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Images from the Denver Supercross, round 16 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series in Denver, Colorado.
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Eli Tomac Wins 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship!

May 022022

In front of a boisterous hometown Colorado crowd numbering in excess of 40,000, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Eli Tomac wrapped up the premier 450cc class Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship, his second overall career title, with a 5th place main event finish at Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday. Tomac won the championship one race early in the 17-round season despite a valiant effort from Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson, who dominated Denver, winning his 4th main event in a row and sixth on the season.

Tomac, who grew up in nearby Cortez, Colo., was elated on the podium. Cheered on massively by friends and family who turned out in numbers enough to fill an entire seating section at Empower Field, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Tomac hoisted the AMA No. 1 plate and championship trophy aloft as the place went berserk.

“This is truly unbelievable,” said an elated Tomac. “It’s been in my dreams to make this happen. I messed up my knee in Atlanta, so that’s why my racing was subpar the last few rounds. But we were able to make it happen. Thanks to my team, Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha, my family, my friends, and the fans. … I LOVE YOU DENVER!”

Anderson, for his part, gave Tomac everything the champ could handle. Had it not been for Anderson’s wreck in Detroit, Monster Energy AMA Supercross would be heading into Salt Lake City next weekend with the championship on the line.

“The win tonight’s a little bittersweet,” said Anderson atop the podium. “But congrats to Eli. We’ve been racing each other since we were eight years old and he’s tough to beat.”

In 250 class racing Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Christian Craig also had a chance to clinch his class (WSX) a race early, but a crash at the 10:07 mark of the 250 main relegated Craig back to 7th place. And though he battled back powerfully to a podium 3rd place finish, Craig leaves Denver with an 18-point lead (over Honda’s  Hunter Lawrence) and will have to earn what would be his first SX championship next weekend in Salt Lake City.

450 Main Event Play by Play

 

Sexton would pull the holeshot and take the early lead in the Denver main event, followed by Tomac in 2nd and Anderson - who started in 4th and moved up to 3rd by the end of the opening lap. With Monster Energy-backed racers running 1st (Sexton), 2nd (Tomac), and 3rd (Anderson), Sexton would bobble coming out of the whoop section, allowing Tomac to take over the lead. Sideways and stuck up against some signage, Anderson would come around and appeared to possibly graze Sexton’s bike, who’s which dropped to the ground. With Tomac upfront and Anderson in 2nd, Sexton would re-mount all the way back in 8th place. A lap later, and with the overall championship on top of his thoughts, Tomac let the charging Anderson by – something he’d do with other racers throughout the remainder of the main event. … The confident Anderson upfront would check out early, leaving no doubt who the fastest racer was at Denver. … Sexton would put a charge on towards the podium as well, passing defending SX champ Webb for 6th, then inheriting 5th when Barcia went down. Tomac would gift Sexton 4th place towards the end and that’s where they’d finish, Anderson in 1st, Sexton in 4th, and Tomac in 5th – with the overall championship in hand!

 

Said Anderson: “I want to come back and win it next year. That’s what we do. We race dirt bikes.”

 

Noteworthy: Tomac’s 450cc class overall championship was the first title for Yamaha since James Stewart won in 2009.

250 Main Event Play by Play

 

Craig didn’t hold back on the start, going bar-to-bar with the field into the first turn and coming out in 2nd place behind Lawrence. … “I would rather be where Christian Craig is right now. Try and pressure him (Lawrence) into a mistake,” said race announcer Ricky Carmichael. At the 12:33 mark, Craig was all over Lawrence, Shimoda moving up to 6th, and Thrasher within sight of the top ten (11th). … No sooner did Craig show Lawrence a front fender in a turn – BAM! – Craig’s down in the sand section. Crossed his bike up jumped into the sand, landed sideways, and went down. From 2nd to 7th place in an instant. … Shimoda quickly moved up to 3rd place following Craig’s crash, Thrasher into 10th at the 8:41 mark. … Undaunted, Craig mounted a chargeback towards the podium – gaining a point-per-rider he passed. … Five seconds back of Shimoda for the 3rd podium position, Craig got past Garrett Marchbanks (Yamaha) for 4th with 5:39 plus one lap remaining in the contest. … At the 4:53 mark, Craig had moved up to three seconds back of Shimoda, quickly shaving off seconds before he was poised to pass the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racer. … Craig’s pass on Shimoda would be immediately answered by Shimoda, who passed the 250 WSX points leader right back. … Craig finally caught Shimoda where he does a good share of his passing – in the whoop section – and make this pass stick at the 1:11 mark. … With two laps to go, Craig, now in 3rd, was three seconds back of Michael Mosiman (Gas Gas) but was unable to make up further ground. The final 250 results from Denver had Craig on the box in 3rd, and more importantly, 18 points up on Lawrence with one race remaining for the 250 WSX overall championship. Shimoda raced strong for 4th and Thrasher snuck into the top ten in 9th.

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