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Images from the Supercross event in East Rutherford, NJ
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Monster Energy Riders Hold Station on the Supercross Podium in New Jersey

Apr 292019

It’s crunch time in Monster Energy Supercross. A grueling winter season is nearing completion, and the world’s best riders made their final eastward journey this past weekend in East Rutherford. MetLife Stadium has been the site of some incredible and wild races since it debuted on the championship schedule in 2014, and tensions were high for the penultimate stop of the 2019 season.

In the 450SX Class, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac brought back-to-back wins into the New York area. The hottest rider in supercross was hitting his stride at the right time, doing everything he could to close the deficit in the title fight. A third consecutive victory for Tomac would not only allow him to gain more ground, but it would also put even more pressure on point leader Cooper Webb.

As expected, Tomac put himself in a winning position in the Main Event. A good start put him in the hunt for the lead, where he was able to stalk Webb for first place for several laps. Tomac soon made his move and then strategically looked to control the pace out front, where he hoped to bunch the leaders together and potentially cause Webb to lose more positions.

The track inside MetLife Stadium was one of the most technical and challenging of the season, and as the race wore on Tomac found himself with a relatively comfortable lead. Unfortunately, a miscue in the whoops put the Kawasaki rider on the ground and dropped him off the podium in fourth. He quickly remounted and put on a charge for the remainder of the Main Event. A race win was still within reach as Tomac stormed past Blake Baggett and Zach Osborne to move into second, where he was by far the fastest rider on the track. However, in his push to track down the lead Tomac suffered the same exact hiccup, which ultimately left him to settle for a hard-to-swallow third-place finish.

"That was something else, you know. I somehow managed to do that exact same move twice during that race. Just jumped in the rut there, as I was watching on the replay, my weight was too far right both times when I landed in the rut and then the notches got me, and I go into the same exact Tuff Blox. So disappointing… I could maybe get away with one of those, but both wasn't gonna do it tonight. So, just giving everything I had. I mean, that's all I could do, right? Trying to stay in the front but a couple of mistakes got me... that was tough... That was my whole goal to keep this [title fight going] to the next race and we did that.” 

While the odds are stacked against Tomac entering the season finale in Las Vegas, there is still a shot at the one title that has eluded the world’s fastest rider. All bets are off, and Tomac knows there’s only one thing left for him to do in Sin City.

“It’s not over, that’s why we line up each week; so we’ll head to Vegas next week and I’ll continue to give it my best effort.”

In the 250SX East Region, all eyes were on championship leader Austin Forkner. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider had been in a class of his own all season on the east coast, but a crash at the previous round in Nashville had left him on the mend with a major knee injury, and a slim point lead. There was no doubt that Forkner was going to line up in East Rutherford, regardless of the pain he was in, and his resiliency was nothing short of impressive.

Things were working out as well as they could in the Main Event and Forkner was in control of his own destiny, sitting ahead of primary championship rival Chase Sexton. Unfortunately, a slight, otherwise harmless bobble put too much pressure on Forkner’s knee and forced him out of the race. It also signaled what will likely be a heartbreaking end to his championship hopes. In his absence, Monster Energy riders Martin Davalos, Mitchell Oldenburg and Justin Cooper put the pressure on Sexton. While the trio came up just short of adding another win to Monster’s haul this season, the Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing teammates of Oldenburg and Cooper landed on the podium.

450SX Class

The day started off relatively unassuming for the Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates of Tomac and Joey Savatgy. The rookie ended up leading the way for Monster with the third-fastest lap, and was closely followed by Tomac in fourth. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Josh Grant rounded things out in 11th.

 

In the first Heat Race, Tomac took it easy and kept his focus on the Main Event. He led off the start and controlled the majority of the race. A late move by Justin Bogle came with little fanfare, as Tomac was more focused on what lied ahead and happily secured a runner-up finish.

 

In the second Heat Race, Savatgy put himself in the mix immediately after starting fourth. He mixed it up with the likes of Justin Brayton and Webb, but misfortune struck halfway through the race and left Savatgy doing all he could just to salvage a transfer spot. While Grant was able to ride to a solid fifth-place finish, Savatgy’s comeback left him a spot shy of the Main Event in 10th and forced a trip to the LCQ.

 

Fortunately, Savatgy took care of business with ease in the LCQ. He started up front and never looked back, punching his ticket to the Main Event.

 

When the gate dropped on the Main Event, it was Webb who grabbed the holeshot and assumed the early lead. Tomac started inside the top three as well and slotted into second right away. He was all over Webb for the opening couple laps, hoping to force a mistake, but Webb’s conservative riding minimized those risks. Tomac easily took control of the lead and looked to be well on his way to victory until his issue in the whoops altered the course of the race.

 

Savatgy was also forced to rebound from misfortune in the Main Event, after a misjudgment in a rhythm lane left him on the ground. He minimized the amount of positions he lost in the incident and did well to maintain a spot inside the top 10 for the rest of the race. The same can be said for Grant, who enjoyed his best race of the season since returning to action several weeks ago. After starting outside the top 10, Grant fought his way forward and ended up right behind Savatgy in the late stages of the race.

 

Tomac’s up and down journey to a third-place finish led the way for the Monster Energy squad, while both Savatgy and Grant put all three riders inside the top 10 with finishes of seventh and eighth, respectively.

 

Tomac sits 23 points behind Webb entering the Las Vegas finale next weekend.

 

450SX Class Results
1. Cooper Webb, KTM
2. Zach Osborne, Husqvarna
3. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki
4. Blake Baggett, KTM
5. Marvin Musquin, KTM
7. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki 
8. Josh Grant, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing

 

450SX Class Standings
1. Cooper Webb, KTM - 358
2. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 335
3. Marvin Musquin, KTM - 327
4. Ken Roczen, Honda - 300
5. Blake Baggett, KTM - 274
7. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 208
10. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 154
16. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 123
26. Josh Grant, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 34

250SX East Region

What ultimately turned into a career-best performance for Oldenburg began in the afternoon in East Rutherford, where he ended up just a tenth shy of claiming the fastest lap of qualifying. Despite everything he was dealing with, Forkner lost little speed and followed with the third-fastest lap. Davalos and Cooper were both solidly in the top 10 as well, in sixth and seventh.

 

Things got off to a flying start for Monster Energy in the first Heat Race, as Davalos and Oldenburg put on a show for the fans. Davalos began the race with the lead and maintained it for half the heat, until Oldenburg wrestled it away from his fellow Monster athlete and carried on to the first Heat Race win of his career.

 

In the second Heat Race, both Forkner and Cooper focused on staying out of trouble. Both riders slotted into the top five and showed tremendous patience on a truly difficult track. Forkner’s first taste of race experience on his knee saw him secure a solid fourth-place finish, while Cooper followed right behind in fifth.

 

As expected, Forkner was the focal point of the Main Event and hopes were high when he made an aggressive pass on Sexton to take over second and give chase to Davalos. With the Pro Circuit duo up front there was a thought of potential strategy that would play out, but Forkner’s heartbreak dashed any hopes of that.

 

Davalos controlled the race for nearly half of the Main Event, chasing back-to-back wins. However, a slight bobble in the whoops allowed Sexton to attack and dropped Davalos to second. Behind him, the Star Yamaha teammates were going at it, and soon they found themselves within striking distance of Davalos. Oldenburg was on a mission and he passed both Cooper and Davalos on the same lap to take over second. Cooper was also able to get the better of Davalos and move into third.

 

Sexton went on to take his first win, while Oldenburg capped off a breakthrough outing in the runner-up spot. Cooper put a pair of Monster Energy riders on the podium in third, while Davalos just missed out on the podium in fourth.

 

With Forkner’s DNF, Cooper moved into second in the championship standings and sits nine points behind Sexton heading into the East/West Shootout next weekend.

 

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Chase Sexton, Honda 
2. Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing
3. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing 
4. Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki 
5. Brandon Hartranft, Yamaha
22. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

 

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Standings
1. Chase Sexton, Honda - 174
2. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing - 165
3. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 152
4. Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 134
5. Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing - 128

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