Photo by: Simon Cudby
Round 9 of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, landed in Atlanta for another nail-biter in the 450SX class and the first of two 250SX East / West Showdowns.
In the 450SX class, Red Bull / KTM’s Cooper Webb fought off Rocky Mountain ATV/MC / WPS / KTM’s Blake Baggett and his teammate, Marvin Musquin, to grab his fifth win of 2019. Baggett crossed the line in 2nd and Musquin collected his sixth podium of 2019 with a 3rd.
In the 250SX East / West Showdown, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo and Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis gave the 250SX West the top two spots on the podium. The 250SX East Championship points leader, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, crossed the line in 3rd.
After the main events were in the record books, we gathered quotes from the riders to find out how their night in Atlanta went for them.
Cooper Webb: (1st in 450) “Atlanta was a great night for me. The Main Event was awesome! I got a holeshot and led from start to finish. I had a lot of pressure from Marvin and also a lot of pressure from Baggett, so it was cool to stay comfortable, stay loose and get another win. The fifth win of the year is incredible and I’m just blessed to be in this position at the halfway point, it’s exciting.”
Adam Cianciarulo: (1st in 250) “What a night, man! It felt good to be back on the bike and being able to race with all of my teammates this weekend. This win feels so good, especially when you consider how stacked the competition was. I’m proud of my teammates and our success, it’s just a testament to how good our KX250 is this season and how dialed the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has it. We put in so much work so it’s great to see it pay off. We’ll keep it going for the next few weeks and get ourselves ready for Seattle.”
Blake Baggett: (2nd in 450) ” It was tough to pass. You could make a run on somebody. I think Marv [Marvin Musquin] and Coop [Cooper Webb] were kind of making runs at each other. I could see it going on in front of me and the same thing with me and Marv. Once Marv made that mistake I did the same thing with Coop. When they have that horseshow sand section over the tunnel, I’m definitely hands down will voice my opinion on it: I’m not for it. It’s Supercross, it should be steep obstacles and no sand. It’s tough. You could make a run on somebody, but then you’re just covered, you can’t see where you’re going, it turns into one line and the whoops are already bad enough. They get that goat trail down it. It’s tough to pass but I just tried to do the best I could. Once I got to 2nd, it was kind of that middle position and I couldn’t do anything to take that chance, ’cause then Marv was gonna capitalize on it. At the same time, I was trying to make a run on Coop.”
Dylan Ferrandis: (2nd in 250) “It feels very good to be on the podium this weekend especially after a tough race last year in Atlanta. So I’m definitely happy about this race. I think I rode kind of tight because last year’s bad memories were a bit on my mind the whole day. But I made it through healthy this year and was patient during the main event, and was able to make it to the second position. This is a really good feeling! The bike was really awesome. We made some improvements on it last week. I was feeling really good on it. I also worked on my starts and it paid off. The track conditions were not easy, a lot of ruts, the whoops were difficult to pass at the end, and the sand section was tricky, but now the pressure goes down and we can focus on the next round.”
Marvin Musquin: (3rd in 450) “It felt like it was going to be a better race for me – I had a great start so I was running second, which was good but I was eating a lot of sand in the sand section it was definitely tough. I was pushing really hard – I was better than Cooper in some areas of the track, so I was able to really put pressure on him in some areas but then I would go through the sand and I had to go in the main line because it was the safest and the quickest line but you kind of had to follow. I made a mistake and went off the main line and then Baggett got me. At this point, I just could not make the pass on Blake, even though I showed some really good speed. It’s only a third place tonight and I’m not very happy with the result.”
Austin Forkner: (3rd in 250) “It was fun being able to race with the West Coast riders this weekend, and it definitely provided a unique challenge out there. I’m pumped to get another heat win and podium finish under our belts and maintain the points lead heading into Daytona. I had a few tip overs in practice today, so my main goal tonight was to ride consistently and be patient going into the night show. It’s not another win but we’ll take it!”
Ken Roczen: (4th in 450) “Going into Atlanta, I was feeling a lot better than I have the past two weeks from the flu. We came into the race with a little different suspension setting, so I was excited to try that but the track was one of the toughest. It was really soft and rutted so it was risky trying something new in those conditions, when you don’t know 100% what the bike is going to do. In the heat race, I got an okay start but was fully pinched off in the first turn, so that messed me up a bit and I was only able to finish seventh. In the main event, I was on the far outside and grabbed a good start. I had to jump a different rhythm than most the other guys in the first lane and got passed, so I went straight back to sixth. I moved into fifth then got stuck behind [Aaron] Plessinger for a while. I spent way too much time trying to get around him, then when I did after he went down, I couldn’t really do anything from there so I just rode a solid race and got fourth. I’m really looking forward to Daytona. It’s obviously the first time I’ve raced there in a long time, so it should be good.”
Chase Sexton: (4th in 250) “Atlanta was the best I’ve felt on the bike so far, after being sick all week and only riding one and a half days I was glad I had that comfy feeling on the bike. I qualified second in east and fourth overall, but I wanted the top bad. In the heat race, I got a third-place start and was riding well. I wanted to win it, I got into the lead and I told myself [Austin] Forkner wasn’t getting around me. Then I saw the red flag. Unfortunately on the restart, I got passed in the first rhythm lane and basically just hung on Forkner’s rear tire the whole race. In the main event, I got another third place start and but got myself into second! I felt solid but I made one slip up which allowed Adam [Cianciarulo] and then [Dylan] Ferrandis to get by. A couple laps later I ended up going down so I had to settle for fourth. Not a podium but I’m happy with my riding, just inching towards that top step. I’m testing with the team this week and I’m coming out hungry in Daytona”
Aaron Plessinger: (5th in 450) “Atlanta supercross was pretty awesome! I was struggling in the first practices a little bit, but we made a little shock change and it was definitely for the better. I qualified thirteenth and went into the heat race with a pretty good gate pick. I came out pretty bad on the start, but I made it work and was able to come back to fifth. Then the main event, I lined up in a pretty good spot and yanked a really good start. I was running fourth for a while and crashed right in the sand, then got up in fifth and stayed there. We made a lot of steps in the right direction. I’m really, really excited about tonight and looking forward to Daytona next weekend!”
Justin Cooper: (5th in 250) “The bike was awesome all day. We didn’t play around with the settings much, I felt pretty comfortable all day with the bike. The track conditions were deteriorating every lap out there so it was pretty tough to hit your marks every lap, but all in all I’m very happy with both of my starts tonight, I just didn’t get aggressive enough through the first turn. I’m still making little steps forward each weekend and am happy with the progress. It was another solid night with positives to take away. It’s time to turn up the heat because we are hungry for more!”
Eli Tomac: (6th in 450) “I was feeling great all day, especially with the fastest lap time in qualifying. I made a few errors in my heat race but still felt confident heading into the main, I just wasn’t able to get out in front off the gate and it really cost me. I’m glad we were able to make up some positions and wrap up the first half of the season healthy. I’m really looking forward to Daytona next weekend, it’s definitely one of my favorite tracks and a great one to kick off the second half of the series.”
Colt Nichols: (7th in 250) “I just got a bad start on a night when I didn’t need to get a bad start. The bike was great. I didn’t really make any changes to it all night, but the track conditions were really tough. It was very, very technical and hard to do the same thing lap after lap. It made it really critical to not make any mistakes, and I didn’t do that very well. So I’m a little upset looking back on the night, but it’s all good. I still salvaged some decent points. Now it’s just get ready for Seattle.”
Dean Wilson: (8th in 450) “I think it was a pretty positive day. I qualified third and was riding really well in my heat race. In the Main Event, I kind of didn’t get a great start and just pushed all the way through the checkers. Unfortunately, I only ended up with an eighth and that’s not where I want to be but I’m just going to keep pushing every week and aim for that podium because I know that’s where I can be. I’ve been through a lot, so I’m happy to just be at every race but the big goal for me is the podium because that’s where I really want to be.”
Martin Davalos: (8th in 250) “It felt really good to be back in Atlanta, especially since some of my best finishes have been earned here. The bike felt good all night and I felt that my speed was there but with the shootout format and all of the riders in the mix made it a little more difficult. There is a lot of great talent out here so I’m proud of a top-10 position, but I’m always looking to improve. We’ll get back to work and be ready for Daytona.”
Joey Savatgy: (9th in 450) “Another top-10 finish for my rookie year. I’m still learning quite a bit and adjusting to the longer, full season in the 450SX class. Obviously, I would like to be up on that podium but it’s all about progress and I feel that’s exactly what we continue to do each week. I’m looking forward to another round close to home and I’ve always loved racing Daytona, so I feel we have a real shot at a podium next weekend!”
Michael Mosiman : (9th in 250) “This is my first repeat venue because this was my first race last year [Atlanta] and now here we are at the East/West Showdown at the same place and man, Atlanta really showed up! The ruts were gnarly and the track broke down quick. I felt okay all day, I had a really big crash this week and it’s really just a miracle that I’m here, so I’m just really thankful that I’m here and to be able to race. I hurt some ribs and banged up everything but I ended the night with a ninth-place. I’m not content with ninth-place but all things considered, I am content with that this weekend. We have a lot to build on – I had a good heat and my starts were good.”
Cole Seely: (10th in 450) “There are a lot of positives to take away from today. The heat race went really well. I got off to a good start and was able to make some quick moves to get by everyone early. I really tried to focus on hitting my marks because the track was tricky and I felt that it was really going to come down to who made the least mistakes. I tried to take some mental notes for the main event. Lining up for the main event, I was having a hard time getting amped up to race. I don’t know if it was nerves because this weekend marked a year since my injury, but normally I can channel that and feed off it. Tonight though, I just felt flat in the beginning of the race. I didn’t get the best start after coming together with Dean [Wilson] and then my first two laps were just terrible. I made a ton of mistakes and was almost fighting myself. When I came around and saw P-19 on the pit board, I knew I had to make something happen and really set the top 10 as my goal. I started to put together solid laps and was matching times for a lot of the guys toward the front, so I just focused forward and kept making as many passes as I could. I just ran out of time and guys to pass when I got into 10th, but I was happy because normally I run out of steam toward the end and I think tonight I really maintained until the end. I need to just figure out the first part and once I’m able to put all the pieces together, I know I’m going to have a really solid weekend.”
Brandon Hartranft: (10th in 250) “Made some big steps in the right direction this weekend in Atlanta. P6 in qualifying, 10 in the shootout main, 5 in east coast division. Feeling better each weekend. Time to get ready for Daytona”
Rj Hampshire: (12th in 250) “Had a big crash on Friday during press. Was pretty beat up after that and then ran into some more problems in timed qualifying. Then in the main event, I ran into Alex Martin around half way and it dropped me back to 21st. Honestly, the day reminded me a lot of my rookie season—too many mistakes. I’ll take a few days off to heal up and be ready for Seattle”
Kyle Chisholm: (17th in 450) “Well made it through ATL. Not the result I wanted but I was happy to just be out there racing after how I was feeling from the crash in Detroit. I’m hoping to actually get some practice in this week and be ready for Daytona”
Cameron Mcadoo C: (16th in 250) “Atlanta was a bit of a struggle all day for me just struggling to find comfort with the track and my bike. I had a rough heat race which put me in the last chance qualifier for the first time ever. That was a bit stressful and then I didn’t get a good start so I had to come through–we got through that, though. In the main I had a decent pace going but I went for a pass that wasn’t there resulting in myself and another rider going down. I ended up 16th. I’ve got some work to do in these next couple weeks to get ready for Seattle”
Jared Lesher: (21st in 450) “Words can’t express this feeling. Running 5th in the heat until a few last lap mistakes cost me a few spots to some fast company to end up 7th. Making my first ever 450sx main in Atlanta straight from the heat race in front of tons of friends and family was indescribable! The amount of love and support I’ve gotten from everyone over the last 24 hours is insane!! It was great seeing so many awesome people I’ve met along the way, supporters as well. A serious thank you to every single person I’ve crossed paths with that has helped or supported over the years to help me reach this point. And also a massive thanks to the company’s and friends that continue to believe in me! Tons to build on, back to work this week.”
Garrett Marchbanks C: (20th in 250) “I caught a bit of bad luck in the main event tonight, but that’s how racing goes sometimes. I’m glad I’m not injured and I was able to gain a few points still. We learned a lot this weekend and will make sure that we’re ready to go for the next West Coast round.”
Zach Osborne: (22nd in 450) “Overall, it was a positive day. The result was terrible again but it doesn’t really show how well I rode and especially not how I felt. So, we’ll just keep fighting and try to make some results here soon. It definitely stinks to have an issue tonight because I felt really good, but it is what it is.”
Jordan Bailey: (17th in 250) “I felt really good in practice, the bike was handling well and I qualified ninth. In the heat race, I worked my way into ninth but someone crashed and we had a restart. Unfortunately, I got tangled up with another rider after the restart, which caused a DNF in the heat race. I had last gate pick in the LCQ but I made it through and had an alright Main Event. We kind of just survived the night but all-in-all looking forward to Daytona.”