Atlanta Supercross Race Report 2016

Ryan Dungey and Martin Davalos take big wins in Atlanta Supercross.

Ryan Dungey, Atlanta Supercross
Ryan Dungey
Ryan Dungey came away from the Georgia Dome with his fifth win of the season and a 33-point lead in the series standings.Photo By Rich Shepherd

For the second week in a row, Ryan Dungey was pushed for the full 20 laps in a Supercross main event.

Last week, Ken Roczen took Dungey to the limit, the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki rider ultimately claiming the win in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium in a race where the two riders battled fender to fender for the duration of the race. This week it was Dungey’s Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin who pushed the series points leader, leading the first 19 laps of the race before making a mistake on the final lap, allowing Dungey to make a last-lap pass to claim his fifth win of the season.

After distancing himself from the field during the first few rounds on the schedule, it now appears that a couple of riders are able to match Dungey’s speed. However, no one to this point can match the defending champ’s consistency, which has always been his hallmark. Right now, Dungey is the most complete rider on the track and no one can equal him in that regard. After his latest win, Dungey now has a 24-race podium streak that dates back to last season. That’s consistency personified!

Marvin Musquin, Atlanta Supercross
Marvin Musquin
Marvin Musquin (25) came up short on this triple when he tried a new line in an effort to get around James Stewart (7) on the final lap of the 450 main event.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Musquin came close. Had the 450-class rookie (who, like Dungey, trains with Aldon Baker) not cased it on a triple during the final lap while trying to lap James Stewart, he might have easily come away with his first career 450 win. But Dungey moved into position late in the race and was right where he needed to be when Musquin left the door open.

“It is hard to lead for 19 laps and lose the race on the final lap,” said Musquin. “I’m happy for Ryan but I really wanted this win. This is my best finish in the 450 class and I was pushing hard and it’s great to finally get a good start. I’m really mad right now because I feel like the race was mine.”

Dungey now owns a 33-point lead in the standings over Roczen at the halfway mark of the series, which means he can DNF a round and still be in the lead. Unless something catastrophic happens, the rest of the field is basically battling for second place in the championship.

“Marvin rode his butt off tonight,” said Dungey. “For him to pick up the pace like he does when we practice back home was big. It was so close there at the end, and I’m so glad we didn’t come together. I’m glad Marvin didn’t go down and he was able to come back and get second.”

“Last week was a hard-fought race,” added Dungey. “Ken pushed us to the limit and I just wanted to recover this weekend, and we did.”

Chad Reed, Atlanta Supercross
Chad Reed
Chad Reed was a big fan of the dirt in the Georgia Dome’s race and came away with a third place finish. Here he blasts out of the sand section after the Dragon Back.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Yamaha Factory Racing's Chad Reed came out of the first turn in third place and rode a steady 20 laps to come away with his third podium finish of the season and first top-three since Anaheim II. The move eastward appears to have lifted Reed out of his recent funk and combined with a few “adjustments” Reedy says he made during the week, was just enough to boost the 33-year-old into third place finish for the night.

“I’ve just been off my game lately and I haven’t been getting good starts,” said Reed, who won in Atlanta last year. “I feel like I’m a podium guy and I’m pumped to be back up here. I made a few inroads with the bike this week and that was part of the difference.”

Davi Millsaps, Atlanta Supercross
Davi Millsaps
Davi Millsaps came away with an impressive fourth-place finish in Atlanta.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Davi Millsaps came away with his best finish of the season with a fourth in the Georgia Dome, which was the site of his first-ever 450 SX win way back in 2008. Millsaps passed his BTO Sports/WPS KTM teammate Justin Brayton on lap 13 to move into fourth after starting the race around sixth.

Brayton rounded out the top five after grabbing the holeshot to start the race. Meanwhile, Roczen aggressively worked his way through the field to finish sixth after starting the race in 16th on the first lap. Despite the finish, Roczen still sits second in the series standings, though 33 points behind Dungey.

Martin Davalos, Atlanta Supercross
Martin Davalos
Martin Davalos led all 15 laps en route to the win in the first East Regional 250SX race of the season.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Veteran of 11 seasons in the 250 class, Martin Davalos used his experience and speed to come away with the first win of the season in the East Regional 250SX division. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing-backed rider led all 15 laps of the main event and 1.3-seconds clear of runner-up Malcolm Stewart when the checkers fell.

Davalos has had his share of bad luck during the past few years, but came into the race healthy and looked rock steady en route to the win.

"The last year and a half has been really tough for me," said Davalos, who suffered a serious injury during the 2014 season. "I'm just happy to be out there. I got a good start and I was able to just log in 15 solid laps. It got a little hectic towards the end with lappers, but I'm so happy to finally be back up here on the podium."

Malcolm Stewart, Atlanta Supercross
Malcolm Stewart
Malcolm Stewart ran into a downed Shane McElrath during the main event but still managed second place.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Malcolm Stewart had a relatively good day, posting fastest time in qualifying and winning his heat race. In the main he was gaining on Davalos when he ran into TLD KTM’s Shane McElrath as McElrath was getting up from a fall. The incident cost Stewart his momentum and a lot of ground. However, the GEICO Honda rider had a big enough cushion over third place that he was still able to remount in second place, which is where he ultimately finished.

“I clearly didn’t see him,” said Stewart. “All I saw was an orange bike and then the next thing I knew I hit him, I didn’t even see who it was. Overall, I was having a good day, I just didn’t finish up the way I wanted, I just kind of gave it away.”

Aaron Plessinger rode an great race, coming from ninth on the first lap to third at the finish, just ahead of his Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha teammate Jeremy Martin. Plessinger made impressive passes on Tyler Bowers and RJ Hampshire to get to the podium. However, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill may have had the ride of the evening after he went from last place to fifth after suffering a mishap at the start.

Atlanta Notes & Quotes

James Stewart made his return to racing at the Atlanta round and managed to finish his first race of the season, albeit all the way down in 14th place. The Yoshimura Suzuki rider was, however, a factor in the order of the podium, as Marvin Musquin felt that Stewart should have moved over sooner on the final lap after receiving the blue flag, and laid part of the blame for his near crash on having to alter his line to pass Stewart before the triple.

The Atlanta course was short, and featured lap times in the 45-second race, which made for a bad situation with lappers. Martin Davalos was one of the most vocal when it came to the lapper situation. “It got a little hectic there near the end of the race and the lappers were not good at all,” said Davalos. “I think that was the biggest challenge of the night. Around the 10th lap it got pretty bad. I understand they’re racing their own race, but I think they could be a little safer.”

Many have predicted that Christophe Pourcel would start getting better results now that the series has moved eastward, and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider did post the fastest time in qualifying, however, a bad start in his heat forced him to make the main via one of the semis, where he finished fifth. In the main, Pourcel got a mid-pack start and started moving through a stacked field. He was 12th in the ninth lap, and started grinding away to finish the race in ninth. “As long as I’m battling in the top 10 and improving every weekend I’m happy,” said Pourcel. “I still want to work on my starts, but it feels good to battle with everyone and stay strong the whole moto. I feel good on the bike. I got the fastest qualifying time, which is good. It’s a long championship, and now it’s time to push.”

RESULTS

450SX Class

  1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM

  2. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM

  3. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha

  4. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., KTM

  5. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., KTM

  6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki

  7. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna

  8. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda

  9. Christophe Pourcel, San Antonio, Fla., Husqvarna

  10. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results

  1. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna

  2. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda

  3. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha

  4. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha

  5. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM

  6. RJ Hampshire, Brooksville, Fla., Honda

  7. Darryn Durham, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha

  8. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki

  9. Alex Frye, Huntingtown, Md., KTM

  10. Jimmy Albertson, Shawnee, Okla., Suzuki