Revisiting the Georgia Dome for the second weekend in a row for Monster Energy AMA Supercross, fans were treated to some great action out front in the opening laps. Eventually, the battling was not over first, but second through fourth, and a few mistakes and crashes made the difference to who was on the Upside or Downside this week.
2015 Atlanta II 450 Supercross Commentary, Upside:
Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM: Not that he needed to win, but he did it anyway, and now he controls his own destiny. At this point, he could take second in the remaining eight rounds and even if Trey Canard, his closest challenger, won them all, Dungey would take another title.
Taking his 450 SX-F Factory Edition to the lead on Lap 5, Dungey rode, unchallenged to the finish line. Nobody reeled him in, he managed a 5.5 second lead, and the inevitability of the 2015 championship is starting to become very real.
Eli Tomac – GEICO Honda: No major mistakes from Tomac this weekend, and an 18th place improvement over Atlanta 1, definitely qualifies for the Upside. Tomac battled with fellow CRF450R rider Canard for most of the race, eventually taking second when Canard made a mistake and went down. Sitting almost two-and-a-half races behind Dungey, Tomac is no longer chasing a title, but another win is not out of the question. “Just to be here on the podium is huge for me,” Tomac said. “Second place is great, and I will go after the number-one position.”
Weston Peick – AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha: Did anybody see that holeshot coming from Peick? Great stuff, as was the strong, aggressive riding that had him re-taking the lead from Chad Reed after the veteran rider passed Peick in the sand section. Eventually Peick was picked off by a number of riders, and brought his YZ450F to a 10th place finish. While his Atlanta 1 result last week (5th place) was twice as good as this week, Peick’s ride in the first quarter of the race was a declaration. When the MCL is healed and he’s fighting fit, look out.
Broc Tickle: RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing: Having his best finish of the season, Tickle got off to a 5th place start and was in a position to take advantage when the opportunity arose. He brought his RM-Z450 to a fourth-place finish with a solid ride. “It was one of those days where my riding felt effortless,” Tickle explained. “The track came to me real easily, so I knew I just had to go out there and ride smart.
Blake Baggett – Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing: Baggett got off to a slow start this season, but he is clawing his way toward the position of 2015 Top Rookie. Baggett has finished ahead of Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson in five of the last six races, and is now only nine points off the current rookie front-runner. “I’m definitely learning to be patient on the bigger bike,” Baggett said. “It’s a little bit bigger, but with all the power it’s a lot to handle and I’m just learning to be steady on it and keeping it on two wheels. I’m plugging away, trying to learn every week from the guys in front of me and the guys around me.”
Josh Grant: Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki: Another rider having a season best result, Grant got the holeshot in his Semi and led all the way to the finish line. His mid-pack start in the Main left him working his KX450F around other riders to his eventual 6th place finish.
2015 Atlanta II Supercross Commentary, Downside:
Ken Roczen – RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki: Roczen was visibly limping when he retired early from practice Saturday, having retweaked the ankle he banged up last weekend in that awful-looking crash into the concrete wall, so clearly he was not 100-percent at Atlanta 2. Roczen never had the fire, and his seventh place jump off the gate didn’t gave him a chance to be in contention. The 8th place finish leaves Roczen 43 points behind Dungey, and Roczen’s championship run is slowly unraveling week by week.
Chad Reed: Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports/Kawasaki: Reed must be kicking himself, as he was primed for a repeat race win here at the Georgia Dome. He got the holeshot in his Heat and ran it to the checkers, holding off a late charge from Tomac. When Reed didn’t get the holeshot in the Main, he wasted no time putting a move on Peick for the lead within the first lap, though it didn’t stick. The crowd was loving the intense early battle, but Reed’s mistake on Lap 2 left him in the Tuff Blocks and having to work up from 13th. He raced his KX450F back to a 7th place result by the end of the race, but that is quite a disappointment after last week’s win.
Trey Canard – Team Honda: Canard said it last week; he needs to get his starts together. While they’re not terrible, they’re not Championship material. Canard spend too many laps battling with Tomac, and then made a mistake that allowed Tomac by, so Canard had to settle for a third. When asked about what else he can do to get his starts down, Canard’s frustration was clear, “Man, I’ve done about all I can do besides going to the pawn shop and trying to buy a start.” Canard sits second in points behind Dungey, but still over a race down.
Josh Hill – CycleTrader/Rock River/Yamaha: It’s no doubt Hill has been having a tough season so far, with injuries and plain old bad luck showing up at every turn. However, putting oneself in a position to DNS a Heat because of a helmet that doesn’t pass tech inspection — something you know happens on the line at every race — is just plain irresponsible. When Hill was interviewed by Fox Sports 1’s Jenny Taft about the incident before the Semi, Hill claimed, “The AMA must have it out for me.” Cringe. Actually, the AMA is looking out for you, Josh. Fail.
2015 Atlanta II Supercross Results, 450SX – Round 9:
1. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2. Eli Tomac – Honda CRF450R
3. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
4. Broc Tickle – Suzuki RM-Z-450
5. Blake Baggett – Suzuki RM-Z450
6. Josh Grant – Kawasaki KX450F
7. Chad Reed – Kawasaki KX450F
8. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
9. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC 450
10. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
11. Davi Millsaps – Kawasaki KX450F
12. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
13. Josh Hill – Yamaha YZ450F
14. Mike Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
15. Andrew Short – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
16. Nick Wey – Kawasaki KX450F
17. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
18. Kyle Chisholm – Kawasaki KX450F
19. Jimmy Albertson – Yamaha YZ450F
20. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
21. Nick Schmidt – Suzuki RM-Z450
22. Kyle Partridge – Honda CRF450R
2015 450SX Class Season Standings (after nine of 17 rounds):
1. Ryan Dungey, 199 points
2. Trey Canard, 169
3. Ken Roczen, 156
4. Eli Tomac, 137
5. Jason Anderson, 126
6. Chad Reed, 124
7. Cole Seely, 120
8. Blake Baggett, 115
9. Andrew Short, 100
10. Broc Tickle, 96
11. David Millsaps, 75
12. Justin Barcia, 71
13. Jake Weimer, 62
14. Weston Peick, 60
15. Josh Grant, 56
16. Mike Alessi, 47
17. Josh Hill, 40
18. Brett Metcalf, 40
19. Phil Nicoletti, 37
20. Kyle Chisholm, 36