Wire-to-wire victory for Lawrence as 250SX East enters layoff.
Cooper Webb battled his way to the top step of the podium to slow Ken Roczen’s momentum at the first of two Monster Energy Supercross rounds in Orlando.
A wet and soggy start to the day at Camping World Stadium set the stage for round seven of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross championship. The AMA and Feld released a revised schedule in the morning, cutting the untimed practice sessions to give the track crew ample time to remove the tarps that covered the track and prepare the racing surface.
While this limited track time for the riders, the move proved to be fruitful, as the track came together well by the time racing kicked off.
Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) rocketed to the front as the gate dropped in the main event, with Justin Brayton (Muc-Off Honda), Roczen, Webb, and Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) taking the top five spots on lap one.
Early in the race, a mistake by Osborne in the whoops nearly put him on the ground, letting Brayton and Roczen sneak by for the top two spots. Webb found his way past Osborne shortly after to take third as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac got off to a rough start that had him buried deep inside the top 10.
Webb made a move from third to first four minutes into the race, passing Roczen and Brayton into the same corner in dramatic fashion. Barcia slid past and into the third spot, the move bringing Osborne with him and dropping Brayton to fifth. Dylan Ferrandis had a huge crash around the same time that ended his night, though the Star Racing Yamaha rider leaving the stadium under his own power was a good sign.
With 15 minutes left, the top three paced each other and settled into a solid groove, just over a second separating the trio. Joey Savatgy (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM) crashed out of sixth after a good start, allowing Tomac to take the position and set his sights on the top five.
Barcia began to pour pressure on Roczen ahead of him until he had a massive moment in the whoops, sending his legs off the side of the bike. The GasGas rider made what would ultimately be the save of the night, with him continuing in fourth, his mishap allowing Osborne to slip into the final podium spot.
Meanwhile, Webb had his own troubles in the whoops but he recovered well in the following lap, opening back up a two-second lead. Roczen made a charge in the closing lap of the race, pulling the gap down to less than one second, but Webb held on to take his 13th career 450SX main, his second of the season.
After attempting multiple passes, Barcia couldn’t seal the deal for the podium spot on Osborne, giving the Rockstar Husqvarna rider his first podium of the season. Barcia held on for fourth with Tomac recovering well for fifth.
Aaron Plessinger (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) charged through the pack to take sixth place on the night, finishing just ahead of Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM). Musquin’s up and down season continues following a podium finish last week. Just behind them, Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) came across the line for his third consecutive top 10 finish in ninth.
After qualifying fastest on the day, Adam Cianciarulo’s speed never materialized in the main. The Monster Energy Kawasaki mounted rider spent much of the race hovering outside of the top 10, making a move to take 10th late in the race. Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) scored points in his return to racing following injury, finishing the night in 12th place.
Webb’s win helps inch him closer to Roczen in the 2021 450SX Championship points standings as he cuts the gap to just 12 points. The series will continue next Saturday night for the second and final night of racing in Orlando at Camping World Stadium.
Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence made his way back to the top step of the Monster Energy Supercross podium in a wire-to-wire 250SX East victory, while points leader Colt Nichols (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) extended his lead in the championship.
After a rain-soaked morning in Orlando shortened the afternoon practice and qualifying sessions, the track at Camping World Stadium shaped up nice for the evening’s racing.
The action got off to a dramatic start in terms of the 2021 championship points battle, as a huge crash ended Christian Craig’s (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) heat race as he chased Lawrence. Craig took the line in the LCQ, where he’d take the win and move on to the main.
When the gate dropped on the main event, Lawrence picked up where he left off in the heat race, grabbing the holeshot with Nichols just behind. Craig slotted into the third spot with Kevin Moranz (KTM) and Grant Harlan (Honda) rounding out the top five on lap one.
Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) picked his way into the top after a lackluster start, the Japanese rider made his way into the fourth spot with about 10 minutes left in the race. Mitchell Oldenburg filed in just behind him after his own start troubles, the Muc-Off Honda rider locking down the last spot in the top five.
With 10 minutes and a lap to go, Lawrence had eeked out a 1.5 second lead over Nichols, as Craig continued to grit his teeth through the pain another three seconds back from his teammate.
Two laps later Nichols closed the gap to Lawrence. It looked as though the Star Racing Yamaha rider was ready to challenge, but he had a huge moment, nearly crashing and allowing Lawrence to regain a two-second advantage.
Lawrence seemed to have better luck sorting his way through lapped traffic in the minutes that followed, stretching his gap another second while Nichols patiently navigated the backmarkers. With a bit of a break in the traffic, Nichols began to charge toward the front, cutting the lead in half with 3 minutes left. Lawrence responded quickly though, taking the gap back up to three seconds just a few laps later.
After lapping deep into the top 10, they found clean air with a lap to go and Nichols closed in quickly through the final part of the lap. But it was just a touch too late for Nichols, leaving the young Australian to take his second win of the season with Nichols just on his rear wheel.
Craig persevered from his crash to finish third on the night, salvaging crucial championship points. Shimoda took fourth with Mitchell Oldenburg closing out the top five. Joshua Varize finished in the sixth spot to take a career-best finish with Moranz just behind him in seventh. Osby, Schlosser, and Karnow took the final spots in the top 10.
The finish see’s Nichols stretch his points lead to eight points in the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX East standings, over his teammate Craig. The 250SX East riders will now take a two-month break, as the 250SX West championship is set to kick off next week in Orlando next weekend. The 250SX East class will return to action later this season when the series moves to Salt Lake City on April 24th.