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (161)
- Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (148)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (132)
- Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (118)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (115)
- Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (110)
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (109)
- Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (108)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (99)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (97)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
- Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
- Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha
- Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM
- Kevin Moranz, Topeka, Kans., KTM
- Joshua Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., Honda
- Hunter Schlosser, El Paso, Tex., Yamaha
- Logan Karnow, Amherst, Ohio, Kawasaki
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
- Colt Nichols, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (166)
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (158)
- Jo Shimoda, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki (138)
- Jett Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (128)
- Joshua Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., Honda (103)
- Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., GASGAS (97)
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Aledo, Tex., Honda (91)
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM (81)
- Thomas Do, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (74)
- Grant Harlan, Justin Tex., Honda (71)
Photo Credits: Feld Entertainment, Inc.