Bye week is now in the books and Supercross is back for a Masters/Easter weekend duel in the desert. The most extensive floor on the calendar at State Farm Stadium is also the host of the third and final Triple Crown round of the season as well, throwing an extra wrinkle into things. Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac find themselves tied for the points lead at the moment, just the first time this has happened after 11 rounds, and the deepest things have been tied up since Tomac and Ryan Dungey were tied with three rounds to go in 2017. This is good timing for Glendale to happen for ET3, who has two wins here since the move from Chase Field, a comically dominant outing in 2017, and then a year ago. Webb has typically looked good down the stretch in his last three full seasons as well but didn't look as spry at Tomac, or Chase Sexton for that matter in qualifying. Has that stopped him from winning before? No, but definitely worth pointing out.
You may also remember Jett Lawrence letting out a notable "oof" when the topic of Glendale being a Triple Crown round was brought up after he had won Seattle. That was for good reason because his numbers take a bit of a dip in them. Just earlier this year in Anaheim, a second Moto where he had to go from dead last to sixth cost him the overall on a night when he was the fastest 250 rider no doubt. The good news for Saturday is that he has a 23-point buffer to R.J. Hampshire, but this is something that he has to figure out sooner or later. I wouldn't expect these hero rides he's put on this season to come as easy when he's on a 450 next year.
Daytime Program/Injury Notes:
- Wish that the outside area of State Farm Stadium where they keep the field could be utilized again like they did around 2016-ish, but a solid layout once again given the floor size.
- Cameron McAdoo out via a midweek practice injury.
- Christian Craig went down hard in the whoops in open practice in the AM. Was given a soft cast and then additionally taken off on a backboard. UPDATE: Craig suffered a dislocated hip and elbow as a result of that crash.
- 250 Fastest Qualifier: No. 18 Jett Lawrence (56.930) (Over a full second faster than Levi Kitchen in fifth on back, and was the only 250 rider in the 56-second bracket)
- 450 Fastest Qualifier: No. 23 Chase Sexton (56.248) (.219 seconds faster than Eli Tomac in second. All riders in the top five were inside the 56-second range)
250 West Class Recap
1st - No. 18 Jett Lawrence (Honda HRC)
Better late than never for the Jett, who gets what is in all certainty his only 250 Triple Crown win in his final attempt in the class. Had a feeling that the middle race where he seemingly was not completely going for it would come back to haunt him, but he simply made it work in that last Moto on a super slippery track. More so than anything, there was no backbreaking mistake here that has been a staple in his past Triple Crown performances, and that was better to see than him even winning. Now with a full-round lead on Hampshire, he's officially on pace to clinch the 250 West title in about a month's time in Denver as well.
2nd - No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing)
Just not enough in the tank in crunch time for Hampshire, who still put together a solid night even as his title hopes continue to slip away. If it's any consolation prize, his save of the year contender in the whoops kept him comfortably in podium contention, and he now also has a full round points advantage on both Levi Kitchen and Cameron McAdoo back in third.
4th - No. 33 Pierce Brown (TLD/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing)
Brown easily benefited from the Moto 1 restart more than anyone else. Had Stilez Robertson not gone down, he most likely ends up around 15th after his own wreck right off the bat. Wasn't a ride that's going to turn some heads, but a great job by Brown to immediately throw out that wreck to then put up three consecutive top-five finishes.
5th - No. 56 Enzo Lopes (Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha)
Lopes appeared to be on the opposite end of the stick as Brown, looking great on the initial start of Moto 1 but had trouble on the restart. In spite of that, he clawed his way from 15th up to 7th in an impressive opening outing, before showing off that initial speed with a pair of two fives. Hard to say if he ends up much higher in the overall standings than where he ended up anyway, but Lopes has been putting together great rides all year long. Assuming he's willing to run the full tilt in 2024, I would be stunned if he isn't on a fully-fledged factory ride somewhere. The talent is undeniable at this point.
6th - No. 41 Derek Kelley (AEO Powersports KTM)
I for one would call putting up a career-best finish after running 21st and 15th coming into Glendale as being an awesome story for Kelley and the whole AEO KTM squad. To put things in perspective, Kelley had just three top-10 finishes in all of 2022. This year he already has four and still has three races remaining, assuming he makes both Showdown Main Events on top of Denver. Leaving the desert top 10 in points isn't too shabby either.
DNF/DNS x2 - No. 49 Stilez Robertson (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
Just a brutal end to the weekend for Robertston, and that end came about a minute into the night show. Going down or simply wrecking in a blind spot in any form of motorsport is horrifying and you saw that in real-time, unfortunately. Hard to put blame on the trackside personnel here given where he specifically went down either, just an all-around bummer for Robertson, who looked to be in excruciating pain as he was getting carted off. Here's to hoping for all the best.
UPDATE: Robertson confirmed on Instagram that he will be undergoing surgery in Colorado on what appears to be a fibula injury.
250 West Class Glendale Top 10
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (1-3-1)
2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (2-1-3)
3rd No. 43 Levi Kitchen (3-2-2)
4th No. 33 Pierce Brown (4-4-5)
5th No. 56 Enzo Lopes (7-5-4)
6th No. 41 Derek Kelley (5-8-7)
7th No. 49 Mitchell Oldenburg (6-7-12)
8th No. 34 Max Vohland (18-6-6)
9th No. 59 Robbie Wageman (9-15-8)
10th No. 52 Carson Mumford (13-9-10)
250 West Class Point Standings after Glendale
1st No. 18 Jett Lawrence (153 Points)
2nd No. 24 R.J. Hampshire (127 Points)
3rd No. 48 Cameron McAdoo (101 Points)
4th No. 43 Levi Kitchen (101 Points)
5th No. 56 Enzo Lopes (100 Points)
6th No. 49 Mitchell Oldenburg (99 Points)
7th No. 33 Pierce Brown (86 Points)
8th No. 34 Max Vohland (85 Points)
9th No. 83 Cole Thompson (71 Points)
10th No. 41 Derek Kelley (70 Points)
450 Class Recap
1st - No. 1 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha)
An absolute clutch win for ET3 in Glendale, as he gets a seven-point cushion in the standings going back to Cooper Webb and now sits alone for second on the all-time wins list with 51. His starts were as on point as they have been all year long, and spent just about every minute in those three races in the top three. Not the sweep that Ken Roczen pulled off in this same building a few years ago, but Tomac didn't need to be perfect either. Only he and Justin Barcia were able to put up multiple podium finishes, and even then Tomac finished no worse than second. Best of all, he got a surprising amount of help here from Cooper Webb, but more on him later.
2nd - No. 23 Chase Sexton (Honda HRC)
If you were to tell me that Sexton's weekly slip-up would directly lead to him turning into prime James Stewart (so good btw) for a good few minutes there is no scenario where I'd believe you. But it happened anyway, I saw it with my own eyes. Not only was he able to keep even with Eli Tomac after stalling in that second Moto, he completely left him in the dust by the time they both exited the whoops section. Then he just took off from everyone in what was a masterful second half of the race for him. Didn't have that same juice in the bookend Motos, but a second where you gain points on the guy ahead of you in points is a solid day at the office if you ask me.
4th - No. 2 Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM)
Crazy to think that a missed block passed attempt more or less wrecked Webb's night but it appeared as if it definitely did. Webb also had a pair of brutal starts in the second two Motos which did him no favors either, but I felt like he had plenty of time to get by Jason Anderson when he went for the proverbial kill, and that ended up being a two-position swing. His bad start in that final Moto was a backbreaker as well, but he managed another top-five and barely was able to hold off Ken Roczen at the buzzer. As it relates to the championship, I don't think this is a panic button situation by any means, but this was probably the final time Webb can afford a night like Saturday moving forward.
6th - No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
It's probably going unnoticed given how late we are into the year, but AC has been putting in some solid work since he's come back. Four straight top 10s averaging a seventh on the dot and he's run every single Main Event lap possible. Given that staying upright has been an issue, I'd like to think Monster Kawi is happy with where their longtime Team Green guy is at with the indoor season beginning to wrap up. Don't forget he nearly won the 450 Motocross title as a rookie, I wouldn't sleep on him this summer.
10th - No. 21 Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
The whoops were a trouble spot for everyone last night, especially in that last 450 Moto where they were super slippery. Unfortunately for El Hombre, he took a nasty spill just around the same spot Christian Craig did during the day and took him out of the running for a likely top-five overall day. The good news is he got up on his own and was seen walking to the back with team manager Dan Fahie, so hopefully, things didn't end up too bad.
450 Class Glendale Top 10
1st No. 1 Eli Tomac (1-2-1)
2nd No. 23 Chase Sexton (4-1-3)
3rd No. 51 Justin Barcia (3-6-2)
4th No. 2 Cooper Webb (2-5-4)
5th No. 94 Ken Roczen (5-3-5)
6th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (7-7-7)
7th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (9-9-6)
8th No. 45 Colt Nichols (8-8-8)
9th No. 15 Dean Wilson (10-10-9)
10th No. 21 Jason Anderson (6-4-21)
450 Class Point Standings after Glendale
1st No. 1 Eli Tomac (274 Points) (New Undisputed Points Leader)
2nd No. 2 Cooper Webb (267 Points)
3rd No. 23 Chase Sexton (249 Points)
4th No. 94 Ken Roczen (217 Points)
5th No. 51 Justin Barcia (216 Points)
6th No. 21 Jason Anderson (212 Points)
7th No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (196 Points)
8th No. 28 Christian Craig (150 Points)
9th No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (139 Points)
10th No. 46 Justin Hill (127 Points)
Glendale PulpMX Industry Idiots Fantasy Team
450 Class: Ken Roczen (All-Star +4), Cole Seely (+9), Anthony Rodriguez (+11), Chiz (+10)
250 Class: Enzo Lopes (All-Star +4), Stilez Robertson (No Handicap), Derek Kelley (+4), Matt Moss (+10)
FFL: Eli Tomac (Successful) and Jett Lawrence (Unsuccessful)
Points Total: 242
Next Up: Atlanta Motor Speedway (Atlanta, Georgia) (Will be the only good racing that track sees all year)
Main Image via FELD