Welcome to Atlanta Motor Speedway and a whole new look for Monster Energy Supercross. Atlanta is a traditional and legendary stop for this circuit, but those races took place at Fulton Country Stadium, the Georgia Dome or Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Now we’re at the big NASCAR track about 40 minutes south of downtown, and the room on the infield allows for a super-sized supercross track. A lap of this track is 5000 feet long, compared to about 1800 for an average supercross track. There’s 14,0000 cubic yards of dirt here, which is nearly triple the amount of a normal supercross track. Lap times will be over 1:30, it seems. Plus, we have rain in the forecast, including a slight drizzle before practice began. But hey, if it does rain, we have two more chances at a dry race since we’ll be back again on Tuesday and Saturday. Yup, everything is super sized about this race.
It’s not Daytona, though. Daytona’s sand makes for a hybrid supercross/motocross feel, this has red Georgia clay and the obstacles are pure supercross.
You know the score. Cooper Webb is rolling right now after sweeping Arlington and Orlando (and finishing second at Daytona, so that’s 1-1-2-1-1-1 scores) and holds a 15-point lead over Ken Roczen. Eli Tomac is 41 back.
Today's free practice was cancelled due to the threat of rain. Riders will practice twice in two timed sessions.
In the 250 Group B, it was a Suzuki show with three RM-Z250s of Derek Drake, Sean Cantrell and Dilan Schwartz in action (all three have spent time on the sidelines with injury this year). Also Ryan Sipes is back on his Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas. “The General” also raced Daytona. Sipes had the fastest times in this B session, but he also overjumped one of the massive doubles and landed hard into the flat. This track features huge jumps, we’d presume to help slow speeds on the long straights.
In the C group, Gared “Stank Dog” Steinke jumped to the top, with Blaine Silveria and Jared Lesher third.
Seth Hammaker was ripping early in this session, with huge entrance speed into the first set of whoops and the fastest lap time early. Then Cameron McAdoo and Stylez Robertson moved into the top two spots, with McAdoo the first under the 1:40 mark. McAdoo kept pushing and then nearly looped out in a big rhythm. He slammed on the rear brake to bring it back down and bounced off the track. He didn’t go down, and his lap time held up with a huge gap over the rest of the field. This is the first time someone has topped Justin Cooper in a practice session this year. This time he was second ahead of Lawrence, Chris Blose and Hammaker.
|1||Gared Steinke||01:48.2720||Woodland, CA||Kawasaki KX250|
|2||Blaine Silveira||01:50.7100||Lemoore, CA||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Jared Lesher||01:51.4170||Elderton, PA||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Logan Boye||01:51.7440||Cape Coral, FL||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Cory Carsten||01:52.4590||Bayville, NJ||Husqvarna FC 250|
|1||Ryan Sipes||01:41.4770||Vine Grove, KY||GasGas MC 250F|
|2||Sean Cantrell||01:44.2850||Murrieta, CA||Suzuki RM-Z250|
|3||Dominique Thury||01:44.3680||Schneeberg||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Derek Kelley||01:45.2460||Riverside, CA||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Dilan Schwartz||01:45.7890||Alpine, CA||Suzuki RM-Z250|
|1||Cameron McAdoo||01:39.1850||Sioux City, IA||Kawasaki KX250|
|2||Justin Cooper||01:39.6100||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Hunter Lawrence||01:41.2890||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|01:41.5170||Phoenix, AZ||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Seth Hammaker||01:41.8440||Bainbridge, PA||Kawasaki KX250|
Anderson was the first rider on track of the 450s, but he over jumped the finish line badly—which many, many riders are doing—and that allowed Cooper Webb to shoot by. Roczen logged a fast early time, but then Tomac logged a flyer to top it…only to immediately be topped by Aaron Plessinger! Roczen then set up another fast lap, but everyone had to slow down when Justin Bogle went down in the whoops, leading to some yellow flags. Times kept dropping and Anderson and Chas Sexton moved into the top two spots. Plessinger looked to log one more fast one but didn’t get a good run through the whoops, which ended his bid. Anderson ended the session in the top spot. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna man has been much better in the second half of this season.
In the 450 B session, Alex Ray held the top time early. Look, we’re a little worried about A-Ray getting sketchy on a big, fast track with huge obstacles like this, but he held it together. Then it finally started to rain. Couldn’t keep away from it forever. Josh Hill, in his first race this season and a return to 450SX after a few 250 appearances last year, took over the top time, but A-Ray took it back late.
|1||Jason Anderson||01:37.7260||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|2||Chase Sexton||01:37.9910||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Aaron Plessinger||01:38.5610||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ450F|
|4||Malcolm Stewart||01:38.8700||Haines City, FL||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Dean Wilson||01:39.0170||Scotland||Husqvarna FC 450|
|1||Alex Ray||01:45.4030||Jackson, TN||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Josh Hill||01:46.2850||Yoncalla, OR||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Cade Clason||01:48.0690||Arcadia, OH||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Fredrik Noren||01:48.1840||Lidköping||Kawasaki KX450|
|5||Joan Cros||01:48.8900||Manlleu||Kawasaki KX450|
|1||Mason Kerr||01:55.6170||Altoona, IA||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Theodore Pauli||01:56.8100||Edwardsville, IL||Kawasaki KX450|
|3||Justin Rodbell||01:57.0080||Prince Frederick, MD||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Robert Piazza||01:58.7340||Easton, PA||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Scott Meshey||02:00.0440||Zephyrhills, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
Brandon Hartranft is out for this race for what his Twisted Tea/HEP Suzuki team says is a "minor injury." Hardy Munoz went down hard in the first practice and his Nuclear Blast Yamaha team announced he is out for tonight. Benny Bloss is out. "Gave it a go in the first practice and my ankle just isn’t ready yet," wrote Bloss on Instagram. "Hoping to be back soon! Good luck to my teammates tonight!"
Justin Bogle is out for tonight, he crashed in the whoops early in practice and looked to be holding his wrist. But he wasn't in the fast 40 anyway--and now the final practice has been cancelled.
Yes, due to the rain and the threat of rain, the final practice session was cancelled today. We have not seen a hard downpour but clearly the goal is to make the track as good as possible for tonight and cut back on the ruts and bumps. It's an interesting scenario because this might be the one track the riders might really need more time to learn it.
250 Heat Races
So here’s the question. How bad will the mud be? It drizzled throughout the afternoon, but the rain stopped and the sun came out just before the night show began. The track honestly looked pretty good from a distance, but as soon as the gate dropped you could tell what we were in for. Guys couldn’t jump the jumps and crashes and pileups started breaking out everywhere.
Seth Hammaker holeshot the first 250SX heat but bobbled trying to double, so Robbie Wageman grabbed the lead. Justin Cooper went over the bars and found himself in dead last. Hammaker took the lead back but then crashed, leaving Mitchell Harrison in the lead. Hammaker took it back. Then Cooper, who was dead last early, started making up time in huge chunks. Simply, he started trying to jump the bigger jumps and he made them, and with that he made up absolutely massive time. Cooper came from last to get to second on the final lap and started pressing Hammaker for the lead, then he bobbled in the whoops. Cooper kept jumping things and caught back up to Hammaker, but finished a close second. His final lap was eight seconds faster than anyone else! Hammaker, though, was the winner.
“It’s super difficult, definitely slick underneath,” said Hammaker. “Just a slick base so it’s going to be tough all night. Going to have to figure out some good lines, hopefully we can do that in the main and run away with it.”
Wageman ended up getting docked six positions for cutting the track early in the race, which put Gared Steinke the final transfer into the main. Stank Dog!
|1||Seth Hammaker||3 Laps||2:09.326||Bainbridge, PA||Kawasaki KX250|
|2||Justin Cooper||+00.558||2:01.606||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Mitchell Harrison||+15.006||2:17.454||Lansing, MI||Honda CRF250R|
|4||Kyle Peters||+16.597||2:16.015||Greensboro, NC||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Cedric Soubeyras||+23.743||2:19.068||Entraigues Sue||GasGas MC 250F|
McAdoo and Lawrence battled for the lead early in heat two, McAdoo emerged with the number-one spot but Lawrence got around him by doubling near the NASCAR pit lane. Then McAdoo went for a wild ride and crashed off the top of the tunnel jump. Luckily he was not hurt but that took the wind out of his sails, and left his bar mounts twisted. Lawrence hung on for a relatively easy win. Marchbanks and Blose were next, then McAdoo.
“Most definitely the track was pretty deceiving how slick it was," said Lawrence. "It looked good but we got a fair bit of rain. I definitely have a fair bit of mud experience but it’s been a long time since since I’ve ridden in this, since I moved to the States. But my experience did help for sure.”
|1||Hunter Lawrence||4 Laps||2:02.320||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Garrett Marchbanks||+05.866||2:00.863||Coalville, UT||Yamaha YZ250F|
|+11.832||2:04.993||Phoenix, AZ||GasGas MC 250F|
|4||Cameron McAdoo||+21.040||2:04.633||Sioux City, IA||Kawasaki KX250|
|5||Enzo Lopes||+22.058||2:02.464||Rio Grande do Sul||Honda CRF250R|
Marvin Musquin got a good start but crashed in the first turn on 450 Heat 1, leaving Justin Barcia in the lead. Eli Tomac was second but he didn’t do all the doubles on the first lap, allowing Joey Savatgy to take second. Tomac didn’t jump another jump and Martin Davalos got by him, but then Davalos went down. Then Barcia went flying off of his bike while running in the lead! Tomac put it back together to catch and pass Savatgy for the lead. Then it was Sexton, Stewart, Tickle, Musquin (from down in turn one), Ray, Bowers and Barcia in a transfer spot.
"Right now it’s just deceiving. It looks better than it is," said Tomac. "I think that’s why you see so many mistakes on the first lap, it looks good and “Whoops!” That’s what I tried to do, get a feel for the surface. Learned a lot even just in our four laps there."
|1||Eli Tomac||4 Laps||1:52.631||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Joey Savatgy||+06.379||1:56.395||Thomasville, GA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Chase Sexton||+10.955||1:54.178||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Malcolm Stewart||+15.127||1:57.356||Haines City, FL||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Broc Tickle||+15.619||1:56.454||Holly, MI||Honda CRF450R|
Ken Roczen got the holeshot in Heat 1 but Aaron Plessinger slid by, and then Roczen missed a few rhythms which allowed Max Anstie and Dylan Ferrandis to get around. Then Jason Anderson was getting super sendy and passed Roczen as well, and then Anstie. Anstie, comfortable in the mud, doubled back over Anderson, then Anderson got him back. By then, the Plessinger/Ferrandis combo up front was gone. Anderson, though, was really hanging it out, taking chances and making up huge time. He passed Ferrandis and then wrestled the lead from Plessinger, and Plessinger had to single one of the supercross triples. Then Anderson nearly went for a ride in a rhythm lane, but saved it. Anderson hung on to win. He was fastest in qualifying. He’s on fire here in Atlanta.
"I think it’s really comfortable with my bike," said Anderson. "I feel good in the whoops, the track is pretty slick and I think I have an advantage out there. This track is pretty cool, it’s new for all of us but it’s pretty fun."
"In that heat race I was pushing the pace, I’m not sure I was necessarily comfortable, but I was good through the whoops and about the same everywhere else," said Anderson. "The first lap, you’re going out there blind. You’re pushing and your front end is just sliding. I’m just trying to make everyone with my team happy and myself happy."
|1||Jason Anderson||4 Laps||1:46.852||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|2||Aaron Plessinger||+03.509||1:49.850||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Dylan Ferrandis||+06.835||1:51.182||Avignon||Yamaha YZ450F|
|4||Ken Roczen||+15.378||1:52.650||Mattstedt||Honda CRF450R|
|5||Cooper Webb||+16.938||1:51.054||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
Derek Drake, in his first race this season while coming back from a broken femur, got the early lead. Nate Trasher was second then Jace Owen, Pierce Brown and Ryan Sipes. Thrasher took the lead from Drake, then Owen and Brown battled for third with Sipes and Carson Mumford hoping for a lucky break to get in. Sipes made the move late in the whoops on Owen to grab the final transfer.
|1||Nate Thrasher||4 Laps||1:50.579||Livingston, TN||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Derek Drake||+05.634||1:52.520||San Luis Obispo, CA||Suzuki RM-Z250|
|3||Pierce Brown||+07.860||1:53.528||Sandy, UT||GasGas MC 250F|
|4||Ryan Sipes||+08.446||1:51.893||Vine Grove, KY||GasGas MC 250F|
|5||Jace Owen||+10.278||1:53.797||Mattoon, IL||Yamaha YZ250F|
Fredrik Noren grabbed the holeshot in the 450LCQ but was eventually overhauled by Martin Davalos. Davalos was flying in his heat race but crashed far too many times. He was steady here and hung on to win it. Noren was next, then Kevin Moranz and Tyler Bowers battled for the final spots with Justin Starling just behind them hoping for a way in. The heartbreak was for Dean Wilson, who went down in the second turn and then crashed again on the first lap and found himself last. He worked up to sixth late but had too much time to make up. Late in the race, Bowers passed Moranz to take third, and Moranz, with a huge first pump, crossed the line with the final transfer. Starling was Just Short.
|4 Laps||1:51.045||Quito||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Fredrik Noren||+01.244||1:52.431||Lidköping||Kawasaki KX450|
|3||Tyler Bowers||+02.438||1:51.741||Danville, KY||Kawasaki KX450|
|+03.542||1:53.265||Topeka, KS||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Justin Starling||+06.935||1:51.733||Deland, FL||KTM 450 SX-F|
Seth Hammaker holeshot but made a mistake, opening the door for Nate Thrasher, who had an LCQ gate pick. Thrasher simply jammed on the brakes and went inside in turn one to take the lead. Moments later, Hunter Lawrence went down in turn one, getting bumped by Justin Cooper. A few turns later, Garrett Marchbanks used another inside line to get into second, behind Thrasher. Cooper and Cameron McAdoo came through next. McAdoo later tried to make a move on Marchbanks in the whoops but went sideways and off the track, then slid out on the concrete and went down. This was big for points, as it allowed Cooper to slip by him.
Thrasher continued to run a brilliant race out front. Marchbanks was slightly quicker from second but wasn’t making up enough ground to put pressure on, and then on the seventh lap Marchbanks went down in the whoops. He lost several positions in the process, with Cooper, McAdoo, Hammaker, Kyle Peters and Mitchell Harrison getting by. Then came Jalek Swoll, who was doing all he could to hold off Hunter Lawrence.
Thrasher never put a wheel significantly wrong, and went from an average start to his professional career to suddenly getting his first win. His best finish before this was a ninth. On the very last lap of his heat race, Thrasher logged the fastest lap time of any 250 rider in a heat--but it wasn't enough to overcome his first-lap crash, and he had to go to the LCQ. That speed he found late in the heat never went away.
"The track is so technical. It’s tough out there. I got a great start, went to the LCQ but I knew I had the speed tonight," said Thrasher. "Track was technical and I’m good at that stuff. Feels amazing! I just want to take it in tonigt an come back on Tuesday. I’ve got a lot of friends and family here, I’m from Tennessee so this is about the closest I have to a home race. I want to thank them, I could hear them the whole race. I didn’t even know for sure if I was going to race supercross this year, but we just kept building and we knew it was coming."
Cooper was hurting after the big crash early in his heat and was happy to just get on the podium, and add two more points to his lead on third-place McAdoo.
“Just try to recover for Tuesday," said Cooper. "I got wheelspin in the heat race and I knew I was going down immediately. Hurt my back and shoulder and I couldn’t get my breath out there. TO be on the podium is amazing. I knew it was going to be hard after the heat, I started to tighten up, but luckily the adrenaline took over. Happy to salvage some points. I’ve just got to recover for Tuesday. I’m definitely beat up after that heat race crash.”
"It was important to salvage those points," said McAdoo after a mistake-filled night. "In the heat race I wasn’t patient enough and went down. In the main event I got a great start but I messed up a rhythm, Thrasher got me and I almost landed on his back wheel. Then someone [Marchbanks] cut inside and decided we just weren’t going to jump the double before the finish. In the whoops, I wasn’t patient enough again and went off the track, and there’s no saving it once you’re off the track there."
|1||Nate Thrasher||9 Laps||1:44.070||Livingston, TN||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Justin Cooper||+11.677||1:44.512||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Cameron McAdoo||+28.108||1:45.934||Sioux City, IA||Kawasaki KX250|
|4||Seth Hammaker||+29.961||1:47.588||Bainbridge, PA||Kawasaki KX250|
|5||Kyle Peters||+43.883||1:48.078||Greensboro, NC||Honda CRF250R|
450 Main Event
Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb battled for the holeshot with Plessinger locking it down. Vince Friese had a good start and made a quick pass to take third from Chase Sexton, then Sexton got him back. Savatgy passed Friese next, then Friese and Max Anstie came together and went back to the back of the pack.
Plessinger was on fire. Five minutes in, he had pulled a five second lead on Webb and the fans were cheering his every move. Sexton was third and putting pressure on Webb, and then Tomac joined them to make for a three-rider battle. Sexton kept pressing Webb for second and then finally got by him in the second whoop section. Sexton was going a little quicker than Plessinger, but Plessinger’s lead was still big. But then he went down in a right hander and coughed up the lead! Sexton slipped by to take the top spot. Tomac jumped through the whoops to get around Webb for second, but he had a lot of ground to make up on Sexton. Tomac started doing it. He started to find his groove, and the defending champ began to close the gap on Sexton. As the white flag came out, it looked like we were headed to a last-lap battle for the win. Unfortunately, Sexton got tangled with lapped rider Cade Clason and that allowed Tomac to sail by as they hit the white flag. Tomac went on to take the win with Sexton a heart-breaking second, and Webb third.
“I came in here with a good mind set,” said Tomac. “I knew this track was going to suit me and it did. It turned into quite a beast, I switched up some lines in the whoops and it paid off. We got a couple of gifts and it paid off. We’ll take it. Track guys did great, the track really shaped up.”
Sexton kept his chin up by capturing his first-ever 450SX podium.
“It was definitely a challenge,” said Sexton. “Had to get around Cooper, it was good racing, then Aaron went down and it got me into the lead. I was trying to log consistent laps and patient. I was struggling through the whoops over there, and I couldn’t find a flow through there. But I had this back half kind of dialed, but Eli would catch me on the front side. Overall it was a big push for me. I’d like to re-do the two corners before the white flag. But we’ve got two more races to go here, first podium in supercross on the 450.”
[Note: In the post race press conference Sexton said he thought it was the last lap of the race and the race was over once he jumped the finishline. That's why he rolled the next double and allowed Tomac to pull far ahead.]
Webb was third.
“I wasn’t pumped on that ride,” he said. “Got a good start like I needed. I was put in a good situation, AP was riding well but he went down. I got into the lead but I didn’t execute. But those guys got around me and pulled away. It wasn’t the best race. I honestly struggled. The track changed so much today. It’s nice that it wasn’t a mud race, I’m a little bummed on myself, didn’t adjust to the track, didn’t adjust the bike I should have. But it’s always good to add points on your bad days. We’ll be back for Tuesday and we’ll try to regroup. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board so we can run with Eli and Chase on these next couple of ones.”
Anderson, so fast early in the day, got a mediocore start and pulled through for fourth. He was part of a huge battle, with Dylan Ferrandis catching fire late in the race and getting fifth. Ferrandis passed Ken Roczen, Joey Savatgy, Malcolm Stewart, Marvin Musquin and Aaron Plessinger to get to fifth. Plessinger, after the crash, was sixth, then it was Musquin, Savatgy, Roczen and Barcia. Roczen started about 17th and never really moved forward, he spent most of the race trying to catch Musquin but couldn’t make up ground. Later, he was passed by Ferrandis, and the ninth place finish puts him 22 points down on Web.
Barcia rounded out the top ten after basically starting last.
|1||Eli Tomac||12 Laps||1:40.285||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Chase Sexton||+06.669||1:40.577||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Cooper Webb||+16.864||1:41.282||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|4||Jason Anderson||+22.043||1:41.711||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|5||Dylan Ferrandis||+23.883||1:41.048||Avignon||Yamaha YZ450F|