More than 70,000 fans are expected to fill the indoor stadium as the southeastern part of the United States will get its first look at the series’ high-flying motorcycle acrobats. If recent trends continue, earning the “Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award” will be a key to victory Saturday night. Back-to-back race winners – Davi Millsaps (San Diego) and Ryan Villopoto (Arlington) – grabbed the lead on hole shots and led wire-to-wire en route to race victories. In the last 100 laps of competition, only six riders have led. Perfecting the starting technique is key for riders hoping to challenge for the win in the 20-lap SX450 Main Event.
“I think we’re starting to see a trend, especially with the top three riders,” said 15-time champion and RCH Racing owner Ricky Carmichael who won five SX races at the Georgia Dome from 2001 to 2007. “The top three riders finished inside the top three each weekend. The competition is so close that the starts are so important. I think we’re going to see a trend and also see the same guys up front every single weekend, almost in the same order. It’s starting to get crunch time and the top guys are really going to be focused.”
Suzuki Z450) continues to build an impressive season resume. He’s had seven-consecutive Main Event starts. The RCH Racing rookie is coming off a 13th-place finish last weekend in Arlington but the Michigan native says the finish doesn’t reflect how good his No. 20 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450 raced.
“I was happy with how I rode in Arlington last weekend,” Tickle said. “My Main Event race was the best 20 laps that I’ve put in this year. We’re heading in the right direction despite it taking a little bit longer than we wanted. I think we’re starting to see the results of all the work that our Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki team has been putting into the racing.”
Josh Hill (No. 75 Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450) continues his comeback after being sidelined with a broken right hand since the season-opening event at Anaheim. Hill has made consecutive Main Event starts since returning two weeks ago in San Diego with finishes of 18th (San Diego) and 15th (Arlington).
Hill has a pair of top-10 finishes in three previous Main Event starts at the Georgia Dome. He finished 19th in his debut and followed with finishes of ninth and sixth the last two seasons.
“Man, the Georgia Dome fans are rad,” said Hill. “Atlanta is a great stop on the tour. They usually sell out all 72,000 seats for the race. The fans are crazy and understand racing. They only get one Supercross race a year and they make the most of it.
“The dirt is going to be completely different. I’ve heard that it will be a little more hard-packed than before. It will be new dirt and a new layout, but it’s the Georgia Dome and the place will be packed.”
SPEED’s live coverage of Round 8 from Atlanta on Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW The Race: Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series – Round 8 of 17 The Place: Georgia Dome, Atlanta The Date: Saturday, Feb. 23 The Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET) TV: SPEED (Live), Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. (ET)