Atlanta, here we come! I love new stadiums. Every time we introduce a new stadium into the Monster Energy AMA Supercross fray, it goes incredibly well. Last season, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was the newbie on the block after many years in the now-defunct Metrodome. That was an impressive display of architecture and a fantastic venue for supercross. Atlanta is undergoing this same changing of the guard, with the Georgia Dome playing host for over 25 years. This year’s introduction of the Mercedes Benz Stadium should be another testament as to what new venues can offer. Many (i.e., Weege and Matthes) felt that the Georgia Dome was still perfectly fine, but following Minneapolis’ first impression last year, I’m all in on new stadiums.
The track this year is very, very busy. I don’t know if I have ever seen this many jumps on one supercross track. With so many jumps, it makes sense that the start will be very short. Riders will file into a 90-degree left before another 90-degree left and into the first rhythm section. There will be two ways through this first section. Three-three will be the fastest, but with a tight turn, it might not be possible. If not, riders will go 2-3-1 and into the next bowl berm. The next rhythm will be a quick 3-3 for the elite and into another bowl berm. The only set of whoops follows the aforementioned right turn, and look for these to be broken down significantly by main event time. A rut or two will form and riders will hop, skip, and jump their way through and into a long sweeping right-hand turn. The inside of the turn will have rollers to help create a viable outside line, too. Look for the outside to be the quicker option, as riders will be able to also set up for the following rhythm section.
This rhythm could get interesting, as there are a few options on paper. If riders can triple out of the turn, they can then go tabletop to tabletop, clearing a single jump along the way. A double and on-off would finish the straightaway. If that initial triple doesn’t work, they will go double, single-over-table, single-over-table, and then double, on-off. Riders would be able to stay low and fast on this second option, but it also adds another jump. The first option is five take-offs/landings and the second option is six. Look for riders to try out a few different variations similar to Tampa’s big rhythm last week.
After a 90-degree right (with a jump halfway into the turn), there are five jumps in a short rhythm section. Look for a 2-3 combo here and into the next berm. A standard supercross triple is right out of this turn, which will be tough for the 250 guys. Riders are thrown into another bowl berm upon landing the triple and another short rhythm. I look for a quick double out of this turn, but a triple is possible. If they triple, they would then tabletop-to-single into the turn. Doubling would keep riders a little lower and also allow riders to “race” through the turn without worrying about having to triple. A small double precedes the finish line jump and a 180 back onto the start straight.
This is the busiest track I can recall with the most rhythm sections and tight turns. With this amount of switchbacks into bowl berms, riders will be forced to get aggressive because they won’t have long enough straightaways to pull alongside another rider. Look for a lot of block passing and contact in these bowl berms.
Questions I Want Answered:
Is Justin Hill for real?
Will the COW (Eli Tomac) continue his feast or famine season?
Will Zach Osborne bounce back and try to establish dominance?
Tomac has won two in a row and has to be kicking himself right about meow. He has a fair claim to say he’s the fastest guy, but being the fastest guy doesn’t guarantee a title.
Marvin Musquin has three second-place finishes in a row and has found his groove. He’s 39 points behind Anderson and needs a big mistake from the #21, BUT he isn’t out of this thing.
Justin Hill made huge waves in 450SX and all eyes will be on him come Atlanta.
Austin Forkner won his first 250 main event after holding off Dylan Ferrandis and his last-lap charge.
Cooper Webb may not be a shoe-in for this “hot” designation, but he is coming, folks. He has been better and better each week.
Jeremy Martin has had a rough 250 supercross go of it. He looks great in practice, but when the gate drops, things just don’t work out.
HRC Honda lost another rider in Cole Seely last weekend and simply can’t buy a break. With no MXGP riders left to field and both of their USA riders also hurt, it’s a tough time to be in red.
Jordon Smith is riding really well, but that isn’t translating into results just yet. He started the 2017 season on fire, but 2018 has been the exact opposite so far. He needs to get out front early and out of the chaos behind him.
Marvin Musquin wins on the super technical Atlanta course.
Chaos reigns in the 250 class. Bold, right?
Chad Reed breaks the record for most main events at 229.
I am asked 349 times if I think Honda will ask Stew to fill in.
Steve Matthes immediately regrets his decision to skip Atlanta after learning the race is tape delayed.
Blake Baggett holeshots the heat race and main event.