Eli Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time wins list last week in Oakland. (Feld Motor Sports, Inc. photo)

Tomac Ties Carmichael While Sexton Remains Frustrated: What’s Next?

February 18 was a historic day for Eli Tomac as he tied Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time wins list in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX class.

Both riders have won 48 main events, but with Tomac still active, he has farther to fly. So far, the Star Racing Yamaha rider has been conservative with his attitude toward the record, stating he’d rather not talk about it until it happens.

But last Saturday at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., it happened.

Despite a late-race error, Tomac held off Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb to take his fourth victory in six rounds, tying Carmichael and also marking his best start to a Supercross season.

“Anything you can tie RC with is really cool. I’m just thankful for the success I’ve had in my 450 career,” Tomac said, a side smile forming across the typically-stoic rider’s face.

Though he doesn’t want to bring it up just yet, one more win would bump Tomac into sole possession of third on the all-time wins list. Two more triumphs would tie him with James Stewart for second (50). With the surge of momentum, the 30-year-old has going his way, the record appears to be well within reach.

Victory No. 49 may be lurking right around the corner with this weekend’s Supercross round at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Sexton Fights To Right His Wrongs

One man who would like nothing more than to stop Tomac’s streak is Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton.

While he has recorded podium finishes at five of the opening six races, late-race mistakes have become his Achilles heel when it comes to reaching the top of the box.

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Chase Sexton is currently third in points, 7 behind Eli Tomac. (Feld Motor Sports, Inc. photo)

It was the same story two weeks in a row, as Sexton crashed while leading at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 11 and again in Oakland on Feb. 18.

During the post-race press conference in California, it was obvious Sexton was frustrated with the developing pattern.

“I don’t want to think it’s bad luck or anything like that, I just have to be better,” Sexton said. “I definitely think I’m capable of fixing the problem. It’s just finding those small pieces and putting them together.”  

The raw speed that the 23-year-old brings to the table served him well over his three years in the 450SX class.

However, with contenders such as Tomac and Webb who find their best flow as the clock winds down to the final minutes of the race, Sexton has realized he needs to have more in his toolkit during the 20-minute main events.

“Riding rougher tracks during the week and trying to replicate what I’m racing on, it’s tough obviously, but that’s the only way I can get better,” Sexton said. But on a more positive note, he added, “I’m still here, I still have an opportunity next week to come out and fix the wrongs that I made. I just look forward to that.”

250SX West Retreats, East Contenders Up Next

As the series takes residence on the East Coast for the next four rounds, the 250SX East riders will return to the track.

Though most of the West Coast contenders will be counting the days to the next race in Seattle, Wash., on March 25, it appears a break in the schedule was best-case scenario for one of the leading riders — Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s R.J. Hampshire.

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R.J. Hampshire collected a second-place finish in Oakland. (Feld Motor Sports, Inc. photo)

In the post-race press conference in Oakland last Saturday, second-place Hampshire detailed the aftermath of his recent crash at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 29.

“I separated my shoulder pretty bad at Anaheim 2. Thought that was it. Got on a flight home, slept in my own bed Sunday night, woke up Monday and wasn’t feeling right. Ended up checking myself into the ER and had some internal bleeding that was pretty bad,” Hampshire said.

After spending Monday night in the hospital, Hampshire returned home, calling the next five nights “brutal” as he battled various symptoms.

Racing Oakland didn’t seem like a possibility at first, but the 27-year-old not only raced, but secured a podium finish.

“Can’t complain about getting second on a night like tonight,” Hampshire said.

While he focuses on recovery, East Coast riders Hunter Lawrence, Jordon Smith, Nate Thrasher, Max Anstie and rookie Haiden Deegan will resume their spots on the Supercross stage in Texas on Saturday.