Round Nine of the AMA Monster Energy Supercross ran at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta Saturday night for just the second time and much like this new venue, the racing was exceptional. This initial 2019 East/West showdown did not disappoint as many of the fan favorites delivered exciting action from the 120 yard long start funnel to the initial holeshot. This year’s track design and conditions offered the riders multiple lines to race and plenty of action in the whoops. The soft sand horseshoe berm prior to the table jump was great only for race leaders, as riders in tight packs were covering each other with rooster tails of dirt.
The main heats for the 450 and 250 East/West were shaped following a full day of qualifying. The 250SX East heat went off without a hitch as Alex Martin grabbed the holeshot but held the lead only briefly as Chase Sexton passed him with Austin Forkner in tow. About halfway through Wilson Fleming went down in the outside line of small jumps, causing a Red flag stop. Following a staggered restart, Sexton held the lead until Forkner was too much for him and took the top spot, with Martin Davalos finishing third.
The 250 West Heat featured Shane McElrath grabbing the holeshot with fan favorites Colt Nichols close behind and Adam Cianciarulo back in 10th. Despite constant pressure from Nichols, McElrath held on to win the heat while Cianciarulo battled his way back up to the third spot to advance.
Heat One of the 450SX class saw the first big pile up of the night. While Blake Baggett ended up in the holeshot after the 120 yard drag race, several riders tangled and hit the dirt in turn one after Zach Osborne and Justin Bogle mixed things up. The KTP Trio of Blake Baggett, Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb held their own but it was clearly going be a great night for Cooper Webb as he pulled passed Musquin for second on the final lap. Osborne recovered well enough to get into the Main Event.
The 450SX Heat Two included favorite hotshoes Aaron Plessinger and Eli Tomac but it was Dean Wilson winning the holeshot and gassing it into the first set of whoops. Cole Seely wasn’t fased by his weak start and a few laps in, he passed Wilson for the lead. Wilson held on to second with Justin Brayton third. Plessinger, Roczen and Tomac battled back from deep in the pack enough to make it to the main event.
The 250SX East/West Showdown saw teammates Austin Forkner and Adam Cianciarulo at the first turn with Forkner nailing the holeshot and Cianciarulo applying pressure early on. Chase Sexton and Team Honda were not about to let the two Kawasakis have all the fun and quickly slid into second place. Dylan Ferrandis on his YZ250F was keeping it tight on the three up front. Cianciarulo pulled ahead of Sexton for second and set his sights on teammate Forkner who was having issues of his own. As Forkner struggled to find a good line he kept fading enough for Cianciarulo to overtake for the lead. Soon after, the YZ250F of Dylan Ferrandis blew past to the delight of the crowd. Forkner held on for the final podium spot and a big win for the 205SX East contingent.
As mentioned earlier, this just seemed to be Cooper Webb’s night. Hailing from nearby North Carolina and having many friends and family in attendance, the energy in the stadium seemed to push him as he crushed the 450SX Main Event start for the holeshot. Even with KTM stablemates Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett in hot pursuit, Webb would simply not be denied. After Musquin banged Webb in a first lap corner he seemed to struggle to hold off Baggett. Musquin went wide in the sandy horseshoe berm and Baggett was able to pass him on the inside. Baggett and Musquin battled for second as Webb pulled away. Ken Roczen’s gasser move into turn one proved wise as he slid into the fourth spot. At the checkered flag and Monster Energy Flames, Cooper Webb had held on for his fifth win of the season with Baggett in second and Musquin on the last podium spot with Roczen and Aaron Plessinger rounding out the top five in the final main event.
Over the last several years Atlanta has proven an excellent stop for the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series. This year’s increased attendance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium seems to indicate that if the AMA can continue to bring this high level of racing and competition to the Atlanta area the event will continue to grow while drawing fans from all across the Southeast region. Next up is Daytona. See you there!
Results 450SX Class – Atlanta 2019
1. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, 26 laps
2. Blake Baggett (USA), KTM, +1.167
3. Marvin Musquin (FRA), KTM, +2.141
Standings 450SX Class 2019 after 9 of 17 rounds
1. Webb, 199 points
2. Roczen, 186
3. Musquin, 182
Results 250SX East/West Showdown Main Event – Atlanta 2019
1. Adam Cianciarulo (USA), Kawasaki, 20 laps
2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Yamaha, +04.821
3. Austin Forkner (USA), Kawasaki, +11.301
Standings 250SX East Class 2019 after 4 of 10 rounds
1. Forkner, 99 points
2. Cooper, 81
3. Sexton, 79
Standings 250SX West Class 2019 after 6 of 10 rounds
1. Cianciarulo, 140 points
2. Ferrandis, 125
3. McElrath, 123
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Fantastic Atlanta round! Good job covering the event!
Good write-up! Thanks, Phil! What’s the next event like this coming to the ATL?
The next big race coming to the ATL will be American Flat Track, March 23-24, at Dixie Speedway. Very exciting racing as well!
MotoAmerica road racing returns to Road Atlanta April 5-7, bringing insane speeds!