Down south we go for round 14 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. The Atlanta Motor Speedway makes its return after debuting with a triple header in 2021. The atmosphere of the current Atlanta round is completely different than what we used to experience. Whether it was Fulton County Stadium (1970’s until 1992), the Georgia Dome (1992 till 2017), or most recently the Mercedes-Benz Dome, the downtown feel of our Atlanta rendezvous had a distinct vibe. The move down to a speedway more akin to NASCAR than supercross changed the entire approach. It feels more like our visits to Charlotte in the late ‘90s than it does Atlanta. Love it or hate it, there is no denying the significant change.
Dirty Little Secrets
This year’s start is placed right in the middle of the track. It stretches alongside the speedway before bending into a long 180-degree left. The first rhythm section will be a fast one on normal laps. It’s built similarly to last week’s first rhythm. There might be an opportunity for a triple on-triple off and then 3-3. Make no mistake, that option will ask the maximum. Last week, the 3-3-4 only worked in qualifying practice and was abandoned for the races. The difference this week is in the run-up before it. Speed and momentum won’t be an issue so look for the biggest of options to be taken.
A very fast section crosses under the bridge and past the mechanics’ area before a standard supercross triple. This section bends left then right, setting riders up to scrub most of that speed before the triple. A fast sand section greets riders on the triple landing, taking them to the far end of the speedway. As they bend back along pit lane, riders will have a 2-2-3 section before the first of two whoops sections on this Atlanta Motor Speedway course. With a fast lead-in, watch for these to be pivotal.
A big floating double follows the whoops and then bends into the bridge jump, slowing things down briefly. Riders will accelerate hard on the downside of the bridge, crossing over the starting straight and immediately into the finish line jump. A small double is up next and into the first of back-to-back 180-degree turns. The exit of the second 180 will present a chance for a 3-3 and then into a fast split-lane sand section. It will be interesting to see how track officials approach this section as conventional wisdom would see riders crossing back and forth from inside to outside and vice versa.
A standard supercross triple takes riders to the extreme other side of the speedway before a long, flat track-style 180 left. That left straightens just before a shorter whoops section and into a fast 90-degree right hander. Two big floating doubles bring riders back along pit lane, rejoining the fast, first rhythm section.
Marvelous Marvin Musquin won the STL Triple Crown event. It hasn’t been Marv’s best year, but he was super strong down the stretch last year so maybe this is the start of the same. With his focus solely on SX, he might reap the benefit of an anti-climactic championship and thoughts of Fox Raceway at Pala.
Chase Sexton won the first race of the Triple Crown and looked back on form. I would settle for a few weeks of calm in a rider that has hit the ground far too often. Podiums are just a bonus.
RJ Hampshire got one! After years of being oh-so-close, RJ made good. It looked awfully shaky in that first race, but he was able to overcome a bit of adversity and outlast a mistake by Jett in the final go-round.
Dean Wilson suffered a bum injury that is still plaguing him as you read this.
Pierce Brown made contact on the first lap of the first race and that somehow cost him two of the three races. His frustration was palpable.
Dean Wilson runs a footpeg butt patch for the remainder of his career.
PulpMX’s Yamaha LCQ Challenge is only two weeks away and the chaos is ramping accordingly. To compliment the terror that the privateers will inflict on each other for the huge cash payout, the losers will be subjected to a stretching rack overnight.
Several people are overheard muttering “we should be doing this every weekend” during the 250 Showdown.