Round six of the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series – designated Military Appreciation Night to honour servicemen and women – delivered exciting moto combat on the track that significantly tightened up the 450SX Class title points. 41,573 Southern California fans inside PETCO Park witnessed Red Bull KTM’s, Cooper Webb attack race leader Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo several times before finally positioning himself ahead of the rookie on Lap 21 of the 25-lap 450SX Class Main Event.
From that point, the defending champion rode to his first win of the 2020 season which jumped him into third place in the title points, only nine points out of the lead. In the Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event, Dylan Ferrandis took his third win in six races, giving his Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing team its fourth win in the first six Western Regional events.
The night delivered some bad luck and good luck to Cooper Webb before the 450SX Class Main Event got underway. On the first lap of the 450SX Class Heat Race 1, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne collapsed a small berm just ahead of Webb, sending Webb to the ground; he recovered with a sixth place finish, giving him eleventh gate pick in the Main Event. Webb’s good luck came when a decent gate position remained available, allowing him to get a great start in the 450SX Class Main Event.
It was Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM-WPS’s Blake Baggett who nailed a big holeshot on the short start straight. Unfortunately, several riders ducked under Baggett in the second corner. Baggett bumped Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger’s rear wheel high in the berm, setting him back five positions while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s rookie Adam Cianciarulo sliced his way to the early lead after a brief back-and-forth with Webb.
Points leader Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen found himself back in ninth, with last weekend’s winner Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac right behind him. Cianciarulo looked composed as he led his first laps since the season opener. Webb closed in on the Kawasaki rider several times but fell back after his pass attempts failed while Baggett moved into third and nearly close enough at times to make a push for second. Further back in the pack, Tomac got into a rough battle with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia that may have helped slow Tomac’s push toward the front.
On Lap 21 Webb maneuvered around Cianciarulo and then covered the inside to prevent a counterattack. Once solidly into the lead Webb stretched out some breathing room and rode it home for his first win in his title defense season. Cianciarulo held strong for second, while Baggett nabbed his first podium finish of 2020. Ken Roczen made it up to sixth, which allowed him to retain the red plate, while second in points, Eli Tomac, took fourth place points and narrowed the title chase to only a single point.
Cooper Webb was happy on the podium but told of a different emotion he was having before the race that helped him get the win, “That heat race was tough, but sometimes I need to get pissed off, and that’s what happened. I was mad as a hornet and came to the gate and just had that confidence. I got into the lead early and then Adam made a good, aggressive move to the inside. I just kinda let him go. I knew the track was going to be hard to pass [on] and I knew it was going to be a long main event. So I was just kinda riding in there, tried to make a pass a few laps earlier but played cat and mouse which kinda allowed Blake to catch up, and I didn’t want to do that. Man, it feels good late in the race to get that pass and the win, first one of the season.”
Cianciarulo said on the podium, “I knew it was going to be a long main but I felt like I adapted well. I think he was really crushing me in the second set of whoops. Once he passed me, I realized he was going 3-up the first one, then 4-4. He was jumping a couple extra whoops than me.” When asked about a hand problem that’s been reported, he said, “It’s not the reason why I lost, I’m the reason why I lost, 100%. I’ve just been dealing with this ulna nerve thing in my hand and it makes my pinky and ring finger kinda go numb out there and kinda towards the end of the race it bothers me a little bit. But 100% that was Cooper’s race, he won straight up, fair and square. And we’re all dealing with something.”
Blake Baggett believed he could have finished better than third, “I felt like I was catching them. My strong point was in the whoops, and then I kinda just, I let it get away from me a little bit there. I got within striking distance and then just kinda lost ground a little bit and my whoops [speed] went away, so, you know, it’s bittersweet.”
The racing was just as tense in the Western Regional 250SX Class. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner nabbed the holeshot but before exiting turn two Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman and Pennrite Honda’s Luke Clout went past.
Forkner regained the lead on Lap five, with Dylan Ferrandis slipping into second soon after. The Yamaha rider lost time with a few failed pass attempts on Forkner, then with 1:23 on the clock Ferrandis dove under the Kawasaki rider in a 90-degree turn; the incident sent Forkner temporarily off the track and too far behind to mount a counter attack. Ferrandis took the checkers and stretched out his championship points lead with Forkner and Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper filling out the podium positions.
On the podium, the crowd booed its displeasure at Ferrandis’ pass, so he addressed it, “I couldn’t find any place to pass Austin. I tried many times and for sure I didn’t want to be too aggressive because we know what happened before [which resulted in probation by the AMA]. And yeah, I got a good start and third corner already Austin put me really high… First lap he already tried to take me out and I really tried to be patient and to find a good opportunity but it was difficult to pass on this track. I mean, I was a little in front of him when I passed him, so I think there is no problem with that… I hope the crowd liked this race. I know again, it’s an aggressive pass but like I say when you have no place to pass it’s difficult. I tried to ride clean and I hope they understand that.”
Forkner said after the race, “I just gotta be a little bit better… We were both riding good, we were riding good all day. In qualifying we would’ve been first and third out of everybody, total, 450 guys, everybody, so we’re riding good, I’m riding good… It’s déjà vu pretty much of last weekend, just led longer this weekend.”
Referring to the break the Western Regional 250SX Class now gets, he said, “I’m just gonna go back, try to get the bike better, try to get myself better, we can always be better. I’m feeling good right now but I just need that much more.”
Justin Cooper was content with his podium finish, “It was a really good race. I started out like fourth or fifth and was able to get into the third place spot. I saw those guys, they were battling, they were pulling a little bit each lap and I just felt like I was hitting my marks, doing my job, and little mistakes here and there just kept me from staying on their wheel. And once I lost their wheel was kinda, didn’t know what to pace off of. I was still trying hard.”
The series now crosses the US for round seven on February 15th inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida where the 450SX Class riders continue their 17-round season; the switch of coasts means the Eastern Regional 250SX Class starts up with its first round of 2020.
450SX Class Results1. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM2. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki5. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda7. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda9. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Honda10. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
450SX Class Championship Standings1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (130)2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (129)3. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM (121)4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (116)5. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (113)6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna (105)7. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (90)8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda (90)9. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (89)10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (75)
Western Regional 250SX Class Results1. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha2. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki3. Justin Cooper, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha4. Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., Husqvarna5. Brandon Hartranft, Corona, Calif., KTM6. Luke Clout, Hemet, Calif., Honda7. Jacob Hayes, Lodi, Calif., Husqvarna8. Carson Brown, Ravensdale, Wash., Husqvarna9. Derek Drake, Corona, Calif., KTM10. Alex Martin, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings1. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (135)2. Justin Cooper, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha (128)3. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (122)4. Brandon Hartranft, Corona, Calif., KTM (110)5. Alex Martin, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (98)6. Jacob Hayes, Lodi, Calif., Husqvarna (89)7. Luke Clout, Hemet, Calif., Honda (83)8. Michael Mosiman, Menifee, Calif., Husqvarna (82)9. Derek Drake, Corona, Calif., KTM (78)10. Mitchell Oldenburg, Godly, Tex., Honda (72)