2023 Tampa Supercross Recap
Look out! Cooper Webb won.
The 2-time 450 class Supercross Champion returned to the top of the box after a methodical shakedown for the lead grabbing his first win in nearly two years at Round 5 (scheduled Round 6) of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross series at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL on Saturday.
Webb, who sorta kinda took last year off - finished 7th overall - but returned to his past training regime for this season, looked like the title contender of old as he kept pace with race leader Chase Sexton for nearly 18 minutes before - wait for it - which Webb did - Sexton went down in the whoops handing the lead and race win over to Webb.
Webb said prior to the race he needed a win and a win he got. Patience his virtue, Webb did not necessarily save his season - he did, afterall, finish second in the opening two rounds - but finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the previous two rounds perhaps diminishes any momentum as confidence starts to erodes. It had been 21 rounds since Webb last won a Supercross race.
"I knew this race was big. I was starting to kind of slip back a little bit in points, so I was saying all week I need to come out and execute a good result," he said in the post-race press conference. "I think for me, confidence is key. I got that first win and I got that feeling back. I'm excited for the future."
Though Sexton failed to hold on to the lead, something he struggles with, he closed the points gap in the Championships standings with Eli Tomac who finished fifth without much fight, 31 seconds back of Webb. Sexton now sits just two points back of Tomac who, along with his three wins this season, also has a fourth and fifth place finish like Webb.
Tomac narrowly hangs on to the Red Plate and was lucky to finish a season worst fifth as Jason Anderson and Justin Barcia tangled on the first lap dropping both way behind the pack. In what appeared to be a benign racing incident, Anderson and Barcia, who have had on-track skirmishes in the past, battled back to finish sixth and eighth respectively. Aaron Plessinger rounded out the podium.
Ken Roczen rebounded from an eighth-place finish in Houston and took fourth making up ground on Anderson in the standings. Just one point separates the two with Anderson in fourth. Justin Cooper who made his 450 class debut in Houston with a seventh-place finish, finished seventh again.
2023 450 Class Supercross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (113)
- Chase Sexton (111)
- Cooper Webb (109)
- Jason Anderson (93)
- Ken Roczen (92)
In the 250 East class, Hunter Lawrence made it two-straight to start his season working his way from sixth and needing a final turn pass on Nate Thrasher for the checkers. In the more exciting of the two Main Events on Saturday Thrasher grabbed the Holeshot, jumped out to a large lead and looked to go the distance without much competition until Lawrence...
Well, first he derailed a bobbling Michael Mosimon around the eight-minute mark for third then two minutes later, in the same corner, he got around Max Anstie. Though the beach, as it was aptly named being this long stretch of sand, seemed to hamper everyone's efforts, Lawrence worked through it better than Thrasher, keeping pace and chipping away until a final turn pass brought them together and Lawrence into the short lead and win.
Anstie held on for third, rookie Haiden Deegan took fourth again and veteran Jeremy Martin, who grabbed the Holeshot, finished fifth, also again. Two-time MXGP MX2 (250 class) Champ Tom Vialle finished sixth, one place better than his debut in Houston. Perennial crasher Jordon Smith who finished third to open the season a week earlier went down in the sand on the first lap settling for 15th which helped shake up the standings.
Deegan now resides in third, Martin in fourth and Vaille moves into fifth-place.
2023 250 East Class Supercross Season Standings
- Hunter Lawrence (52)
- Max Anstie (44)
- Haiden Deegan (38)
- Jeremy Martin (36)
- Tom Vaille (33)
Supercross returns to California for Round 2 (wait, what?) now Round 6 in Oakland which was postponed because of weather last month. This weekend was originally a scheduled break for all riders but the make-up-date requires the crosscountry trip and a return to racing for the 250 West class.