Monster Energy Supercross rolled into Atlanta Saturday night and what another insane night of racing. Saturday was round 9 for the Monster Energy Supercross Championship.
Saturday night was action packed with a few surprises including the East West showdown. The first 250 Moto was packed with action from the gate drop with the Charles Sexton getting the Holeshot. Austin Forkner on quickly took the lead, however due to an injured rider a red flag caused a single file restart. This was not what Forkner needed after such a good run. Forkner managed to keep Sexton at bay to keep his winning streak alive, as Sexton could not get the job done. Austin Forkner took the win with Charles Sexton in 2nd and Martin Davalos in 3rd.
The 250 West heat was another great moto with a few surprises. Shane McElrath jumped out of the gate for the holeshot and kept out front the entire moto. Colt Nichols and Adam Cianciarulo were hot on his trail from the start, with Adam looking the best I have seen him in a long time. Nichols and McElrath were battling it the entire moto but no matter what, McElrath held him off. The sand section added to some of the action last night claiming several riders in every class. Shane McElrath took the win followed by Colt Nichols in 2nd and Adam Cianciarulo rounding out the top 3.
The first 450SX heat 1 was a night for KTM with Orange dominating the podium and the sand claiming lots of victims. Saturday also saw the return of Mike Alessi for the first time since March of 2017. Mike has been racing the Rockstar Triple Crown Series in Canada the last few years and had told me he was doing no more AMA, however, he had a chance to fill in for Vincent Friese who is Injured. When the gate dropped, Baggett scored the holeshot and dominated the first moto. Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin battled back and forth but could not touch Baggett. Mike Alessi got solid 4th place start. Blake rode hard the entire moto, trying to minimize any mistakes that Webb and Musquin could capitalize on, but Webb failed on the last corner attempt to steal the spot making for a wild finish. Baggett managed to take the win with Cooper Webb taking second and Marvin Musquin in 3rd.
The Second 450SX heat race was going to be good just looking at the lineup and the points race; it was going to be wild. When the gate dropped, Dean Wilson stole the holeshot with Cole Seeley and Justin Brayton in hot pursuit. The lead was not to continue as Cole Seely stole the lead and kept up the momentum. Eli Tomac struggled all night again, being caught in the sand, and ended up 8th calling for some serious damage control in the upcoming weeks. Dean Wilson rode hard the entire moto. While he has been plagued with injuries, this year seems to be one of his best in a long time. He looks like he is really having fun again on the bike. This week also proved to be a good one for Chad Reed. While he didn’t make the podium, he put in a solid 6th place finish – not bad for the oldest guy on the circuit and a fan favourite. When all was said and done, Cole Seely was your winner with Dean Wilson in second and Justin Brayton in 3rd.
The 3rd 250 Moto of the night was the first East West shootout for the year. The shootout was definitely a surprise, because I did not expect to see the leaders that we ended up with. Adam Cianciarulo captured the holeshot, and no one could touch him the entire race. Austin Forkner quickly took the lead, which was my bet, however he couldn’t keep the lead. The entire race you had Austin Forkner, Adam Cianciarulo, Dylan Ferrandis, and Chase Sexton battling the entire moto. The sand again played a big part of the action and made for lots of good racing. I honestly was shocked at Austin Forkner; he has been such a dominating force in the 250 east I really did not expect Adam Cianciarulo to take such a commanding lead over him. Maybe he should have stuck with the Pixy Stix’s. When it came down to the checkered it was Adam Cianciarulo taking the win, Dylan Ferrandis in 2nd and Austin Forkner who rounded out the podium with 3rd. The win gives Austin an 18 point lead over Justin Cooper 2nd and only a 2-point lead over Chase Sexton, with a lot of good racing left in the series.
The 450SX main brought another wild ride to the evening, seeing quite a few riders struggle in the final moto. The final gate of the night dropped with the KTM riders dominating the race on every lap. Right from the start it was Cooper Webb dominating the race followed by Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett setting the tone for the last moto. Eli Tomac again struggled with a 12th place start again. Ken Roczen had a decent 4th place start in the moto and battled hard to do damage control to try to keep his points, however he just could not touch the KTM riders. Blake Baggett managed to steal the 2nd spot from Marvin Musquin. After several attempts to regain the lead he couldn’t close the gap on Cooper Webb. In the end Cooper Webb took the win with Blake Baggett in 2nd and Marvin Musquin in 3rd. Ken Roczen ended up in 4th giving him a 4pt deficit from Cooper Webb in the points standings. Marvin Musquin is only 4 points behind Ken Roczen with a very hungry Eli Tomac looking to get back on top in the points.
Heading into round 10 at Daytona, it’s anyone’s guess who is going to win the championship. Daytona always is an amazing race that is sure to add some more excitement into the mix and is always a tossup for weather. I’m sure next week’s racing will make it a season to remember as it’s still anyone’s championship leading to Las Vegas.