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Images from the 2020 SX Anaheim 1
NEWS

Tomac Takes First Win of 2020 at Anaheim

Jan 212020

We knew it was only a matter of time. For the past three seasons, no one in Monster Energy Supercross has enjoyed more victories than Eli Tomac, so when he took home a dominant win last Saturday night at Anaheim 2 it wasn’t much of a surprise. While the 2020 campaign got off to a bit of a slower start than he would have hoped, with finishes of 7th and 4th at the first two rounds, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was poised to break out at any moment. We got a glimpse of Tomac’s confidence in his heat race, and it carried over into the Main Event, where he was able to overcome an average start to track down the leader and run away from the field for the 28th victory of his career.

It was a statement win for Tomac, who is about as close to a championship-or-bust kind of situation in supercross as anyone could be. With 24 of his 28 wins coming since 2017, it’s shocking to think that the Colorado native is still in search of that elusive first title. While Tomac has put in all the work to trail only Chad Reed as the winningest active rider in the sport, he’s had to sit back and watch the past three championships go to Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, and Cooper Webb.

For all of his successes, bad luck has also seemed to follow Tomac in the most inopportune ways. Whether it was a faulty front brake in 2017, a bum shoulder in 2018, or a single finish outside the top 10 in 2019, it has seemed each championship shortcoming can be tied to one specific moment. With the chip on his shoulder getting bigger with each passing season, Tomac’s patience will last for only so long.

Adding to his motivation coming into the 2020 season was the addition of high profile rookie Adam Cianciarulo. After missing out on back-to-back Monster Energy Cup victories to his teammate, Tomac was well aware of the talent alongside him under the Monster Energy Kawasaki tent. Traditionally, when two ultra-talented riders compete for the same team, it pushes the overall performance of the squad to a higher level. For proof, look no further than KTM a season ago. As a result, Tomac will need to be even better in 2020 if he indeed wants to break through and finally hoist the FIM World Championship trophy.

With Tomac’s realization of how big this season is for him, on top of the fact that he’s going to become a first-time father in May, what we saw inside Angel Stadium for Round 3 could be the beginning of a huge wave of momentum that has the potential to carry Tomac to a title. With 17 races in 18 weeks, there’s certainly more to lose than be gained on any given night, and that might explain the conservative results he posted through the first two rounds. The risk versus reward scenario should always be taken seriously throughout such a long, action-packed season, and by taking what he could get to start the season, Tomac is just five points from grabbing the red plate. It may have been a surprise to see him record a seventh inside the same stadium two weeks prior, but as they say, Monster Energy Supercross isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and now Tomac is right where he wants to be.

450SX Class

 

The most significant element of Tomac’s victory was how he got there. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him “feeling it” on a supercross track, but that’s exactly what happened at A2. No matter where he started, nothing was going to keep the No. 3 from making his way to the front. He started the Main Event in 10th and needed just three laps to move into a podium position. From there, everyone ahead of him was a sitting duck. He was simply faster at every point on the track and didn’t have to ride over his head to get there. It’s a scary proposition for his competitors if his confidence stays at this level.

 

While Tomac has officially got his season on the right track, Cianciarulo’s confidence aboard the 450cc also continues to be readily apparent. The rookie has posted the fastest qualifying time at each of the first three rounds, and he’s consistently put himself near the front after virtually every gate drop. While his results haven’t exactly been an indication of how well he’s riding, Cianciarulo is already a key player in the title fight and is going to make Monster Energy Kawasaki the most formidable tandem in all of supercross.

 

With incredible 1-2 finishes to start the year, Justin Barcia was the bright spot of the early supercross season. “Bam Bam” came into the year feeling rejuvenated, and it showed by taking the 450SX Class by storm to control the early point lead. However, at A2 he and his Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team were just a bit off. Barcia never really had a chance to mix things up near the front, and that forced him into management mode, simply looking to maximize points. As the night wore on the whoops became the story of the event, where the race was won or lost for a large swath of riders. Unfortunately, Barcia was one of those riders who just struggled to get through and it resulted in a solid, yet disappointing ninth-place finish given how stellar he performed at the first two rounds.

 

While no Monster Energy rider will carry the red plate into the next round, Barcia sits just three points out of the lead in second, followed by Tomac in third, five points behind the leader. Cianciarulo is well within reach of the top spot as well, 10 points out of the lead in fifth.

 

450SX Class Results

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki

2. Ken Roczen, Honda

3. Cooper Webb, KTM

6. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy Kawasaki

9.​Justin Barcia, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing

15. ​Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing

 

450SX Class Standings

1. Ken Roczen, Honda - 66

2. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing - 63

3. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 61

5.​Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 56

14. ​Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing - 32

250SX Class

 

While the path to victory may not always be pretty, in all sports they like to say a win’s a win. That couldn’t be a more accurate way to describe the first checkered flag of 2020 for Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis. It’d been a bit of a roller coaster start to the season for the reigning 250SX West Region Champion, and things weren’t looking great to start the Anaheim 2 Main Event. However, the determined, hard-nosed Frenchman did everything he could to claw his way up to the front, courting some controversy along the way, to capture a much-needed win at this early stage of an already abbreviated regional championship.

 

After failing to record a top-10 for the first time since 2018, Ferrandis came into A2 facing a double-digit deficit to teammate Justin Cooper. No matter what, Ferrandis needed to find a way to gain ground if he wanted to keep his hopes of a title defense alive, so he let it all hang out after starting seventh in the Main Event. Already one of the fastest riders in the class, Ferrandis’ ability to come through the field is something we’ve become accustomed to, and when he found his way into third after just two laps, it wasn’t much of a surprise. However, virtually everything that took place throughout the remainder of the Main Event was as wild as it could get.

 

An aggressive move on Christian Craig for second place put Ferrandis and Craig on the ground just past the halfway point of the race, and ultimately ended Craig’s night. Ferrandis soldiered on, and officials considered taking action, but he was eventually cleared of any penalties. A second-place looked to be well in hand until Jett Lawrence crashed while leading and saw his double-digit margin shrink to mere bike lengths. As the 16-year-old struggled to regain his composure, a wily Ferrandis smelled blood in the water and went on the attack. It took until the final lap, but the Frenchman was able to get around his teenage counterpart and carry on to what seemed like an unlikely victory.

 

To make matters sweeter for Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing, Cooper gave the team it’s second 1-2 sweep of the season after Lawrence crashed out on the tail end of the last lap. While both riders were able to enjoy the thrill of being on the box, their journey there was anything but pretty, and Ferrandis was later reprimanded by the AMA and placed on a 12-month probation.

 

Lost in all the chaos was a heartbreaking night for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner. One week after earning a dominant victory, Forkner became one of many victims claimed by the track’s treacherous whoops. The speedy young rider was enjoying an otherwise uneventful, yet solid outing, but in a matter of moments, everything turned upside down, leaving Forkner to salvage a 17th-place finish and suffer a major blow in the championship standings.

 

If A2 was an indication of what lies ahead, we’re in for a lot of fireworks with these 250SX Class riders.

 

Western Regional 250SX Class Results

1. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing

2. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing

3. Brandon Hartranft, KTM

17.​Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

 

Western Regional 250SX Class Standings

1. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing - 72

2. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing - 60

3. Brandon Hartranft, KTM - 58

4. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 50

19.​Cameron McAdoo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 17

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