Injuries plague AMA Supercross on its final stretch of races


Jack Schroeder, Staff Reporter

Coming into last weekend’s AMA Supercross round 16 race in Denver, rider Eli Tomac had an impressive 18 point lead over Chase Sexton after Tomac’s closest competitor, Cooper Webb, suffered a season ending concussion during the previous round 15 race in Nashville. While it seemed as if Tomac had his 3rd 450 Supercross title in the bag, tragedy struck Tomac as he landed a routine jump with his left foot too far back on his foot peg, resulting in his body weight pushing his heel too far down and tearing his achilles tendon. It was immediately apparent that something was wrong with Tomac once he had slowed down and rode his Yamaha off to the side of the track, holding his left leg up and away from his bike. Eli immediately went to the medical staff outside of the stadium, and it was soon announced by his Star Racing Yamaha team manager Jeremy Coker that Eli had torn his achilles, effectively ending his season. Fans were left devastated, especially the ones who had shown up in person to watch the Colorado native race in his home state.

Tomac is the 9th rider in the 450 class to suffer a significant injury this season. Other prominent riders such as the aforementioned Cooper Webb, Justin Barcia, Malcolm Stewart, Dylan Ferrandis, Jason Anderson, and many more are also no longer participating in the races due to injury. Chase Sexton is now going to be the winner of his first 450 Supercross title. 

Tomac has since posted a short update video to his Instagram, seemingly in good spirits despite the tough situation. Fans are speculating whether or not the 30 year old is going to have enough gas left in the tank to continue racing after what is going to be a very long road to recovery. Eli clarified in his update video that he is not going to make any decisions on his future right now and that “it’ll come maybe a month or two in the future”. Tomac was previously contemplating retirement before the start of the season, and had announced in February that he would race the rest of the SuperMotocross World Championship with Star Racing Yamaha.   

Injuries are not uncommon in supercross, as it is often regarded as one of the most dangerous and strenuous sports in the world. Veteran rider Ken Roczen, (who has managed to stay healthy all season) knows this all too well. In 2017, during the Anaheim 2 race in California, Roczen was bounced off his bike in mid air, resulting in him crashing down onto the face of the next jump and shattering his left forearm and wrist. It took Ken 9 surgeries and extensive rehab to repair his arm. Then during 2018, the year after, Ken got tied up with Cooper Webb in a turn and got his right arm caught in Webb’s swingarm, resulting in a fracture and subsequent surgery that left him riding with a wrist brace on for the majority of the year, hindering his capabilities. Last year, Ken pulled out of the series shortly after it began because of an illness. Ken has now joined a new team and has made great strides this season, getting a win and a few podiums, and is on his way to finishing top 3 in the points standings. However, just like Tomac, he is approaching the end of his prime at 29 years old.