2015 Phoenix Supercross | Race Report

Eli Tomac won the Phoenix Supercross 450 main.
Eli Tomac won the Phoenix Supercross 450 main.

2015 Phoenix SX Race Report

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Photos | Ryne Swanberg

It was a night of firsts at Phoenix, Arizona’s Chase Field, as Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Cooper Webb and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac earned the first wins of their careers in the 250 Western Regional and 450 classes, respectively. In the 250 class, Webb qualified fastest during the afternoon practice sessions, then passed GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart on the first lap of the main event to earn a popular win. Tomac, meanwhile, also qualified quickest earlier in the day, then came out on top of a spectacular battle with Ken Roczen for the 450 win.

Anaheim victors maintained the points leads in both classes, as Jessy Nelson’s third in Phoenix was strong enough to maintain the red plate, and Roczen’s runner-up score in the 450s allowed him to extend his points lead over former teammate Ryan Dungey.

250 HEAT ONE

When the gate dropped for the first six-lap 250 heat race, Arenacross Champion Tyler Bowers led the way onto the technical Phoenix track. Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill gated third, but moved into second quickly. The rider on the move in the early stages of the race was Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider Aaron Plessinger, as he blasted past multiple riders, including Josh Hansen, to take over third. On lap four, Hill turned up the heat and began to pressure Bowers for the lead, diving beneath him repeatedly before finally forcing his way into the lead with an Arenacross-style pass of his own. Bowers retaliated on the last lap and retook the lead momentarily, but Hill let it hang out with only two corners to go and claimed the win.

“I feel like I left something on the table last week in Anaheim,” said Hill, who has been nursing a bad cold all week. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get this win tonight.”

1. Justin Hill
2. Tyler Bowers
3. Aaron Plessinger
4. Josh Hansen
5. Zach Bell
6. Austin Politelli
7. Chris Alldredge
8. Tommy Hahn
9. Nico Izzi
10. Ryan Breece

250 HEAT TWO

Anaheim 1 winner Jessy Nelson blasted off the line in the second heat race and picked up where he left off last weekend, out front and in control. Malcolm Stewart and Zach Osborne crashed out of contention in two separate incidents on lap one, but both remounted quickly and resumed the race. Fastest qualifier Cooper Webb was tangled up in the lap-one chaos, but he rebounded quickly and moved into qualifying position. Up front, Nelson rode a masterful race and stretched his lead to an eventual eight seconds over his Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM teammate Shane McElrath. GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia ran second for much of the race but a mistake on the final lap dropped him to fourth, behind the hard-charging Webb. “The track is shaping up nicely, and the whoops are actually easier than they were in practice,” said Nelson. “I feel good on the bike and I’m hoping to get a good start in the main and ride like I did last week.”

1. Jessy Nelson
2. Shane McElrath
3. Cooper Webb
4. Matt Bisceglia
5. Jackson Richardson
6. Alex Martin
7. Scott Champion
8. Zach Osborne
9. Landen Powell
10. Malcolm Stewart

250 LCQ

Malcolm Stewart defied physics and grabbed the holeshot at the start of the four-lap 250 LCQ and checked out with a commanding wire-to-wire win. Michael Leib moved into second aboard his Rocket Exhaust-built Honda CRF250R on the first lap and stayed there to the finish, leading Zack Freeburg and Cole Martinez across the line and into the main event.

1. Malcolm Stewart
2. Michael Leib
3. Zack Freeburg
4. Cole Martinez

Cooper Webb
Cooper Webb

250 MAIN EVENT

Osborne was fastest off the line at the start of the 15-lap main event, and led Webb and Stewart through the first corner. Stewart bombed the whoops and took over the lead only seconds into the race, and once in front he established an immediate cushion. Webb, Osborne and Nelson rallied for position behind Stewart, with the trio trading places numerous times per lap. Webb gained control of the runner-up position on the third lap and set after Stewart, leaving Nelson and Osborne to scrap over third. Webb closed to Stewart’s rear fender and took over the lead at the start of the fifth lap. Once into the lead, Webb methodically added to his lead, and he rode uncontested to the win aboard his Eric Gass-tuned Yamaha YZ250F.

The rider on the move in the middle of the the main event was Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Plessinger, as the rookie sliced through the field and challenged Nelson for a podium position. He was caught off guard, however, by a late-race charge by Bowers, and was forced to settle for fifth at the finish.

Webb earned the first Supercross win of his career in dominant fashion, with a five-second lead over Stewart and Nelson, who maintained the series points lead. Hill was mired at the start of the main and was only able to work into sixth at the finish.

“My first win feels unbelievable,” said Webb. “I had some struggles in the heat race but everything came together for me in the main. And man, does it feel good!”

“Having to go to the LCQ really bummed me out, but I turned it around in the main event, and I am so thankful,” said Stewart. “I have to thank my team for their support, and give it up to my brother.”

“The race was up and down for me,” said Nelson. “I came out third or fourth and I got tight. I wasn’t breathing enough out there, but to come away with third and the points lead…I’m happy with that.”

Main Event Results
1. Cooper Webb
2. Malcolm Stewart
3. Jessy Nelson
4. Tyler Bowers
5. Aaron Plessinger
6. Justin Hill
7. Zach Osborne
8. Shane McElrath
9. Zach Bell
10. Tommy Hahn
11. Matt Bisceglia
12. Michael Leib
13. Josh Hansen
14. Cole Martinez
15. Chris Alldredge
16. Scott Champion
17. Zack Freeburg
18. Jackson Richardson
19. Landen Powell
20. Alex Martin
21. Nico Izzi
22. Austin Polliteli
Monster Energy Supercross 250 Championship Points Standings (After 2 of 9 rounds):
1. Jessy Nelson 45pts/1 win
2. Cooper Webb 39pts/1 win
3. Tyler Bowers 38pts
4. Zach Osborne 36pts
5. Justin Hill 33pts
6. Aaron Plessinger 32pts
7. Shane McElrath 28pts
8. Malcolm Stewart 23pts
9. Zach Bell 22pts
10. Josh Hansen 20pts