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SALT LAKE CITY — Supercross star Eli Tomac didn’t need to win Sunday to win his first AMA Supercross season championship.
But on Father’s Day and with his dad John in the stands, the 27-year-old, first-time dad Tomac did more than enough to easily book his spot in history.
Tomac finished fifth in the final race of the season to clinch his first 450SX series championship and No. 1 plate Sunday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the final day of the 2020 AMA Supercross season.
“It’s unbelievable circumstances,” the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider told NBC after clinching his first career title. “I always think back to this lifetime of riding, the failures with the team, coming here with COVID going on — it’s pretty unbelievable. There was a time when we didn’t even know if we’d ride or not.
“It’s finally here, and this is unbelievable.”
Tomac is the first rider in the history of AMA Supercross to win a season title following the birth of a child. He’s also among the oldest winners in series history, and is considered by many to be a future Hall of Famer.
Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne rallied to win the final 450 race of the season, overcoming Jason Anderson late to clinch his first win of the season. Dean Wilson finished third to complete a clean sweep of the podium for Husqvarna on the final day of competition.
Tomac held a 24-point lead over Cooper Webb prior to Sunday’s season finale. He won the season restart when the series came back from a hiatus inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic back on May 31 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, then added a third-place finish in Round 15 last week.
Webb, who was the only other championship contender heading into Sunday, fell early and finished in eighth place — his first finish off the podium in eight-consecutive races.
Tomac finished the season with 384 points, followed by Webb (359), Ken Roczen (354), Anderson (287) and Justin Barcia (272).
After falling to last place in Wednesday’s Round 16, Tomac rallied to finish second, setting up Sunday’s championship sprint. He didn’t need to finish first Sunday to clinch a title, thanks in large part to his season-long resume.
Tomac rallied to win the 450 Triple Crown in Arlington, Texas, in February, shortly before the pandemic brought AMA Supercross (and most major sports around the world) to a standstill.
A giant in his sport, Tomac and his 250 East colleague Chase Sexton have been dominating during the final seven races of the season, all in front of an empty Rice-Eccles Stadium to combat the spread of the virus.
In the 250 class, Sexton rode his Honda bike to a second-straight 250 East No. 1 plate with a first-place finish in the final stage, pulling away for a full division title over Yamaha’s Shane McElrath.
The top rider in the East held off the West’s Dylan Ferrandis in Sunday’s full-division final. Sexton held a three-point lead over Shane McElrath in the East, while Ferrandis had a seven-point margin over Austin Forkner in the West.
Ferrandis took the No. 1 plate in the 250SX West division with a fourth-place finish, his second consecutive championship in the division. It’s the first time since both the East and West had back-to-back champions since 1992.
“Everyone said I got lucky this year, and it kind of fired me up coming into this season,” Sexton told NBC after the race. “As a kid from Illinois, grew up in a town of 800 people, it feels good. This is my last 250 race … and I can’t thank my team enough. They’ve been behind me since I turned pro.”