DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — On a Saturday night that honored history, Eli Tomac made some of his own at Daytona Int’l Speedway, winning the 50th annual Daytona Supercross.
Tomac, aboard a Kawasaki, became the fourth rider to win the Daytona Supercross four times. His other titles came in 2016, ’17 and ’19.
Saturday’s victory did not come easy. Tomac fell behind Ken Roczen early in the 20-minute/plus one lap race, with the gap growing to nearly nine seconds at one point. With less than two minutes left before the white-flag lap, Tomac completed a long, steady comeback by taking the lead when Roczen’s Honda bobbled slightly in a tight turn and Roczen nearly went down.
Roczen, from nearby Clermont, Fla., rallied late to finish second, only .707 seconds behind Tomac. Defending series champion Cooper Webb, also from Clermont, Fla., finished third on his KTM. The 1-2-3 finish also mirrored the current standings in in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX class.
“Tonight it was just a little bit of patience in the beginning because the pace was hard early on,” Tomac said. “Somewhere about halfway I realized I had to get going and make the moves and the passes. It was tough to make up the time. Gosh, that was close.
“Big night. We’re in a really good spot in the points, a spot we haven’t been in. So, we’ll just keep trucking along.”
Prior to the headlining 450SX main event, the 250SX main was won by Garrett Marchbanks on a Kawasaki. Marchbanks rode a holeshot start to an early, sizable lead and a dominating victory – the first of his career in 250SX competition.
Honda riders Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin finished second and third.
“I hadn’t gotten a holeshot in I don’t know how long,” Marchbanks said. “I rode smart, after I got out front I rode some good laps. You know, [it’s] don’t look back [at that point], just keep on going.”
The Daytona Supercross was first held in the Daytona Int’l Speedway infield in 1971 and the course for the 50th annual event, designed by five-time Daytona Supercross champion Ricky Carmichael, had a throwback feel. That nod to history included elements from past courses such as an over-the-wall jump, a Daytona tunnel jump and grass on some portions of the racing surface.
In line with the evening’s historical theme, a number of past Daytona Supercross champions attended and were introduced during pre-race ceremonies, including the winner of the inaugural Daytona Supercross in 1971, Swedish motorcycle legend Gunnar Lindstrom.