The JDR/J-Star/KTM Team was in full swing this week as the series headed back to the east coast for the eighth round of the AMA Supercross Series in Atlanta, GA.
JDR/J-Star/KTM rider Tye Simmonds returned to action feeling much better after sitting out last weekend’s San Diego Supercross event to recover from chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. “I would say I’m about 85% better and I was actually able to ride this past week for the first time in two weeks. My team manager, Nathan Ramsey, helped me a lot this week in practice and I am hoping it will pay off tonight,” remarked Simmonds before the race.
His training seemed to help as Simmonds looked solid in practice and then came out strong in his heat. “I was able to get a decent start in my heat and was sitting around 6th after the first lap. I was happy with that position because I knew it was within the top nine and all I wanted was to put my KTM in the main event,” stated Simmonds. Throughout the eight lap heat, Simmonds kept his pace and was even able to hold off Ryan Dungey for two laps before Dungey got around Simmonds in the final two laps of the heat. Simmonds held on to finish 7th qualifying for his third Supercross event this year.
“I felt really good in my heat and was not bothered by my cold at all. I felt strong and was excited to qualify from the heat and not have to go to the LCQ. It was good to go back to the rig for a little bit and rest before the main event,” said Simmonds.
In the main event, Simmonds started around 13th and moved up to 10th by the end of the first lap. “I stated mid-pack but tightened up right away and dropped back,” reported Simmonds. At the end of the third lap he was sitting in 14th place. He held that position until lap six when Nick Wey was able to make a pass on him and take over the position. Simmonds eventually found his rhythm near the final laps of the race but it was too late to make any significant moves and he finished the night in 15th.
“I would like to get closer to the top ten. I feel that’s where my speed is and where I should be competing, but I am still happy to have been in the main event tonight after battling with bronchitis the past two weeks,” stated Simmonds.
Joining Simmonds at the Atlanta event was his Lites Supercross teammate, PJ Larsen. The South Carolina native considers the Atlanta race his hometown Supercross and was excited to race in front of many of his friends and family.
Larsen was feeling pretty good in practice before he had a crash in the whoops. “When I crashed in practice, I tweaked the same wrist I had hurt practicing at home a week ago and it continued to give me problems for the rest of the night,” stated Larsen.
Despite the wrist pain, Larsen performed well in his heat race. He garnered a 4th place start and quickly moved into 2nd place by lap two. At the end of six laps, Larsen was able to hang on to 2nd place finishing right behind heat winner Ryan Sipes.
In the main event, Larsen didn’t have the best jump off the start but he was able to dive to the inside of the first corner and make up some of the positions he had lost. At the end of the first lap he was sitting in 8th. The next lap he battled with Jason Anderson and was down a position as they crossed for lap two. On lap three he made a pass on Alex Martin to move back into 8th place and two laps later he capitalized on a mistake by Anderson and climbed into 7th.
“My wrist was feeling okay during the first part of the race but around lap seven I jarred it on a jump and then again through the whoops and it became harder to hold on,” commented Larsen.
Larsen continued to charge on and was able to finish in 7th position for the night. “I definitely wanted to finish inside the top five tonight. I am not very pleased with where I finished overall. I know my wrist was hurting me but it was also very hard to pass on this track and I struggled to get around other riders. I am hoping to improve upon this result next week at Daytona.”
Next Race: Daytona Supercross – March 5, 2011
Overall Results SX Class –
2) Ryan Dungey
3) Chad Reed
5) Trey Canard
6) Andrew Short – KTM
9) Ivan Tedesco
15)Tye Simmonds – KTM
17)Mike Alessi – KTM
Overall Results SX Lites Class–
1) Dean Wilson
5) Ryan Sipes
7) PJ Larsen – KTM
19)Vernon McKiddie – KTM
20)Killy Rusk – KTM