Cooper Webb Delivers In Utah

Cooper Webb (1) battles Ken Roczen at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Feld Entertainment photo)
Cooper Webb (1) battles Ken Roczen at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Feld Entertainment photo)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Rice-Eccles Stadium provided ideal conditions for great Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship during round 14 of the season Wednesday night.

Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb grabbed his 10th career 450SX Class win, his third of the season, after a tight battle that lasted for most of the race. The victory moves Webb to second in the standings behind Eli Tomac.

Second place went to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne, matching his personal best finish and netting him his first four-in-a-row top-five finishes. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac recovered from a bad start to thread his way through a dozen other riders to grab the final podium position.

Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen grabbed the 450SX Main Event holeshot but Cooper Webb snuck around and into the lead in the second corner. Webb, coming off a near-win at Round 13, and Roczen, who’s admitted to struggling with a physical ailment, both had something to prove and points to gain over series leader Tomac, who was buried back in 15th place. Tomac began picking off riders, but not at a desperate pace, which allowed the pack to thin through the opening laps as Webb and Roczen broke free.

Webb was able to anticipate Roczen’s passing lines and keep his KTM ahead of the Honda until Roczen made his big push six and half minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race. Roczen briefly got his bike ahead of Webb’s front wheel twice inside the span of a couple dozen seconds.

Webb managed to battle back past each time and hold the lead for this tenth career win and also a career-best sixth consecutive season podium. Roczen stayed on Webb’s rear fender for a few more laps but fell off the pace at about the race midpoint, and shortly after surrendered the position to Zach Osborne.

Meanwhile, Tomac never stopped his steady drive forward and put his Kawasaki into third just as the race clock zeroed out. Roczen finished the race in fifth, which allowed Webb to take second from him in the championship standings.

“Every win is awesome,” Webb said. “It was a great race. I got a [near] holeshot and led, I think, every lap which is the first time I’ve been able to do that this year, which is awesome. Man, it was cool. Kenny was really riding well at the beginning. We were putting in some heaters and I just started riding and really hitting my stride. I might’ve made a few mistakes and he was able to – you know we battled there for a sec – and I kinda regained focus and I was able to ride my laps. I’m not sure what happened but I ended up getting a decent lead and that was nice. It feels like these first three [in Utah] we’ve been battling all the way until the last lap. So, it was cool to be able to kinda enjoy that one a little bit more, not so stressful.”

In the first appearance of the Western Regional 250SX Class in 123 days, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner returned to his winning ways at Salt Lake City for his third victory of the season.

Forkner broke away from the pack and led throughout. Point leader Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis landed a top five start but was not able to keep the early pace of Forkner, who raced with a clear track in front of him.

Forkner’s Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Cameron Mcadoo was on the move early, putting his Kawasaki into second and what would have been a points buffer for Forkner. But by the race’s end, Ferrandis had made his way past and into a second-place finish. Ferrandis’ Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing teammate, Justin Cooper, was just off the podium in fourth. The points change dropped Cooper to third and moved Forkner into second with only one more Western Regional 250SX Class event and the East/West Showdown left to race in 2020.