The Dirty South. A-Town. Hotlanta. Whatever you call it, Atlanta is one of the most popular rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. This round has always been more of a regional event. Neighboring race fans from all states in every direction gravitate towards northern Georgia in hopes of a great weekend. As a kid, it was one of the races I looked forward to most. Even with a five-hour drive, it was like a racing family reunion. This weekend will be no different, seeing old friends and making new ones.
Dirty Little Secrets
The start is one of the longest of the season. It barrels down the length of the stadium floor and into a long sweeping left. Just before the corner straightens up, several jumps wait for the riders. These first jumps look similar to Detroit’s exit of the first turn. I think the line here will be to triple the first three small jumps (possibly wheel tap), setting them up to step-on step-off, triple-double into the turn. As always, the rhythm possibilities will depend on how the jumps are built, but on paper, that looks like the optimal choice.
A bowl berm leads directly into a standard triple face so watch for the 250 riders to work hard to clear this triple as the turn breaks down. Qualifying practices get very rutty, putting jumps like this into difficulty. A small whoops section shouldn’t cause too much trouble before a 180 right sends riders backwards down the start straight.
An awkward angled double is in the apex of the next corner so look for riders to swing wide to set up, just after passing the mechanics’ area. The trouble comes in when a following rider foregoes that idea and decides to just barrel into where the lead rider will try to jump from. With a lot of room to maneuver coming down the start, watch for this to be a big block pass area but also a big time loser overall because neither rider will be able to double.
Depending how the next jumps are built, riders could possibly go 3-3 or maybe just 2-2-2. The bigger option will be fast if possible but variables like soft dirt, jump angles, and jump height can alter that plan.
Another bowl berm sets riders up for a run into the main whoops section. Atlanta’s whoops usually break down significantly due to the softer dirt and winter weather’s moisture. They could be difficult during timed qualifying but they are usually a non-factor by race time. Watch for everyone to start hopping, wheelying, and generally looking for a rhythm during the main event. As we have seen this season, some riders are better than others at jumping whoops, so it could be a key factor.
A bowl berm right follows the whoops and always seems to be a popular block pass spot. With it also being the final corner, watch for fireworks as riders fire toward the apex hoping for a dramatic last corner pass (Webb-Roczen at Arlington was the same).
A step-on step-off sends riders into the finish line jump. Upon landing, riders head into the first sand section we have seen in a while after passing under the bridge. I am not a huge fan of these looping sand corners as it seems to just be one-lined to the inside all the way around. We did see some heavy contact in this same scenario at Glendale in 2017, with Jason Anderson plowing his way forward. It takes a very aggressive move to make a pass in this continuous right-hand corner but watch for something desperate in the qualifiers. The bridge tabletop will pop riders up and over and back into the first turn for lap two.
Questions I Need Answered
Atlanta has been good to Marvin Musquin. Can he find his first win of the season down south?
Who’s king of the 250SX class?
Will Justin Hill find his 2018 ATL magic?
How many times will I be security checked going into the dome on Saturday? The over/under is 93.
Can Martin Davalos replicate his podium from Atlanta in 2006?
Austin Forkner has been lights out in the first three rounds of the 250SX East Region.
Eli Tomac bounced back to win the overall in Detroit. He is the only rider I have ever considered putting in both the Hot and Cold columns in the same week.
Cooper Webb fought through some serious struggles to grab a runner up finish in Detroit and extend his lead over Ken Roczen.
Jordon Smith overcame a sore wrist to stay in this 250SX title fight.
Chad Reed got his first podium since 2017.
Justin Hill has not been able to put it together so far this year. He shows flashes of speed but it’s not equating to a good finish as of yet.
Cole Seely took a brick (rumored) to the chest and was forced to sit out Detroit’s racing. He has been riding much better than his results would indicate.
The weather this year on race day has been brutal more times than not. Rain, snow, sub-freezing temps—we have seen it all. Atlanta is calling for rain again on Saturday which should make for a fantastic Fan Fest.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki superstars Austin Forkner and Adam Cianciarulo collide in an epic matchup. All that remains after their East/West main event is an Instagram video of a nuclear detonation. The video gets well over 100K likes, though.
Chad Reed gets a cbdMD tattoo on his forehead in hopes of loop holing the advertising ban.
Eli Tomac either goes really fast… or doesn’t. There’s no way to know for sure anymore.
Several riders sleep atop their bikes all weekend in hopes of avoiding—well—I think we all can guess what happens to motorcycles in Atlanta.
Michael Antonovich drops several hashtags indicating his wish to permanently move to the greater Atlanta Metro.
Justin Hill makes every fantasy player’s life SOOO hard with incredibly persuasive qualifying laps. Brutal.