THE AFTERMATH | 2019 ATLANTA SUPERCROSS
Photos by Brian Converse
Story by Josh Mosiman
The 2019 Monster Energy Supercross series stopped in Atlanta, Georgia for round nine of the season and it was another exciting one as the riders brought the intensity to the Mercedes Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. With Eli Tomac taking the win at round eight in Detroit, many expected him to repeat his performance and begin to chip away at the points lead, but that wasn’t the case. Cooper Webb made his way back to the top step for the fifth time this season. People also thought that Austin Forkner might walk away with his fourth main event win in a row, but that wasn’t the case either. Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis settled the East vs. West debate while Forkner took a safe third, and still pulled away from his East coast competition in points. Round nine proved to be another exciting night of Supercross racing. How would it all shake down? Find out here in Motocross Action’s “The Aftermath.”
Cooper Webb: “It was tough, the track was changing a lot. I knew where I was good, but I was also getting caught by Marvin at the beginning in some places. I knew where but I wasn’t sure what line (he was doing). When you’re out front you can’t see where you’re going slow or not. So I was just trying to hit my marks and I felt like they weren’t working as well as I liked them to, so I kind of started searching. Then you make some mistakes as the race goes on, and I actually felt like towards the end I started hitting some better lines. I knew Blake was coming and he was good in the whoops like he always is, so I knew that was hit spot. Like he said, with the sand, you almost feel bad blasting the guys, they won’t need dinner tonight.”
Blake Baggett: “Just tough to pass, Marv and Coop were kind of making runs at each other, I could see it going on in front of me. Same thing with me and Marvin. Once Marv made that mistake, I did the same thing with Coop. But when they have that horseshoe-sand section-over the tunnel. I’ll definitely voice my opinion about it, I’m not for it. It’s Supercross, it should be steep obstacles and no sand. So it’s just tough, you can make a run on somebody but then you’re just covered and you can’t see where you’re going. It turns into one line and the whoops are already bad enough with the goat trail down the middle of them. So it’s tough to pass and I tried to do the best I could. Once I got to second I was kind of in that middle position. I couldn’t do anything to take a chance (to pass Cooper) because then Marvin was going to capitalize on it and at the same time I was trying to make a run on Coop. But it is what it is, second.”
Marvin Musquin: “I’ve felt like the tracks have been quite the same. I wonder why, because all the West coast tracks to me they were awesome. Maybe it’s the layout, with the baseball fields (on the West coast) I thought they were trying to be creative. For example Anaheim 2 was such a nice track. There were split lanes and stuff and it was really technical. Now on the East coast, good thing the dirt is soft and it makes it very difficult and technical because of the ruts and the bumps. But yeah there’s nothing very technical like we’ve seen in the beginning of the season. I feel like its a good thing that the dirt is soft to make it tough.”
Adam Cianciarulo: “Nothing but respect for those guys (East coast riders), I saw Chase (Sexton) and Austin (Forkner) in front of me and I’ve been watching those guys on TV the last few weeks and both of those guys are really fast and I’ve ridden with them before. They deserve all the respect, I think they’re great athletes and great riders. You can’t take anything away from them. I definitely had my work cut out for me with those guys in front of me and I think we all did a good job, we rode a hard race, we rode clean and I didn’t make any stupid mistakes so I think that’s a win for me.”
Dylan Ferrandis: “I left this stadium last year with a broken arm, broken jaw and broken teeth. Forsure it’s good this year to be on the podium. I tried to not think about it (last year’s injury in Atlanta), but I was thinking about it a little bit when I was racing, maybe. So I was riding a little bit with a fear maybe, I don’t know. I was not 100%, but it’s really good to be on the podium tonight and we showed that the West guys are strong. We rode good but AC was faster forsure tonight, I’m happy.”
Austin Forkner: “I never like to start thinking about that (the championship) during a race, because usually when I think, I’m my own worse enemy type of thing. I tried to latch on to Adam after he passed me. They were just a little bit quicker than me, maybe everywhere, but specifically in the whoops. I had two crashes there in practice and basically I told myself I’m going to jump through these and I’m not going to go any faster through them. I didn’t want to repeat a practice. Adam got by me and I was like ‘ok I’m going to latch on to him’ and then bam, Dylan (Ferrandis) got by me. I kinda latched on to him for a couple laps and saw that I had a pretty big gap behind me and was like ‘this is a win for East Coast as far as I’m concerned and with the day that I’ve had I would be happy to salvage a third.’ So I just put it on cruise control and tried to bring it home. The track was just gnarly and I made a few mistakes that set me back a bit.”
Webb had pressure on him for the entire race from his KTM teammate Marvin Musquin and Rocky Mountain KTM rider Blake Baggett. Most riders would’ve cracked under the pressure that Webb had on him, but he held his own. He searched and found new lines throughout the race that helped him to stay in front of his competition.
Eli Tomac started the main event in thirteenth and worked his way up to finish sixth. After Atlanta he is now 22 points behind Cooper Webb in the Championship point standings. With eight rounds to go, Eli has a significant amount of points to make up.
Ken Roczen started the main event in sixth and finished quietly in fourth, sixteen seconds behind Musquin for third. Ken is still second in the standings, but he lost a few more points to Webb at round nine, he is now thirteen points back.
Aaron Plessinger rode great in Atlanta. The Yamaha team made some changes to the bike during the week leading up to Atlanta and they seemed to have helped him. We heard that Aaron actually asked the team to slow his bike down so that it would be easier for him to ride. In the 450 class, sometimes a bike can be too fast and powerful making it harder to ride fast. Aaron finished fifth in the 450 main event which is a career best for the premier class rookie.
Dean Wilson rode well early in the day, but when it came to the main event he struggled. Dean said via Instagram: “Speed was good all day with third in qualifying, second in heat but unfortunately (with) not the best start in the main (I) came through to eight. I’m better than that but I will keep plugging away. I am feeling good and that’s half the battle! Thanks everyone for the support. Podium is where I should and can be. On to Daytona!”
Zach Osborne had a rough go with a DNF in Atlanta. He said via Instagram: “Atlanta was a wild one! Awesome track with gnarly conditions. Not the result I’m looking for but my speed and comfort were much better this weekend than the weekend before. Starting to find some race trim and feel good again! Looking forward to Daytona! It’s one of the coolest races there is!”
Cole Seely looked great all day in Atlanta, he won his heat race and finished tenth in the main event. Round nine was a full year after Cole’s season ending injury at Tampa Supercross in 2018. He said that he felt a bit nervous all day because of it, but he was happy to get this weekend out of the way and focus forward for the rest of the year.
Mike Alessi was back racing Supercross this weekend in Atlanta. He’s filling in for the injured Vince Friese on the Smartop Bullfrog Spas Honda team for a few rounds before he goes up to Canada to ride for the GDR Honda team at the Triple Crown MX Nationals.
450 CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 9 OF 17)
- Cooper Webb-199
- Ken Roczen-186
- Marvin Musquin-182
- Eli Tomac-177
- Blake Baggett-142
- Dean Wilson-137
- Chad Reed-124
- Aaron Plessinger-122
- Justin Barcia-120
- Justin Brayton-113
Adam Cianciarulo was up front on the start, but after making contact with Austin Forkner in the first rhythm section, he fell back to fourth. Adam quickly passed Jacob Hayes to get into third and then he had his sights set on passing Chase Sexton and Austin Forkner for the win.
In qualifying practice, Austin Forkner crashed in the whoops twice. Because of the crashes, Austin decided to play it safe and jump through the whoops during the night show. While leading the main event, Austin was passed by both Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis in the corner after the whoops. His decision to play it safe might have cost him the main event win, but you can’t fault him for it. He still finished third and beat all of the 250 East riders that he’s battling with for the championship.
The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team is strong on both the West and East coasts. Austin Forkner has the lead on the East by 18 points and Adam Cianciarulo has the lead by 15 in the West division.
Chase Sexton was riding well again in Atlanta, but it still wasn’t enough to beat his rival Austin Forkner. In the 250 East heat, Chase led the race until it was red flagged on lap three. The heat race was restarted in a single file line on the start with Sexton first and Forkner second. But Austin was quick to make a move for the lead and Chase couldn’t get back around him. In the East/West main event, Forkner was leading early with Sexton in second, but neither of them were able to hold off Cianciarulo or Ferrandis.
Atlanta didn’t go how Colt Nichols would have wanted it to. Coming into the shootout, Colt was ten points behind Adam and after his seventh place finish he’s now fourth in the championship, twenty points behind.
Shane McElrath is another rider who was looking to take advantage of the shootout. Shane, Colt and Dylan all wanted to beat the current 250 West points leader and put some of the East riders in between them to maximize points earned on their competition, but it didn’t work out that way. Shane finished sixth and he now sits third in the Championship, seventeen points behind Adam Cianciarulo.
Even with the added East coast competition, Dylan Ferrandis’ result was still consistent. For the fourth time this year, Dylan finished second place. The Frenchman is also currently second in the 250 West point standings, fifteen behind Cianciarulo.
Michael Mosiman had a good night in Atlanta. He finished fourth in the 250 West heat race, ninth in the East/West main event and he moved up to sixth place in the Championship point standings, only six points behind Rj Hampshire.
Justin Cooper finished fifth and he sits second in the 250 East championship, eighteen points behind Forkner. Justin said via Instagram: “Well I was glad to see improvements on the starts this weekend, drifted a little too wide in the first turn and gave away the hole shot, we ended up with fifth for the East/West shootout. Dayton is next and we are as hungry as ever.”
Rj Hampshire finished twelfth in Atlanta and he sits fifth in the 250 West point standings. He said via Instagram: “Pretty bummed on the weekend. Had a really good couple weeks leading up to it and then had a big crash during press on Friday. Was really beat up from that which made it a tough weekend. Will take a few days to heal up and be ready for Seattle in a couple weeks! Thanks team Factory Connection Honda.”
Adam Cianciarulo passed Austin Forkner for the lead with eight laps to go. He pulled a gap of 4.8 seconds on Dylan Ferrandis and 11.3 seconds on Austin Forkner to win the first 250 East/West Shootout of the year.
We now know that Austin Forkner isn’t unbeatable. After winning every heat race and main event in the first three rounds of the 250 East Coast division, Forkner was dethroned by the 250 West riders in the first 250 shootout of the Supercross season. But he still hasn’t been beaten by a 250 East rider and he has a chance to redeem himself against the West riders in Las Vegas.
250 EAST COAST POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 4 OF 9)
- Austin Forkner-99
- Justin Cooper-81
- Chase Sexton-79
- Jordon Smith-70
- Alex Martin-60
- Martin Davalos-58
- Brandon Hartranft-54
- Kyle Cunningham-51
- Mitchell Oldenburg-50
- Kyle Peters-46
250 WEST COAST POINT STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 6 OF 10)
- Adam Cianciarulo-140
- Dylan Ferrandis-125
- Shane McElrath-123
- Colt Nichols-120
- Rj Hampshire-86
- Michael Mosiman-80
- Chris Blose-80
- Cameron McAdoo-79
- Jacob Hayes-77
- Garrett Marchbanks-74
Mitchell Oldenburg didn’t race on Saturday due to a crash. He said via Instagram: “Bruised but not broken! Bummed I wasn’t able to race last night but we will get some therapy done this week and try again next weekend. Huge thank you to the whole Star Racing Yamaha team for being so patient with me! We will get there.”
Jimmy Decotis was among many top 250 riders who didn’t qualify for the stacked 250 East/West main event. Other notable riders that missed the main were Enzo Lopes, Lorenzo Locurcio, Jace Owen, Justin Starling, Martin Castelo and Mitchell Harrison.