Tomac extends Supercross advantage as rivals falter again

While his rivals encountered more problems, Eli Tomac won once again in Indianapolis. 

2022 Indianapolis Supercross race start. - GasGas Media/Align Media.

COMING into Indianapolis last weekend, Eli Tomac had won three Supercross races in a row. Well, he’d won two Supercross races and an overall in a row, because Triple Crowns. 

Leaving Indianapolis, Tomac had over 50 points in hand over second place in the riders’ standings, which once again is Jason Anderson, and has now won the last four Supercross events in a row.

The Yamaha rider had a mostly steady night, taking few risks and making sure to stay well out of the way whenever trouble seemed to creep a little too close in the heat race last Saturday. With a 42-point lead coming into the night there was little point in hanging around in dangerous situations that would have little-to-no reward.

For Tomac, the Main Event went in much the same way. He took no risks, and simply benefited when others fell to move to the front, apart from a neat pass he put on Justin Barcia to take the lead with a few minutes to go. 

Barcia, on the other hand, had been involved in the most controversial issue of the night. That might be doing a disservice to Alex Ray, Devon Raper and Bubba Pauli, who after a coming together in the heat race between the former two that Pauli was unable to avoid, got into- well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and call it a fight. However, that was merely entertainment, nothing controversial about it. 

Perhaps the disqualification from the whole night for Ray and Raper was strong, but as Jason Thomas pointed out on the RacerX Indianapolis Review podcast, it is in the rules; and as also pointed out on the aforementioned podcast, the use of the video of the ‘fight’ by Feld to promote ‘the show’ of Supercross is not a contradiction of the AMA’s penalisation of the two riders because Feld and the AMA have two different jobs, as a series promoter and a sanctioning body, respectively.

Anyway, back to Barcia. He got into it with Anderson again. After the #21 passed him and somewhat blocked his line, Barcia decided to clean him out in the second turn after the finish, in the right-hander that took them back down the start straight towards the sand. 

A similar thing happened between Hardy Munoz and Phil Nicoletti in the 250SX LCQ, but Nicoletti was able to go around Munoz, who also hit the brakes before he hit the Club MX Yamaha rider.

Barcia also hits the brakes as the contact is about to happen, but the difference is that Anderson was already committed to his line, which was also perhaps not as high as Barcia was anticipating. Anderson was also slightly further out of the corner, but that he cut down it perhaps what made the difference. It is true that Anderson cuts down a bit in the turn, which with Barcia behind him he probably should not have done. It is also true that Barcia aims to meet Anderson’s line. 

If Barcia is not on probation and makes that move, he probably walks away without penalty, but the probation he picked up back in San Diego for the incident with Justin Bogle meant that the AMA had little choice but to penalise him. A fine of $3,000 and the deduction of three championship points was deemed sufficient. 

Tomac was faster than Barcia after the latter’s incident with Anderson, part of which could be down to the continued presence of seven stitches in Barcia’s left index finger. But, despite his speed advantage, Tomac was not interested in being close to Barcia. When the #51 made a mistake, Tomac took advantage, turned the speed up for a couple of corners to get out of reach, and then protected his advantage for the rest of the race.

Indianapolis proved to be the microcosmic representation of the way the series has gone: Tomac was not easily the fastest rider on the track, but those who might have been able to challenge him either took themselves out of contention (in the case of Malcolm Stewart who crashed on his own) or put themselves in a position to be taken out of contention (in the case of Anderson). 

The comparison to the series goes like this. Stewart crashing in Indianapolis is the equivalent of Chase Sexton crashing in Anaheim 1, Minneapolis, and Detroit (although the latter was not his fault); and Anderson being involved with Barcia in Indianapolis is the equivalent of Anderson being involved with Barcia in Anaheim 1; and with Stewart in Arlington and Daytona. 

Tomac won in Indianapolis without having to really try, and while he was not really trying he was able to open up what is now a 51-point advantage over Jason Anderson. The #3’s second 450SX title is all but sewn up. But, there are still six gates to drop.