By Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo
Current 250SX East Region points leader Adam Cianciarulo has busted out of the gates in his rookie season, showing the poise of a veteran. Meanwhile, fellow rookies Matt Bisceglia (GEICO Honda) and Anthony Rodriguez (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha) have struggled to string together fifteen laps. Things snowballed in Atlanta for Bisceglia, who was a week removed from rear brake problems leading to a nineteenth in Dallas. The reigning AMA Horizon Award winner was fast in Atlanta—seventh fastest in 250SX—but crashed twice, with the second knocking the wind out of him and leading to a DNF, according to a team release. Rodriguez, who has shown podium speed in both Dallas and Atlanta, crashed out again while running inside the top five. The rookie suffered a broken collarbone in Atlanta and underwent surgery yesterday. There is no timetable on his return.
That injury for A-Rod just adds to the woes for the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha team, with expected title contender Jeremy Martin missing the main event for the second-straight week.
JAB Motorsports’ Matt Lemoine recovered from a rough start to 2014 in Atlanta with a ninth. This was the first top ten for Lemoine in 250SX (he raced 450’s in 2013) since Houston in 2012.
Privateer Justin Starling made his first main of the season and topped it off with a career high fourteenth. Atlanta was the second career main made for Starling, who also made the main in Las Vegas a season ago.
Mitchell Oldenburg continues to do with most with the least. The second year privateer finished tenth for the second straight race in Atlanta. Oldenburg was down at Windham’s place training with Wil Hahn before Atlanta. Check out Racer X Online later this week to hear more about Oldenburg’s season.
What a turn around for privateer Jesse Wentland, who made one main a season ago in his rookie year. The former AMA National Champion at Loretta Lynn’s ran inside the top five in Atlanta before finishing a career high eleventh.
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac continues to have his problems since returning from a shoulder injury at Anaheim 3. Mechanical issues, according to a team release, led to a DNF in Atlanta. Tomac now has results of 22-7-11-21 since his return.
Chris Blose grabbed his best finish of the season with 15th in 450SX.
On to the lap charts!
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
For the first five laps of the 450SX main in Atlanta, SmarTop MotoConcepts Mike Alessi was managing an onslaught from Ryan Villopoto and Ken Roczen. Although RV and Roczen were dipping in the 52s, Alessi was not far off with laps consistently in the 53s. Following lap 8, Alessi dropped anchor. Presumably, he had used much of his energy trying to sprint and hold the lead. This is no slight on Alessi. Not many can run the speed of the three-time defending champion lap after lap after lap. This is also not a fitness factor. Alessi is one of the most finely tuned riders on the circuit, and a tireless worker. It’s a matter of pace. Essentially, Alessi was running while RV and Roczen were jogging, yet still going the same speed. For more, take a look at the side-by-side comparison and notice the drop from Alessi after lap 8 and how Roczen and RV remained steadfast. They rode a pace they could maintain for 20 laps, Alessi just rode as fast as he could for as long as he could.
|Lap||Mike Alessi||Ken Roczen||Ryan Villopoto|
More News and Notes:
Is the magic back? Privateer Nick Schmidt was back in the main for the first time since Oakland, finishing 20th. Schmidt also made the mains at Anaheim 1 and Phoenix, and sits 25th in 450SX points.
JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant returned from a shoulder injury that keep him on the sidelines the past two weekends and secured just his second top ten of the season. His ninth was pretty impressive, as he held tough down the stretch with pressure from Andrew Short.
Short’s tenth, by the way, keeps his streak of top-ten finishes at every round alive. Just four riders have accomplished that through nine races—Short, Justin Brayton, Ryan Villopoto and Ken Roczen.
With Pirelli’s U.S. headquarters and factory sitting not far outside of Atlanta, the brand held a special tour of the factory for motocross folks on Friday afternoon. Members of the JGR team and some industry insiders and press received a bus ride straight from the pits to the Pirelli facility, and most remarked on how impressive the facility is. Making tires is not a simple process.
It was a big weekend for the tire brands, as Dunlop also held a press event on Saturday morning. Look for more insight into their supercross tire development later this week.
Each week we take a slice out of the superb Soaring Eagle Casino RCH press releases, and with Broc Tickle embroiled in controversy with Mike Alessi, you know you’re in for something good. This week our favorite part came right from the top:
It was the best of times… and potentially some of the worst of times for the RCH Soaring Eagle Supercross Team in Atlanta. In a twisted version of literary classic "A Tale Of Two Cities" both Josh Hill #75 and Broc Tickle #20 went from their best times of the SX season in Dallas last weekend only to have what could have been the worst of times in Atlanta this weekend. However in a demonstration of maturity and professionalism, the entire RCH Soaring Eagle Supercross Team showed their true colors and turned in a performance that books are written about.
No doubt when Tickle got Alessi in his sights late in the main event, many were expecting him to catch Alessi and extract some revenge. He couldn’t get there, though. "My ribs and breathing were bothering me," said Broc in the team PR. "Dr. G did what he could before the main, but I wasn't feeling it like I had earlier in the day."
For the second straight season, a wrist injury will sideline privateer Vann Martin.
Well this sucks. Broken wrist again ruining my rookie Supercross year again. I just can't catch a… http://t.co/DfGnp2LxvH— Vann Martin (@Vannman621) February 22, 2014
Rookie Jace Owen made his first career main event in Atlanta. The Factory Metal Works/Club MX member finished 18th.
Following his first podium of the season last weekend in Dallas, Justin Barcia was hoping to turn some home cooking into another strong run in Atlanta (yeah, Barcia’s native to New York but has been living in the motocross mecca on the Florida/Georgia stateline since he was a kid). Unfortunately, a huge crash in the whoops during the final practice ended his night early. "This was not how I wanted today to go,” said Barcia in a team PR. “Atlanta is like my home race and I have a lot of friends and family here, so I am definitely disappointed. I crashed pretty hard in the whoops and tweaked my knee in the last practice. I decided to take the night off to make sure I can race next weekend in Indianapolis."
Lots of fast privateers in 250SX East. We asked Jimmy Decotis how his program would compare to a factory team as far as being able to make changes and improvements to his bike week to week.
“I can play with the clickers but if I need to get a change I need to send my stuff to FC [Factory Connection] East, get a day turnaround, get it back, where these [factory] guys do a test day and they get five sets of suspension to try,” says Decotis. “It’s definitely harder for me but when I’m out there riding it gives me more motivation to try and beat those guys and try and be up there with them. TLR builds me the best privateer engine you can get. Vince [Friese] is running them, AJ’s [Catanzaro] is running them, Jace Owen’s got them. All these guys are getting good starts and have good bikes. I know my bike’s not a Mitch Payton bike but I know it’s close and I know I can compete with those guys, no matter what bike I’m on.”