Each year the Monster Energy Supercross series hosts a Military Appreciation Night. San Diego is a military town, with seven bases nearby, so it makes a great venue to display admiration and thanks to the service members of our military. The event, round six this year, has become a showcase of special riding gear and bike graphics by the gear companies and race teams.
This past Saturday the camouflage and military aircraft-themed gear and bikes delivered some great on-track racing. KTM's Cooper Webb, who earned his first 450SX Class championship last season, had been winless in 2020 until San Diego, where he stalked premiere class rookie, Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo for 21 laps in the 25-Lap Main Event. Each pass attempt by Webb slowed both riders, allowing KTM rider Blake Baggett, running in third, an opportunity to close the distance to potentially create a three-way battle for the victory.
Webb, four years into the premiere 450SX Class, strategically held off on more attacks until late in the race. Following the two whoop sections, where racers jump through or skim tall bumps like a rock skipping over water, Webb pulled alongside Cianciarulo in the track's only sand turn, drag raced him down the next rhythm section of five peaky jumps, then squared up the corner and cut across in front of Cianciarulo to protect the inside line going into the next corner.
It was great racecraft from the defending champion whose 2020 performance prior to this round had raised questions by fans – and even his own team – if he would be able to retain the number one plate. The series now heads back east, where North Carolina-native Webb should perform even stronger; but the Tampa round is nearly a hometown race to all as Florida has become the training center for the majority of the top racers.
In a season of four winners in six rounds, and with only nine points separating the top three athletes, the only certainty is that anything can happen. The next round takes place Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
450SX Class Results – San Diego
1. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM
2. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
5. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha
6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
7. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda
8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
9. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Honda
10. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
450SX Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (130)
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (129)
3. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM (121)
4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (116)
5. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (113)
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna (105)
7. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (90)
8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda (90)
9. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (89)
10. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (75)