2020 Salt Lake City Six Supercross | Race Preview
Title night? Maybe. The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series is almost over and today’s run of racing, the 2020 Salt Lake City Six Supercross, will be the next-to-last event in the seventeen-round championship. This time in Utah has been incredible, thanks largely in part to the close competition at the front of the pack in all three divisions (450 Class, 250 East Coast Region, 250 West Coast Region), and tonight could be a career-defining moment for a handful of riders.
The rotation between the East and West Regions continues at this race, as this last Wednesday Night SX in 2020 will bring the 250 East Coast riders back to the starting line.
TIME FOR TOMAC’S FIRST SX TITLE?
A win tonight would give Eli Tomac his first-ever 450 SX title. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider has avoided the massive mistakes and setbacks that have plagued him in the past through the previous fifteen rounds and his reward is the possibility to clinch with one race left in the series. Fast and always near the front in these Utah races, Tomac has taken two wins and not finished off of the podium in the last five races.
Always focused on the task at hand, it seems like Tomac is eager to get this thing over with as soon as possible. His demeanor after the previous race indicated that all of his attention is on getting to the lead as soon as he can so that he’s clear of anything Cooper Webb or Ken Roczen could try to delay a championship celebration. Expect ET3 to go for a win on Wednesday.
SECOND IN THE STANDINGS | ROCZEN OR WEBB
There’s a one-point difference between Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb for second place in the series standings. Roczen entered the Utah events with the better slot in the running order and was expected to contend with Tomac for the title, but struggled with asthma and other issues while Cooper Webb clicked off Main Event wins and hopped over him. Sunday’s race, which saw Roczen run away to a surprise win while Webb finished second, changed their rank once again and now Roczen holds the advantage.
To be runner-up in the final results (or Vice-Champion as the Euros like to say) is not something either guy hoped for coming into the Utah races. This was Roczen’s best chance at an SX title ever and Webb was determined to do anything he could to defend his number one plate from 2019. With Tomac almost out of reach, these two rivals will turn their attention on each other, because there’s still a lot of money and pride on the line. You never know, they could end up in a fight for a race win tonight.
OSBORNE | 450 CLASS FRONT RUNNER
Will we look back on these races as the turning point in Zach Osborne’s career? Struggles at the start of the season and a big crash just before the unplanned break put the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider in a hole, but he’s climbed out of that with a top-five at all five races held at Rice Eccles Stadium and two podium appearances. Osborne is riding “the big bike” better than ever and this progression puts him on a good path for the summer ahead.
One last thing about Osborne: he can be Webb’s biggest asset on the track if needed. Excellent starts have helped the Husqvarna rider get in the lead group early and he’s run with his training partner Webb, which has certainly slowed down or taken points away from Roczen and Tomac on different occasions.
Like we said on Sunday, there are at least a dozen dudes that we could talk about but don’t have the time to devote a few hundred words to all 70-something riders on the entry lists. Here are things to keep an eye on in the 450 Class.
Dean Wilson should once again be among the faster riders on Wednesday. It could be in Qualifying, the Heat Race, the Main Event, or all three. Either way, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has ridden closer to his potential here in Utah, something that is for sure credited to the recovery and training he was able to put in during the break. Remember, Wilson spent his 2020 preseason nursing a gnarly hip injury and was a surprise to see on the starting line at A1.
What Blake Baggett will we get? The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider has been up and down these last few races, evident in his qualifying pace, laps led at different times, and recent fourth-place result, but he is yet to put an entire day together. He and the team are trying some new things on the bike in these last few rounds, particularly with the setup of the WP suspension.
Malcolm Stewart has top-three speed. He’s proven that multiple times in the last few weeks but late-race passes by other riders have kept the SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda rider from taking home some podium hardware. With only two opportunities left in the year, Stewart has to go for it now.
Jason Anderson had a rough day at the office on Sunday. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider crashed on his own early in the Main Event and then got caught up in a pile-up with other guys later on. The DNF isn’t great, but it’s Anderson and he could bounce back with a podium appearance.
Benny Bloss was the surprise of Sunday’s race. For a few moments in the final Timed Qualifying session, the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider was the fastest in the field (he was bumped back to second place by Tomac’s top lap), and then backed it up by beating Dean Wilson in an excellent Heat Race battle. A run-in with Vince Friese held Bloss back in the Main Event and he finished outside the top-10 due to the time spent on the ground and the damage done to the motorcycle. Can Big Benny back it up on Wednesday?
SEXTON | 1E TITLE DEFENSE
Not that he has to prove anything to anyone, but this is Chase Sexton’s chance to silence those that say last year’s title was won by luck. The GEICO Honda rider has been solid in his defense of the 1E, as he was the most consistent rider in the first part of the season thanks to 2-1-1-2 finishes in the first four rounds and then 2-4-1 scores in the second part of the series. Although he considered the fourth-place at the SLC Two SX a setback, it actually has become a highlight of his season. If he didn’t push after the opening lap crash, there’s no promise he’d still hold a three-point lead coming into this last “normal” round. Finishing ahead of McElrath tonight will give him a larger buffer going into the Showdown.
Second 250 SX title or not, Sexton’s 450 career is confirmed to start next month with Team Honda HRC in the outdoor Nationals. But who wouldn’t want to wrap their 250 career up with back-to-back titles?
MCELRATH | LAST CHANCE FOR A TITLE BEFORE MOVING UP
What we said about Sexton in our SLC Three SX Race Preview now goes for Shane McElrath: he has to finish ahead in order to keep his championship hopes alive. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was the better of the two at SLC One and SLC Two and was going for the win at SLC Three until a run-in with a lapped rider put him on the ground and allowed Sexton to score the maximum points possible. A win by McElrath tonight would be crucial because it’d erase the difference between him and Sexton, if not add more points to it in his favor. Imagine a tie between the two at the East-West Showdown.
Like Sexton, McElrath is on his way out in the 250 Class. Where he goes in 2021 remains to be seen, but he would certainly like to exit the small-bore class with at least number one plate to his name.
Rain on Tuesday night will be a factor on Wednesday. The Dirt Wurx crew has done a great job keeping the course under control since that first-round dust bowl and this added moisture, plus a forecast for temperatures to stay in the 60s, means that tonight’s track could be very much like something we see on the East Coast. It will most certainly be soft, rutted, and technical at different times of the day. The AMA has already altered the schedule for practice, so riders will have their two Timed Qualifying sessions to learn the layout, and not the usual Free Practice at the start of the day.
This track design is similar to what we saw on Sunday, but far from identical. The flat barrel-racing turns have been removed, but now we see two sweeping curves at either end of the floor. The start straightaway stayed in the same place, there will be another decent-sized set of whoops, and plenty of obstacles have been crammed into the middle lanes.
2020 SALT LAKE CITY SIX SUPERCROSS | 250 EAST COAST REGION PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST
1E. Chase Sexton | The GEICO Honda rider holds the championship lead by three points and will have the red plate at this race.
12. Shane McElrath
13. Colt Nichols
38. Kyle Peters
43. John Short
47. Lorenzo Locurcio
49. Chris Blose
56. Justin Starling
59. Josh Osby
66. Enzo Lopes | The CLUB MX rider dislocated his shoulder at the Salt Lake City Two Supercross but continues to race.
67. Jerry Robin
73. Chase Marquier
75. Coty Schock
77. Kevin Moranz
84. Jo Shimoda
124. Lane Shaw
125. Luke Neese
157. Darian Sanayei
159. Jace Owen
160. Vincent Murphy
163. Pierce Brown
185. Wilson Fleming
208. Logan Leitzel
248. Travis Delnicki
258. Justin Rodbell
332. Dustin Winter
352. Jalek Swoll
364. Chad Saultz
367. Hunter Sayles
981. Curren Thurman
OUT WITH INJURIES OR OTHER ISSUES
6. Jeremy Martin | The GEICO Honda team and rider have decided to sit out the remaining rounds of Supercross so that Martin can maintain eligibility in the 250 Class for 2021.
24. RJ Hampshire | The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has decided to sit out the remainder of the Supercross season after having surgery during the break to repair the damaged ligaments in his knee.
36. Garrett Marchbanks | The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider will sit out the last races of the season due to the broken ribs and internal injuries he suffered at the Salt Lake City Three Supercross.
39. Jordan Bailey | The TiLube/Storm Lake Honda rider will sit out the last races of the season due to a broken thumb he suffered at the Salt Lake City Three Supercross.
53. Jimmy Decotis | The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider recently announced he will take a break from racing to get a better handle on his health and continued battle with Lyme Disease.
54. Jordon Smith | The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider torn ligaments in his knee at the Daytona Supercross, underwent surgery to repair the damage and will miss the remainder of the season.
68. Nick Gaines | The 3D Racing rider hurt his shoulder at Salt Lake City One and will sit out the remaining races of the season.
79. Isaac Teasdale | The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider will miss the Utah races due to a torn MCL.
104. Brian Moreau | The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM rider suffered a spinal injury during a practice crash at professional Supercross debut in Tampa. We will share updates about his recovery as we receive them.
128. Carter Halpain | The 3D Racing rider is absent from the provisional entry list after doing the first three races. This could be a mistake, but we’ll see on Wednesday.
162. Max Sanford | The privateer rider is absent from the provisional entry list after doing the first three races. This could be a mistake, but we’ll see on Wednesday.
175. Josh Hill | The ClubMX rider will miss the Utah races due to a recent hip dislocation from a practice crash.
194. Lance Kobusch | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Missouri racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season. He is back on the bike after missing time due to a collarbone injury.
201. Cedric Soubeyras | Despite scoring points in the championship, the French rider was unable to make the trip back to the United States for the final races of the season.
349. Grant Harlan | The TiLube/Storm Lake Honda rider hurt his wrist during qualifying at the Salt Lake City Two Supercross and will sit out the next few rounds to heal up.
355. Joey Crown | The Club MX/ATVs & More/FXR rider is sidelined due to continued issues from a concussion suffered at the Atlanta Supercross.
357. Kameron Barboa | The privateer rider is absent from the provisional entry list after doing the first three races. This could be a mistake, but we’ll see on Wednesday.
675. Kyle Dillin | The privateer rider is absent from the provisional entry list after doing the first three races. This could be a mistake, but we’ll see on Wednesday.
725. Richard Jackson | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Oklahoma racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
2020 SALT LAKE CITY SIX SUPERCROSS | 450 CLASS PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST
1. Cooper Webb
3. Eli Tomac | The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider leads the championship standings and will have the red plate at this race.
4. Blake Baggett
7. Aaron Plessinger
10. Justin Brayton
11. Kyle Chisholm
15. Dean Wilson
16. Zach Osborne
20. Broc Tickle | The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider is dealing with a fractured bone in his throttle hand after a crash at the Salt Lake City One Supercross.
21. Jason Anderson
22. Chad Reed
27. Malcolm Stewart
31. Fredrik Noren
34. Tyler Bowers
37. Martin Davalos
44. Kyle Cunningham
46. Justin Hill
50. Benny Bloss
51. Justin Barcia
61. Alex Ray
64. Vince Friese
69. Carlen Gardner
71. Ryan Breece
86. Josh Cartwright
88. Logan Karnow | The 250 West Coast Region rider jumps to the 450 Class for this round.
94. Ken Roczen | The Team Honda HRC rider has struggled with asthma issues while at altitude, something he says he will work to overcome.
114. Nick Schmidt
118. Cheyenne Harmon
211. Tevin Tapia
280. Cade Clason
282. Theodore Pauli
447. Deven Raper
501. Scotty Wennerstrom
509. Alex Nagy
597. Mason Kerr
722. Adam Enticknap
824. Carter Stephenson
976. Josh Greco
996. Preston Taylor
OUT WITH INJURIES OR ISSUES
9. Adam Cianciarulo | The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider has decided to withdraw from the remaining races following a wreck at the Salt Lake City One Supercross that resulted in back injuries.
17. Joey Savatgy | The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider has opted out of the Supercross season after recently recovering from a badly broken ankle. He intends to use the extra time as a chance to prepare for the Nationals this summer.
19. Justin Bogle | The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider will miss the remainder of 2020 due to the concussion he suffered at the Glendale Supercross.
25. Marvin Musquin | The Red Bull KTM rider is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in the offseason and is yet to get back on the bike.
42. Ben LaMay | After sitting out the first part of the season, LaMay was tapped for a fill-in ride by FXR/Chaparral/Honda but missed Atlanta due to a thumb injury. The Texas racer did not score points in 450 SX and opted not to make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
48. Henry Miller | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Minnesota racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
65. James Weeks | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Florida racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
82. Cade Autenrieth | Despite scoring points in the championship, the California racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
91. Ryan Sipes | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Kentucky racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season. He will instead continue his do-all race program with Moto Fite Klub’s flat track event.
393. Daniel Herrlein | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Ohio racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
606. Ronnie Stewart | Despite scoring points in the championship, the Maine racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.
651. Jake Hogan | The privateer suffered a leg injury in practice at the Salt Lake City Five Supercross.
817. Jason Clermont | Despite scoring points in the championship, the French racer did not make the trip to Utah for the final races of the season.