2017 New Jersey Supercross: Reversal of Fortune

Ryan Dungey scores a momentous victory at the East Rutherford, New Jersey Supercross while Eli Tomac falters, creating a huge points swing with one round remaining.

After handily winning the 2017 Salt Lake City Supercross, it appeared as though Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac was on the fast track to his first career Monster Energy AMA 450cc Supercross Championship.

Defending AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey caught a break and capitalized on it to win the New Jersey Supercross and swing the points race back in his favor with just one round remaining. Dungey now holds a nine-point edge over series rival Eli Tomac. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

But at the penultimate round of the series at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Saturday night, Tomac’s bid for the title stalled, literally and figuratively, while reigning series champion Ryan Dungey scored a critical win to head into the series finale in Las Vegas with a substantial points lead. It was only Dungey’s third win of the year, and his first since round eight of the series, the 2017 Atlanta Supercross, but the timing couldn’t have been better.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson pulled the holeshot in the main event with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Davi Millsaps second, Red Bull KTM’s Dungey third and Tomac fourth. Tomac seemed to have the East Rutherford track’s technical layout wired as he quickly passed Dungey and Millsaps. Tomac then took over the lead on lap one when Anderson lost traction and crashed in a corner. Anderson would rejoin the fray in eighth place. Dungey quickly found his way into second place, but at the pace Tomac has set in the past several rounds, Dungey would likely need to catch a break in order to challenge the fleeing Kawasaki man.

But Dungey got that break–and it once again proved the old adage “That’s why they race.”

One of those nights: Eli Tomac stalled his motorcycle twice during the New Jersey Supercross main event and had to settle for an eighth-place finish, ending a nine-race streak where he finished no worse than second place. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Tomac suddenly lost traction in a corner and crashed, stalling his factory KX450F in the process. Dungey took over the lead while Tomac lost precious seconds while attempting to restart the Kawasaki. By the time he did, he was down in 15th place.

Dungey maintained a comfortable advantage for most of the race, but Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, who had made his way to second place on lap three after passing Millsaps, began to reel-in Dungey, and he passed the champion for the lead on lap 10–something that probably didn’t sit too well with the KTM brass.

Tomac continued to establish a rhythm and try to catch back up to the leaders, but on lap 16 his effort came undone when he came up short on a triple jump, went off the track and stalled his motorcycle again. Tomac only lost one position, but he was back to 12th place again. After that, time simply ran out on the Coloradoan, who would manage to work his way up to eighth place before the checkered flag fell.

Marvin Musquin led the New Jersey main event late in the race, but Dungey was able to pass him for the win. Musquin finished second. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Out front, Dungey was able to pressure Musquin on the last lap, and the Frenchman made a small mistake that allowed Dungey to sneak past him and go on to take the super-important win to maximize the points swing in his favor. It was his 34th career AMA 450cc Supercross main event win, but more importantly, it gave him a sizeable nine-point lead over Tomac with just the Las Vegas Supercross left on the calendar. If Tomac wins Las Vegas, Dungey now needs only to finish fourth or better to claim his fourth career Monster Energy AMA 450cc Supercross title.

“That’s’ what we needed,” Dungey said. “Eli [Tomac] was riding well early, but he made a mistake and went down. Marvin [Musquin] was riding well, too, and got by us, but I stuck behind him. The track was really falling apart as the race went on and got difficult, but I was able to follow Marvin, watch his lines, and take advantage late. We got some valuable points [in the championship] but it’s not over yet. There’s still one more race.”

Jason Anderson got the holeshot in the New Jersey Supercross main event but crashed on the first lap. Anderson rebounded to finish third. PHOTO BY RAS PHOTO.

Musquin finished second, while Anderson rebounded from his first-lap crash to finish third.

Tomac isn’t dead yet. If Dungey finishes fifth, the two would tie in the final points standings but Tomac would take the title by virtue of his greater number of race wins. Still, Tomac couldn’t mask his disappointment with the way the East Rutherford round went for him.

“That was a bummer,” he said. “he only thing to look forward to is there’s one race left. The scenarios can flip and the same thing could happen to Ryan [Dungey]. That’s all I can hope for. Nine points will be hard to cover and catch up on, but I’ll give it my all and look to win. That’s all I can do.”

2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series
MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Results: April 29, 2017 (Round 16 of 17)


450cc Main Event
1. Ryan Dungey-KTM
2. Marvin Musquin-KTM
3. Jason Anderson-Hus
4. Davi Millsaps-KTM
5. Blake Baggett-KTM
6. Justin Brayton-Hon
7. Josh Grant-Kaw
8. Eli Tomac-Kaw
9. Justin Barcia-Suz
10. Dean Wilson-Hus
11. Jake Weimer-Suz
12. Chad Reed-Yam
13. Malcolm Stewart-Suz
14. Cooper Webb-Yam
15. Nick Schmidt-Suz
16. Cade Clason-On
17. AJ Catanzaro-Kaw
18. Dakota Tedder-Kaw
19. Angelo Pellgrini-Suz
20. Ronnie Stewart-Suz
21. Cole Seely-Hon
22. Bryce Stewart-Hon

2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Points Standings (after 16 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine-341/3 wins
2. Eli Tomac-332/9 wins
3. Marvin Musquin-292/2 wins
4. Jason Anderson-248
5. Cole Seely-212
6. Davi Millsaps-208
7. Blake Baggett-206
8. Dean Wilson-169
9. Broc Tickle-167
10. Chad Reed-167