Eli Tomac. Tomac came from nowhere for this win. We had him as 11th off the start, not looking at all special after having taken it to the LCQ to get into the main. But he fought through the pack with real determination and clearly had the track sorted, complete with favourite passing place, where he mugged rider after rider. Cooper Webb had taken the holeshot and held the lead for a good while, but wisely chose not to fight Tomac and instead bank safe points. So Tomac pulled as good as a second a lap lead and cruised home. Now Tomac just needs to repeat this performance three more times while Webb struggles with others… Is that really going to happen?
Blake Baggett. This is definitely a good year for Baggett. After his win at Glendale (round two) this is his fourth podium and apart from two hiccups he been consistently a top-five rider. It took a couple of bites for him to get the pass done on Webb, maybe Webb wasn’t convinced Baggett wanted it enough, or maybe Baggett didn’t want to upset KTM with too hard a pass. But in all, again, a slick job.
Cooper Webb. Despite struggling to get the track sorted in practice, recording slow times, Webb knows when to turn it on. He took a safe second in heat one and then blitzed the start in the main. He might have felt the heat of Joey Savatgy and Ken Roczen only the pair ended up in a tangle early on when Savatgy skidded to the ground in a turn and Roczen ploughed into his bike. Savatgy was out for the race (wrist injury) but Roczen battled back to eighth. Webb might have been secure in second only Baggett was in the mood for dancing, so instead a safe third. It was enough.
Dean Wilson. Here’s another guy enjoying a great year. For a chap who had nothing coming into the season – financing his ride with T-shirt sales – he’s now every inch the factory rider. It’s a surprise he hasn’t scored more than the one podium, for he has the speed. Possibly needs just a little more end of race intensity to get the job done.
Zach Osborne. Osborne has to be happy with this result given he didn’t even get started until round seven (and that was a forgettable experience). It’s good to get into the top-five. He had some fun along the way too, making one of his famous hard passes, but given his racer attitude you bet he was miffed his teammate beat him.
Once again Ken Roczen could not catch a break. Given his speed he was pole and favourite for the win, but running into the back of Savatgy’s Kawasaki meant another night of disappointment – and falling back to 42 points behind Webb his championship push looks to be over. That might make for fun though as he must race for wins from here on. We hope. Marvin Musquin had a terrible night. Once again he didn’t need any outside assistance, taking himself out of the race, skidding off in the whoops while reaching out for the front runners, then restarting from the back. Sixth was good in the circumstances, but he just lost a whole bunch more points on Webb. Not what he needs.
RUST’s predictions for Denver: Well, lets hope for fireworks. Tomac and Musquin need to go flat out and bury Webb to have any chance for the championship. Roczen has pretty much seen his championship dashed, so hopefully he’ll let the dogs loose to give Honda a much needed victory. Webb meanwhile needs to play the cards he’s laid every round, stay close to the front and stay clear of trouble. But for sure trouble will be knocking at his door…