While Ken Roczen’s fourth win of 2021 and Cameron McAdoo’s heroic podium ride after crashing heavily have dominated the headlines of the 450SX and 250SX classes, respectively, there were plenty of other great performances to talk about from Atlanta 2. Justin Cooper had to regroup after the red flag and get another great start to grab what would become his third win of the season. Hunter Lawrence came from quite far back in the 250SX main event to just get around an ailing McAdoo for second late in the race. And Chase Sexton completed the first Honda HRC 1-2 of the year with his second straight runner-up finish in the 450SX main event.
All three riders had plenty to be excited about and they spoke with the media via Zoom after the race on Tuesday night.
Justin Cooper | 1st in 250SX
Racer X: Justin, you mentioned on the podium after going by and seeing Cameron down and then the red flag and him back on the gate and how that kind of took you out of your head space before the next restart. Can you talk about that a little bit? Has the team mentioned they’re exploring if that was allowed or anything past the race?
Justin Cooper: Always when you’re winning a race and it gets red flagged, it’s always hard to regroup and try to do the same thing. It’s not often where you can go back-to-back putting yourself in a good position, especially in a main event where all the pressure is. I was actually really glad to see that Cameron was there and ready to race. I just saw the crash. I’ve never seen a crash that gnarly. So, props to him for even being able to get up on his power because that was definitely gnarly. Back to my mindset before the race, you just got to put yourself back in the zone and try and calm down, keep your heart rate down and really execute what you just did before. Definitely hard to do. I’m glad I was able to put myself in another good position to get out front again in the second race.
What about just the fact of being allowed to line back up? Did you have a question about that in your mind at the time?
I was thinking about it. I’ve never seen it done in supercross; I don’t believe. I don't know if they were waiting on a call or whatever, but it was a while, so I was kind of just wondering what was going on out there. You don’t want to let the heart rate go down and not be ready to race. I was in a hurry to get back out there. I was sweating. I guess they were making a call or something, so it was just a long time on the gate. It was good to see that he was there ready to race.
Hunter Lawrence | 2nd in 250SX
Racer X: Hunter, obviously with the restart you were pretty aware of what happened. During the battle with Cameron McAdoo towards the later part of the race, does any of what happened to him kind of play into your mind when you’re racing? Were you using kid gloves and making sure you had clean passes, or was it just business as usual for the pass?
Hunter Lawrence: [Laughs] I wasn’t going to try and saw the guy’s bike in half, for sure. But I was trying to get around him as best as I could. I don’t really think I’m a rider that always passes aggressively, so it wasn’t on my mind to be gentle.
Take us through what happened early in the moto. It seemed like you had really good speed tonight. Do you think you had the pace to get a win?
Yeah, most definitely. We made a pretty big change to the shock before the main event. I was struggling with the bike setup quite a bit through the day. We made the change. That definitely helped us, and I was a lot more comfortable, so that was good. I definitely think my speed was there. Didn’t get the best start. I think I got the fastest lap time and had a really good pace going from the halfway point onwards. I would have loved to have put myself in a better position off the start, for sure.
Chase Sexton | 2nd in 450SX
Racer X: Chase, being a rookie in the 450SX class, you said on the podium that things are just starting to click. I’m just curious, being the young guy in the class and stuff and doing so well, are you clicking mentally, like it’s confidence? Or are you clicking with the bike? Is it a combo? What is clicking so much that you’re where you are?
Chase Sexton: For me, I would say a little bit of both. It’s been a little bit of a struggle this year. Obviously, I’ve had some crashes and haven’t been too nice on my face, and that crash in Houston while leading. It was pretty mentally defeating going and getting those hits week in and week out. I’m not used to it. I don’t usually crash that much. I’m usually a pretty smooth rider. So, for that, it had knocked my confidence a little bit farther down. I feel like Dallas I really started to click off better rides. Obviously I had a crash again [at Arlington 3], but I feel like I was in a better head space coming into this residency. It’s paying off obviously with two seconds. Like I said on the podium, second is only going to make me happy for so long. Looking obviously to win, but tonight was a good night for Kenny and I. Definitely mentally and with the bike. Learning the 450 is a whole different game how rough the track gets, and the races are long. It’s just been a really big learning stage. I can learn something every weekend. I think we’re going in the right direction for next year. Just happy to be back to, I would say, my normal self. My confidence is definitely building.
Watch the full Atlanta 2 Supercross post-race press conference below: