Monster Energy AMA Supercross an FIM World Championship has really reached the east now, with the first of back-to-back races at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. We've never seen this Atlanta double dip before, and we'll see what kind of crowd the events draw over these next two Saturdays. We're hoping it's big--because there's lots to be excited about right now.
It starts with the tight battle at the top of the 450SX standings, with Ryan Dungey leading Ken Roczen by 12 points, and Trey Canard and Eli Tomac fighting to stay in the hunt. Dungey has won two of the last three races, Canard has two of the last four, and Roczen and Tomac are certainly capable of winning again. Pretty awesome to be nearly halfway through the season and really have no idea what's going to happen. Then we have the 250 East Championship, which Marvin Musquin got a jump on by winning last week in Texas. There's much to come here, so stay tuned to the Race Day Feed all day and night for full coverage.
Chad Reed. Chad freaking Reed. Ever the opportunist, the two-time champion grabbed the holeshot and took off early, and with contenders mired in the back, he got on the gas and rode his heart out to extend the lead. Weston Peick and Phil Nicoletti were second and third early, then Ryan Dungey got past to get to second. Dungey rode well, dug deep, and at one point got within a second of Reed. But the veteran sliced through traffic well, held up tough under pressure, and held on for the victory. You can just never ever count him out.
Dungey had a great points night, though. Trey Canard was fast all day but started about 11th, he fought the whole way to get in sight of Dungey but couldn't quite get to him, he took third. Cole Seely and Peick rounded out the top five.
Championship contenders Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac had terrible nights. Roczen crashed hard and got up slow, he got back on the bike and salvaged a few points with 18th. Tomac crashed and had to visit the mechanic's area to straighten his bike, he got back out there but took 20th.
Late in the race Canard's Honda teammate Cole Seely rallied to fourth, ahead of Weston Pieck, who returned from injury, started second, and kept Reed and Dungey honest for a bit. Peick's been dealing with injuries and lost a little fitness, he went back to fifth.
What a race! WHAT A RACE! Bogle grabbed the lead down the start straight but Davalos sliced inside to grab the holeshot. Behind them came Friese and Lemoine, Musquin and Martin. Musquin and Martin managed to get past the dueling privateers, but Davalos looked solid out front for the first half of the race.
Then Bogle turned it up and starting going to work on Davalos for the lead, just as Martin was challenging Musquin for third. Musquin bobbled and couldn't jump a triple, and this put Martin into third. Davalos still held the lead until he completely fell apart on one lap: he made a bunch of mistakes and Bogle, Martin and Musquin all went past.
It still wasn't over, though. Musquin was working Martin, Martin was working Bogle, they were all over each other! At one point Bogle bobbled, Martin went for it, couldn't find room and got slowed up, Musquin tried to pounce and make a pass, couldn't make it stick, and then cased a jump. It was crazy! With three laps to go, Martin blasted through the whoops and blew past Bogle to get the lead, then launched a sprint to the finish to get away. He won it, his second career 250SX win and an impressive won--he passed Davalos, Musquin and Bogle to do it. Well done by the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha man.
Bogle bobbled again and Musquin got him for second. Davalos was fourth, Joey Savatgy got by the Friese/Lemoine battle to take fifth. Lemoine and Friese took it to the last lap, and Friese took the spot after 15 laps of action.
Andrew Short got out front and took off in semi one, Cole Seely was second but bobbled, then managed to fight back through for second. In the second semi, Broc Tickle got the lead and checked out, Davi Millsaps was second. Blake Baggett Ronnie Stewart and Josh Hill took the other transfer spots.
In the first 450 heat, Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac started 1-2, and you just knew it was going to be good. Tomac was all over Dungey the whole way, and heck Weston Peick hung close with them in third the whole time. Tomac kept the pressure on but Dungey hung on for the win. Jason Anderson held off Broc Tickle in a battle for the final transfer.
In the second heat, Cole Seely and Davi Millsaps tangled on the outside of turn own and went down, Chad Reed hugged the inside and came out with the lead. Trey Canard put the pressure on and finally found an opening to make the pass, then Reed dealt with serious heat from Ken Roczen. Kenny tried everything but couldn't get the veteran, who hung on for second. Job well done to Filthy Fill-In Nicoletti who took fourth to advance to the main.
In 250 heat one, Vince Friese grabbed the holeshot but was immediatel passed by Jimmy Decotis. Then Decotis charged too hard into the second turn, slammed a tough block and went down. This left Friese back in the lead, with Joey Savatgy and Arnaud Tonus all over him. Savatgy made the pass on the last lap to take the win over Friese.
In 250 heat two, Jeremy Martin fended off Martin Davalos for the holeshot, but Davalos came back to make the pass. Martin hung tough, but Davalos held on for the win. Points leader Marvin Musquin got tangled up on the first lap and was way, way back, he fought back to eighth to advance to the main.
Final Practice Session
The track really came together in the final session and guys were hauling the mail--especially Trey Canard, who logged a time .9 seconds faster than anyone else. That's not supposed to happen against this kind of competition! Canard will get first gate pick tonight, as the track was slightly faster in this final session compared to the first.
The bad news came for Ken Roczen, who tried an insane quad jump after the whoops (trying to jump the last four rollers all the way into the corner), came up short and bounced off the side of the track. The jump was, literally, apparently, impossible [Update: Actually the jump IS jumpable, as Canard, Seely and Reed cleared it, sorry!]. Kenny careened into the wall on the side of track and took a body blow to his side, kind of like a hockey player being checked into the boards. After a few minutes, he sat up and was seen talking to the Asterisk medic crew, and we hear he should be okay and is racing tonight.
In the 250s, Marvin Musquin came back to top the final session, and Joey Savatgy jumped up into second, with Martin Davalos, fastest in the first timed session, third. The track was faster in this final session for Musquin is fastest overall.
First Practice Sessions
This just in: Martin Davalos is fast in practice. Hmmm, is this really news? The Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider was laying down fast laps immediately, while a lot of riders took some time to get going. When he's on, Martin is just an incredible supercross rider. Mid-way through the session last week's 250SX winner Marvin Musquin took the top spot away from Davalos, but with a lap to go, Davalos put in one more flyer and landed the fastest time of the session.
Last week's practice hero, Arnaud Tonus, wasn't quite as sharp this time, landing seventh after battling Musquin for fastest time in both sessions in Dallas. His teammate Joey Savatgy was in third most of the way, but Jeremy Martin stole that spot late.
In the 450s, Eli Tomac had a crash in the whoops, but was okay, and then logged the fastest time of the session. Ken Roczen was second, and this is no shocker as we've seen these two go 1-2 in qualifying quite a bit. Ryan Dungey was right behind Roczen. Nearly 10 riders were under the 50 second mark on times, making this the fastest track of the year. No one has found any special jump combos or lines yet, and we're not sure they're out there. The whoops and finding traction on the slick stuff will be the key tonight--it could be a game of inches and tenths.
The track features a lot of whoops. One whoop section runs nearly the entire football field length of the track, but it's a split lane, with one half featuring a double followed by whoops, and then another featuring whoops followed by a double. Unlike most split lanes where the riders immediately figure out which side is fastest and never again venture into the other lane, we've seen riders try both sides in the early practices. The only trouble will come if two riders are battling and try to take the same lane--with the track split in half, there's not much room to maneuver if you get a good run in the whoops.
Our resident ex-pro, Jason Thomas, says tonight's biggest factor is the hard, slick dirt. It's a far cry from the old school rutted, soft, sticky Georgia clay we used to see. Technicians with some throttle control might have an unexpected advantage tonight.