The first of two consecutive Monster Energy AMA Supercross weekends at the Georgia Dome – Atlanta 1 SX – brought us a slick track without much opportunity for passing, and a split whoops lane that almost none of the riders used to their advantage.
Several big crashes, including one in practice, shook up the points battle at the top, and a fan favorite – except when he’s the villain – returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. Let’s see who came out on the Upside, or Downside, this weekend.
2015 Atlanta 1 450SX Commentary – Upside
Chad Reed – Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports/Kawasaki: Maybe being out of contention for the title takes the edge off the pressure to win, or maybe it’s that you can never quite count Reed out for a surprise win, but Atlanta 1 was a surprise. Just when it looked like Ryan Dungey and Trey Canard were going to trade wins every weekend – with Roczen and Tomac sneaking in now and then – Reed blasted his KX450F off the gate and took the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award, and then led every lap to the checkered flag.
Fending off a late charge from Dungey, Reed’s win was legit, and shows that the veteran rider isn’t done yet. Said the Australian from the podium, “It’s been a long time, I’m old as the hills but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun racing with these kids.”
Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: Continuing his unbroken streak of podiums since the second race of the 2015 AMA Supercross season, Dungey finished 2nd behind Reed. It barely matters that he didn’t take the win, as he increases his overall lead over second place by a whopping 13 points.
Although it is too soon to kick back and get comfortable, Dungey is a full race ahead of Canard, who now sits second in points. Dungey, riding a 450 SX-F Factory Edition, is smart enough to keep his eye on the big picture, and beating Reed at Atlanta was not the goal. “I had some work to do to catch up to him after an okay start. Apart from the start, I’m happy with the way I rode,” Dungey admitted. “The way the cards fell tonight, and several guys having big crashes, I’m happy to have been able to extend my points lead in the championship.”
Trey Canard – Team Honda: Canard seems to have found his groove and his consistent results are paying off. With his fourth podium in the last five races, Canard has moved into second in overall points behind series leader, Dungey. Starts continue to dog him, though, as he was ninth around the first turn in the Main and it wasn’t until halfway through the race that he moved his CRF450R into third. He was not able to reel in Dungey, so took another 3rd place finish.
Weston Peick – AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGR Yamaha: Tough as nails, Peick bounces back from last week’s DNF in Arlington (where he tore his MCL in the first turn), by qualifying straight to the Main from his Heat on his YZ450F. He then got off to a great start in the Main, wheelying past fill-in teammate Phil Nicoletti in the whoops to take over second on lap two.
Peick maintained the position until Dungey chased him down six laps later, and was eventually passed by Canard and Cole Seely, finishing fifth. Peick said he got tired, which is no surprise since he hasn’t been able to put in 20-lap practices for the past six weeks, due to injuries.
Cole Seely – Team Honda: Bouncing back from last week’s 10th place finish in Arlington, Seely kept it on two wheels this week and rode a solid, and happily uneventful, race to a fourth-place result. Sitting 6th in the overall standings, 450 rookie Seely says he’s trying to take things slow and learn each weekend as he adapts to the demanding 20-lap, 17-race schedule. “I am definitely stoked that I’m moving in the right direction,” Seely said. “We’ll keep working this week and hopefully make it onto the box next week.”
2015 Atlanta 1 250SX Commentary – Downside
Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki: Yikes. Is Roczen starting to unravel, or is it just a second bad race? After watching the scary looking practice crash, it was a relief to see that Roczen was well enough to line up for his Heat. There, adrenalin surely took over, and he qualified straight to the Main with a third-place finish.
However, the rest of the evening went downhill for Roczen, as he had a terrible start, coming around the first turn in 16th place, and then went down on lap five, tumbling into the Tuff Blocks. He was able to remount and finish the race – though a lap down – in 18th, and took away three valuable points. Roczen is 31 points behind Dungey and has slid to third in overall points, but he tweets he is not done: “if u think I m gonna give up. YOU ARE WRONG!! Black night. glad no injuries. or not that I know off…”
Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: It’s worrisome that Tomac continues to push too hard trying to make up for mediocre starts, then makes mistakes and goes down. “I didn’t get the greatest of starts but managed to get past some guys and get up to fourth,” Tomac said. “I was pushing as hard as I could to close the gap on third so I could be in podium contention and that’s when I lost it.”
This is Tomac’s second terrible race this season, and it takes him completely out of the points chase. With so much speed and talent, it’s got to be disappointing for the GEICO Honda team. “I’m fine, just really frustrated because I was fast all day,” Tomac went on to say. “I just made a mistake out there in that slick part of the track and lost the front end. It was slicker than it normally is and I just got caught.”
Davi Millsaps – Monster Energy Kawasaki: Still having a hard time putting it all together, Millsaps went down in qualifying earlier in the day, hurting his back, then went down in a first turn pileup in his Heat. He qualified into the Main via his Semi, but was in a lot of pain. With a mid-pack start, Millsaps was able to keep his KX450F out of trouble and click off laps, taking home 12th place points. While not a disaster of a race, considering his last two races, it’s still not the Millsaps we were expecting to see this year.
One Guy: Zack Freeberg – Strikt Slaton Yamaha: Scoring his first 450 Supercross points in Atlanta, after riding the 250SX Western Regional series, Freeberg qualified out of the LCQ and earned two points for the night. “Man, what a night! With a huge crash in practice and two broken chains, we got in the main!” Freeberg enthused. “Stressful night but we didn’t let it get us!”
2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Results – Round 8 – Atlanta
1.Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
2. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
3. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
4. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
5. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
6. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z-450
7. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC450
8. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
9. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
10. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
11. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
12. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
13. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
14. Josh Hill – Yamaha YZ450F
15. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
16. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450FJimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
17. Nick Wey – Kawasaki KX450FKyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
18. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
19. Zackery Freeberg – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
21. Ronnie Stewart – Suzuki RM-Z450
22. Cade Clason – Honda CRF450R
450SX Class Season Standings (after round 8 of 17):
1. Ryan Dungey, 174 points
2. Trey Canard, 149 points
3. Ken Roczen, 143 points
4. Eli Tomac, 115 points
5. Jason Anderson, 114 points
6. Cole Seely, 111 points
7. Chad Reed, 110 points
8. Blake Baggett, 99 points
9. Andrew Short, 94 points
10. Broc Tickle, 78 points
11. Justin Barcia, 71 points
12. Davi Millsaps, 65 points
13. Jake Weimer, 61 points
14. Weston Peick, 49 points
15. Josh Grant, 41 points
16. Mike Alessi, 40 points
17. Brett Metcalfe, 40 points
18. Phil Nicoletti, 33 points
19. Kyle Chisholm, 33 points
20. Josh Hill, 32 points