The concluding seven rounds will be held two-a-week at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, the competitors thrilled to resume racing today after an 85-day hiatus caused by the pandemic.
The first 10 rounds were successfully staged before the lock-down and, after the long break, riders were itching to get back into action at round 11 in Utah today.
Series leader and Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac won the main event today and put an eight-point gap between himself and Germany’s Ken Roczen (Honda), who finished in third place in the main event behind Tomac and defending champion Cooper Webb (KTM).
“That was huge for us,” Tomac said. “Let me back up a bit, so cool to ride and race and do what we know. Track got slick and we were a little slow early on, a really good day for points.”
“I am okay” Roczen said. “I grabbed a good start but got bumped around a bit. The track was really blown out and I made a mistake near the end and nearly went down. I got third and need to regroup and come back.”
After both Tomac and Roczen won their heat races there was an anticipation going into the 450 main event and with hundreds of thousands watching around the world it was Blake Baggett who led from Vince Friese, Adam Ciancarulo, Justin Brayton, Tomac, Webb and Roczen back in eight place. Cianciarulo went down early and Roczen was all over Webb for the fourth position.
Webb was pushing Tomac hard and knew he had to get past the Kawasaki rider to make progress in the points race. As Baggett was walking away with the lead and Brayton held second, the championship battle was in third, fourth and fifth places.
Tomac made a small error and Webb nearly got him, and then a corner later did pass Tomac, then Roczen followed Webb past the Kawasaki boy. Roczen was all over Webb for third place, but the defending champion held his place.
Roczen made a mistake and Tomac moved past, and Baggett was three seconds ahead of Brayton, although Webb was suddenly into second place and chasing the leader. Tomac and Roczen both went past Brayton as they big three started chasing down the leader.
The lead was suddenly just two seconds and no doubt Baggett was going to feel the heat from the big three. Tomac into second and riding brilliantly, as he put Webb back into third, with Roczen fourth and Brayton fifth.
Tomac took the lead on lap 13 and quickly moved away from the others. Anderson went past Brayton and Roczen was pushing hard to get to Webb. Tomac looked very fast as he was putting down great lap times.
Webb and Roczen were all over Baggett and both passed him on lap 17. Osborne was pushing Anderson for fifth place and moved past on lap 18. Brayton dropped back to eight place with Martin Davalos going past.
19 laps in and the lead was 3.5 seconds as Webb continued to control Roczen to help Tomacs points lead. Osborne was also getting closer to Baggett for fourth place and moved into fourth on lap 20.
Webb started to close the gap on the lead, but Tomac responded and kept the lead around three seconds, while Roczen was a further two second behind Webb. 26 laps in and the lead was suddenly 4.2 seconds and Roczen was 6.6 seconds behind Tomac.
Roczen made a mistake but kept it on two wheels and remained in third place. Tomac won it from Webb and Roczen.
Photo courtesy Feld Entertainment
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Championship points after 11 of 17 rounds: