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

450 HEAT ONE

Anticipation was high when the gate dropped for the first eight-lap heat race, and Cole Seely led the way on his factory Honda. Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, and Ben Lamay gave chase. Last weekend's winner Ken Roczen was mired at the start and completed lap one in ninth. Roczen blitzed through the field with authority, but fifth was as high as he would advance. Up front, Seely rode with great composure in spite of having Dungey and Barcia breathing down his neck, and held on for the first 450 heat race win of his career. Dungey, Barcia and Seely's Honda teammate Trey Canard rounded out the direct transfers to the main. Roczen would have to return in a semi.

"I made a mistake in the whoops on the second-to-last lap, but I was able to hold on for that win," said Seely. "I am looking for a little redemption this weekend because things didn't go so great last week."

1. Cole Seely
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Justin Barcia
4. Trey Canard
5. Broc Tickle
6. Ken Roczen
7. Ben Lamay
8. Jimmy Albertson
9. Mitchell Oldenburg
10. Jake Weimer

450 HEAT TWO

Fastest qualifier Eli Tomac rocketed off the line aboard his GEICO Honda in the second heat race and led Justin Brayton, Davi Millsaps, and Josh Grant onto the track. Millsaps made quick work of Brayton and set out after Tomac, but there would be no catching the Colorado native. TwoTwo Motorsports teammates Josh Grant and Chad Reed freight trained through the pack and into third and fourth, much to the delight of the crowd, but Grant bobbled late in the race and dropped out of contention. At the checkered flag, Tomac enjoyed a seven-second lead over Millsaps, Reed, and Brayton, who all headed straight to the main.

"That felt good, but there's always a lot that can happen in the main event," said Tomac. "Just look at last weekend. I felt great though, and the bike is the best it has ever been."

1. Eli Tomac
2. Davi Millsaps
3. Chad Reed
4. Justin Brayton
5. Weston Peick
6. Josh Grant
7. Dean Wilson
8. Andrew Short
9. Josh Hill
10. Jason Anderson

450 SEMI ONE

Roczen jumped into the lead at the start of the first six-lap 450 semi. AJ Catanzaro held down the runner-up spot in the opening laps with ARMA Energy's Jimmy Albertson in third, but Anderson, Short, and Grant were in hot pursuit. Roczen rode unchallenged throughout the race and on to the eventual win, while Anderson worked into a distant second, well ahead of Short in third. Grant and Tedder Racing's Jake Weimer earned the fourth and fifth transfers to the main.

1. Ken Roczen
2. Jason Anderson
3. Andrew Short
4. Josh Grant
5. Jake Weimer
6. Jimmy Albertson
7. Matt Moss
8. Kyle Partridge
9. Cade Clason
10. AJ Catanzaro

450 SEMI TWO

Mike Alessi holeshot the second semi, but Dean Wilson and Weston Peick swooped past before the completion of lap one. Peick muscled his way into the lead with an aggressive move, and the husky rider rode away with a solid win. Wilson held on for second ahead of a hard-charging Baggett. Alessi was fourth, while Broc Tickle snuck past Josh Hill inches away from the finish line to steal the fifth transfer to the main.

1. Weston Peick
2. Dean Wilson
3. Blake Baggett
4. Mike Alessi
5. Broc Tickle
6. Josh Hill
7. Brett Metcalfe
8. Justin Sipes
9. Ben Lamay
10. Nick Wey

450 LCQ

Catanzaro holeshot the LCQ and had Albertson, Metcalfe, and Kyle Partridge hot on his rear fender. Catanzaro fended off the race-long charges of Metcalfe and his Dirt Candy Suzuki all the way to the finish, while Albertson and Partridge earned the final spots in the main event.

1. AJ Catanzaro
2. Brett Metcalfe
3. Jimmy Albertson
4. Kyle Partridge
5. Nick Wey
6. Kyle Chisholm
7. Mitchell Oldenburg
8. Killian Rusk
9. Matt Moss
10. Ben Lamay

Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen.

Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen.

450 MAIN EVENT

Tomac led Roczen, Peick and the rest through turn one. Roczen muscled his way into the lead on the third turn and began to check out, much like he did last weekend in Anaheim. Peick shocked Dungey with a successful pass for third on the second lap, but all eyes were on Tomac, who seemed to find the speed to match Roczen's speedy pace up front. Less than a second separated the lead duo throughout the first five laps. On lap seven, Tomac closed to Roczen's rear wheel and made several challenges for the lead that brought the crowd to its feet. Tomac made the pass just before the start of the sixth lap, but Roczen retaliated immediately. Tomac was unrelenting, however, and moved past the Suzuki rider again a few corners later. Once into the lead, Tomac seemed to hit the afterburners, and he immediately began to pull away from the German. A big mistake in a rhythm section on lap 10 allowed Roczen to close momentarily, but Tomac regained his composure in short order and began to pull away again.

Behind the leaders, Peick rode a solid race and maintained a modest cushion over Dungey and held down the final podium position. With five laps to go, Dungey turned up the heat and began to challenge Peick for third. A smooth, calculated pass on lap 18 saw Dungey slide beneath and past Peick for third, which he would hold on to until the checkered flag.

At the finish, Tomac enjoyed a seven-second lead as he notched his first-ever 450 Supercross win aboard his Brian Kranz-tuned Honda CRF450R. Roczen was second over Dungey, while Peick, Millsaps, Anderson, Short, Canard, Weimer and Reed rounded out the top 10.

"That was an awesome, respectful race with Roczen," said Tomac. "That's what racing is all about. We had an amazing race, to say the least. Halfway through, I thought, 'Man, we are going for it!' That was definitely a battle to the very end."

"I didn't feel too good coming into the main, but I had a good battle with Eli," said Roczen, who extended his series point lead. "He beat me straight up, but I will take a podium tonight. Overall, I am happy."

"I wish I could have made the pass for third earlier in the race," said Dungey. "I had it lined up a few times, but I couldn't make it happen until the end. I lost a lot of ground in the beginning of the race, but I kept plugging away and made the most of it."

Main Event Results
1. Eli Tomac
2. Ken Roczen
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Weston Peick
5. Davi Millsaps
6. Jason Anderson
7. Andrew Short
8. Trey Canard
9. Jake Weimer
10. Chad Reed
11. Justin Barcia
12. Broc Tickle
13. Blake Baggett
14. Cole Seely
15. Justin Brayton
16. Brett Metcalfe
17. Dean Wilson
18. Mike Alessi
19. Josh Grant
20. Jimmy Albertson
21. Kyle Partridge
22. AJ Catanzaro
Monster Energy Supercross 450 Championship Points Standings (After 2 of 17 rounds):
1. Ken Roczen 47pts/1 win
2. Ryan Dungey 38pts
3. Jason Anderson 37pts
4. Trey Canard 33pts
5. Weston Peick 32pts
6. Andrew Short 30pts
7. Eli Tomac 26pts/1 win
8. Justin Barcia 25pts
9. Broc Tickle 22pts
10. Jake Weimer 22pts