“Tomac, Webb, and Arizona Supercross”
By Broc Bridges
In 1986 Supercross made their first visit to the state of Arizona. Home of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, was set to host the penultimate round of an exciting Championship battle. Rick Johnson won the Main Event and clinched the Championship onboard a Factory Honda over teammate David Bailey. The next season Jeff Ward almost made it two clinches in a row for Tempe but fell short two points of a clinch over Rick Johnson. Supercross visited Tempe in 1991, 1997, and 1998 before moving to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and later Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium. There have been multiple interesting rounds, stats, and facts about Supercross racing in the Grand Canyon State.
Chase Field immediately became a Supercross mainstay through the careers of some of the greatest legends in the sport’s history. Hosting 17 years in a row through the 2015 season Chase Field saw Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, and Eli Tomac, among others, take victories. Chad Reed is the only Champion during this era that never won in Chase Field in 14 attempts. He scored eight podiums and 11 top five finishes in his Chase Field career finishing runner-up in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2017. In 2010 Dungey scored his first 450SX Class victory in the second round of his rookie season. He would earn the Championship for Suzuki winning five more races that season. Other multi-time Supercross Champions scored their first win in Arizona, notably Tomac and Webb scoring their first 450SX (Tomac) and 250SX (Webb) Class wins on the same night in 2015.
In 2011 Tomac earned his first 250SX Class victory in San Diego and then Salt Lake City, only falling short in the Western Regional Championship by six points to Broc Tickle. He won the Western Regional the following season but fell short to Ken Roczen in his title defense attempt in 2013. He made his 450SX Class debut in 2014 only making nine starts and placing 13th in the point standings, winning no rounds. In the 250SX Class Webb was also making his debut in 2014 250SX Class racing. He also did not collect a victory but picked up three podiums and finished fifth in the Western Regional Championship. In 2015 both riders were competing in their second seasons of their respective classes with high expectations. In the Anaheim Opener Tomac surprised everyone with the fastest qualifying lap time and won his Heat Race. Unfortunately, the Main Event did not go Tomac’s way as he crashed multiple times and finished 20th. Webb was the fastest qualifier in the 250SX Class, finished third in his Heat Race, and struggled to a seventh in the Main Event. Both riders were looking for redemption in Chase Field, the second round of the season for both 450SX Class and Western Regional 250SX Class racing. In the final Supercross race held in Chase Field these two riders would score their first wins in their respective classes. Tomac was the 57th different 450SX Class winner at the time and Webb was the 98th different 250SX Class winner. It was only the ninth time in Supercross history where athletes scored first time wins on the same night, something that has only happened once since (2022 San Diego, Michael Mosiman and Chase Sexton). It is the only occurrence where same night first time winners eventually won 450SX Class titles. Nine years later, Webb and Tomac are teammates and Championship rivals.
In 2016 Supercross moved from Phoenix to Glendale’s State Farm Stadium. Eli Tomac has been completely dominant winning four of seven in State Farm, with second, third, and fourth place finishes in the three rounds he did not win. After his 2023 Glendale Triple Crown overall victory Tomac became the winningest rider in Arizona’s 450SX Class history by one over Carmichael and Stewart. Adding in 250SX Class victories, Tomac and Stewart are tied with six. Overall Arizona has an underrated Supercross history, with important battles and moments from Sun Devil Stadium to Chase Field, and into State Farm Stadium. 2024 marks the 30th time Supercross will visit Arizona and it looks to be an integral round of the 2024 Championships.