SAN DIEGO — Despite rain and mud Saturday night at San Diego’s Petco Park, Kawasaki riders posted a double victory in round five of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross campaign.
Eli Tomac grabbed his first victory of the season and moved into the 450 class point lead, while Adam Cianciarulo picked up his third consecutive Western Regional 250 triumph.
Supercross is a ‘rain or shine’ event, and the weather hit late afternoon with a downpour that soaked the track. These conditions often produce a surprise winner, but in the 450SX Class they allowed one of the favorites, Tomac, to ride to a confident win in front of the 39,840 fans who watched during clear skies — there was no rain once the evening racing was underway, causing the mud to tack up and stick to riders and machines.
Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen who jumped out with the holeshot, but within a couple corners a bobble allowed Tomac by. In the early laps Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS’ Justin Bogle kept the number three bike in sight but never closed enough to threaten it.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia’s high-revving style seemed to have gotten the best of his bike and it stopped atop one of the tricky, rutted jumps.
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Chad Reed, who’s won the San Diego Supercross six times, was off to a sixth-place start and looking strong in the mud. After a mid-pack start Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin was picking off riders quickly. Then on the downside of a small jump out of a corner Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb went over the bars; he was back to ninth when he got his bike back up and going again.
Over the closing laps of the race Roczen got past Bogle for second. But the man on the move was Musquin, who got past Roczen just one corner before the checkered flag. Crowd favorite Chad Reed finished the race fifth, marking his 159th career top five.
The race was shortened to 15 minutes plus one lap due to the conditions.
“I had a really comfortable lead … for a lot of the race and then got hung up on a Tuff Block after the whoops,” Tomac explained. “[I] had to stop, pull it off, and then, yeah, a couple guys [were] down the last couple of laps there so that was crazy. So, gosh, just what an exciting day. It’s a good day, especially for these conditions. I just felt comfortable all day, so this was a pretty special day and it’s so cool to get that red plate.”
Musquin’s second place finish moved him from fourth in the points into a tie for second.
“I didn’t get a great start, and man my helmet got so heavy with all the mud,” the Frenchman said. “It was getting so sticky. I think I did the last lap with my eyes closed. My goggles were full of mud. I tried to scrape it and then luckily the roll-off was working after that. And then I just tried to make passes and try to be consistent, not crash, and stay on two wheels. That’s what I did.”
After the race, Roczen was both upset that he dropped a position at the end, but happy to get through a major mud race tied for second in the points.
“I got a perfect start, I really jumped out of the gate, hooked up great,” Roczen said. “Almost went down in the first turn actually it was really slippery. I threw it away in the second turn over there which I couldn’t believe it because this could have been it, having a clear track there for a little bit could have really helped.”
“I went back to fourth or fifth or something and my helmet got super heavy with all the mud; since it didn’t rain any more it got tacky mud on there. And I got passed literally on the last straightaway here. It was just a big mess out there with lappers and these crazy conditions. I’m not happy that I got passed there and went from second to third, but on this kind of night, it can be very, very hurtful for you for the championship so we’re only four points behind and it’s all good.”