Rice-Eccles Stadium provided ideal conditions for great Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship racing at Round 14 Presented by Oakley, with multiple position changes on the track and in the championship points in each class.
Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb grabbed his tenth career 450SX Class win, his third of the season, after a tight battle that lasted for most of the race; the win moves Webb to second in the points standings. Second place went to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Zach Osborne, matching his personal best finish and netting him his first four-in-a-row top-five finishes. Points leader Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac recovered from a bad start to thread his way through a dozen other riders to grab the final podium position.
In the first appearance of the Western Regional 250SX Class in 123 days, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Austin Forkner returned to his winning ways at Salt Lake City for his third victory of the season.
Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen grabbed the 450SX Main Event holeshot but Cooper Webb snuck around and into the lead in the second corner. Webb, coming off a near-win at Round 13, and Roczen, who's admitted to struggling with a physical ailment, both had something to prove and points to gain over series leader Tomac, who was buried back in 15th place. Tomac began picking off riders, but not at a desperate pace, which allowed the pack to thin through the opening laps as Webb and Roczen broke free.
Webb was able to anticipate Roczen's passing lines and keep his KTM ahead of the Honda until Roczen made his big push six and half minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race. Roczen briefly got his bike ahead of Webb's front wheel twice inside the span of a couple dozen seconds. Webb managed to battle back past each time and hold the lead for this tenth career win and also a career-best sixth consecutive season podium. Roczen stayed on Webb's rear fender for a few more laps but fell off the pace at about the race midpoint, and shortly after surrendered the position to Zach Osborne. Meanwhile, Tomac never stopped his steady drive forward and put his Kawasaki into third just as the race clock zeroed out. Roczen finished the race in fifth, which allowed Webb to take second from him in the championship standings.
After the second-ever Wednesday night Monster Energy Supercross, of which Cooper Webb has won both, Webb said,
"Every win is awesome. It was a great race. I got a [near] holeshot and led, I think, every lap which is the first time I've been able to do that this year, which is awesome. Man, it was cool. Kenny was really riding well at the beginning. We were putting in some heaters and I just started riding and really hitting my stride. I might've made a few mistakes and he was able to - you know we battled there for a sec - and I kinda regained focus and I was able to ride my laps. I'm not sure what happened but I ended up getting a decent lead and that was nice. It feels like these first three [in Utah] we've been battling all the way until the last lap. So, it was cool to be able to kinda enjoy that one a little bit more, not so stressful."
The Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event felt like a season opener to many of the racers who had last battled 123 days prior. From the start it was Austin Forkner seizing the lead position, breaking away from the pack, and never contending with a serious challenge for the win. Points leader Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing's Dylan Ferrandis landed a top five start but was not able to keep the early pace of Forkner, who raced with a clear track in front of him. Forkner's Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Cameron Mcadoo was on the move early, putting his Kawasaki into second and what would have been a points buffer for Forkner. But by the race's end, Ferrandis had made his way past and into a second-place finish. Ferrandis' Monster Energy / Star Yamaha Racing teammate, Justin Cooper, was just off the podium in fourth. The points change dropped Cooper to third and moved Forkner into second with only one more Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event and the East/West Showdown left to race in 2020.
Forkner was able keep well ahead of Ferrandis after losing the lead to him in races earlier in the season. When asked after the race what made the difference, Forkner answered,
"Robbie Reynard at Reynard Training Complex. He's been working us hard and I think it shows. It's been the hottest race of the season [for the Western Regional 250SX Class] and also at altitude. I think everybody can agree this is probably one of the toughest races of the season. The track was good, though. Whoops were pretty cupped out there. At about the eight to twelve-minute mark I kinda was being too cautious through them. Then at the end, the last lap, I hit 'em super good. I think that's what it was going to take. I knew that I wasn't going to make a mistake other than in the whoops so I just gripped and held on. It was awesome. I gotta give it up to my whole team."
The accelerated-calendar 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season continues with Round 15 taking place this Sunday at 7:00 PM ET. The race will provide another chance for Webb to chip further away at Tomac's 27-point lead with only three rounds remaining. Sunday will also mark the final regular-season race of the Western Regional 250SX Class, where the points lead is down to ten and the title looks likely to be determined in the season-finale East/West Showdown. The race will air live on NBCSN and on the NBC Sports Gold app. See the Schedule page for more details.