Photograph Report | What Occurred on the 2023 Atlanta Supercross
By Billy Rainford
2023 was my first journey to Atlanta for the Supercross held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I’ve been to each of the stadiums earlier than however by no means the infield of the massive NASCAR observe southwest of the town. To say visitors was “snarled” in downtown Atlanta can be an understatement. With the three proper lanes closed on I-75 in one of many busiest sections of metropolis freeway in North America, the chaos it created meant I used to be going to be late to the observe and miss free apply.
I rolled in and will hear the bikes on the observe. I by no means like exhibiting up late. In truth, I pulled over for a nap within the #DMXVan final night time at 2am and as quickly as my head hit the pillow I used to be out earlier than I had an opportunity to take away my glasses or set an alarm. I used to be an hour away from the observe and free apply was up in half-hour. There was no means round it, I used to be going to be late.
After I lastly made it out to the observe, I preferred what I noticed. The observe was lengthy, robust, and had quite a lot of sections that might separate riders: 2 units of whoops – verify. A wall soar – verify. An over/below – verify… this place had all of it.
On a observe that one way or the other regarded extra Daytona than Daytona, our Canadian hero RRCZ KTM rider #551 Guillaume St Cyr from Quebec was popping out of the pits and lining as much as head out onto the observe for his first qualifying session in 250 Group B. Sadly, he hit the bottom arduous in a rhythm part and was out for the day.
He ended up on prime of the on/off part and was in apparent misery. The session was pink flagged and riders headed again to the beginning space whereas Guillaume acquired the care he wanted.
They put him on a again board and loaded him into an ambulance for a visit to the native hospital the place he would get additional evaluated. Luckily, nothing was damaged however he did obtain a reasonably unhealthy concussion and can must be additional evaluated earlier than he hits the observe once more. At this level, he’s hoping to be again on the road to shut out the 250 East in Nashville in 2 weeks time.
On a observe that regarded like it will completely go well with a throwback to the bar-to-bar racing from the summer season of 2022 between #1 Eli Tomac and #23 Chase Sexton, the pair held up their finish of the cut price. Eli was quickest in Q1 after which Chase was quickest in Q2 to take the 450 prime choose.
In each periods, #9 Adam Cianciarulo seemed to be coming into type and sat atop the board for a lot of Q1 after which bettered his time to take 2nd spot in Q2 and mixed. Was this to be the night time the previous youngster prodigy got here via within the prime class?
For some cause, I all the time take note of who will get the loudest cheer from the group throughout opening ceremonies. The highest 3 are normally Eli Tomac, Aaron Plessinger, and #94 Ken Roczen. That was the order as I noticed it once more right here from the mid-afternoon Georgia crowd.
250 Warmth 1
Holeshot to the younger phenom #238 Haiden Deegan forward of #128 Tom Vialle, rookie #339 Talon Hawkins and factors chief #96 Hunter Lawrence.
Haiden tousled in a rhythm part (he said on the Press Convention that he scrubbed so arduous he put his bike into impartial) and dropped again to 4th place as Lawrence made passes to get to the lead. #30 Jo Shimoda was again within the pack early however was placing in quick laps and labored his means as much as fifth and was closing on the group forward.
In the long run, Lawrence regarded snug within the lead forward of Vialle and a really spectacular third place end by younger Hawkins. Deegan held on for 4th with Shimoda in fifth.
As all the time, one eye must be saved focussed on the battle for the ultimate switch place in ninth place. This time, that battle included #116 TJ Albright and #86 Josiah Natzke. Natzke made to cross with lower than a lap remaining however Albright fought again and took the place to maneuver on to the Fundamental with Natzke to the LCQ.
250 Warmth 2
Holeshot and a wire-to-wire win for #29 Nate Thrasher on this one. Early on it was #6 Alex Martin in 2nd after which #58 Jordon Smith chasing him in third. #63 Max Anstie was subsequent forward of #57 Chris Blose.
Smith bought round Martin to take 2nd with Alex third.
450 Warmth 1
Holeshot to Cianciarulo on this one and he regarded good till he made a mistake and crashed on the finish of the primary whoops part, handing the result in #2 Cooper Webb who had #94 Ken Roczen closing in on him all through this one.
As these two battled on the entrance, #751 Josh Hill was very spectacular in third place with #45 Colt Nichols behind him adopted by #44 Benny Bloss, #47 Freddie Noren and #15 Dean Wilson.
Roczen tried to make a transfer on Webb on the final lap however they might keep so as with a giant hole again to Hill in third.
450 Warmth 2
#1 Eli Tomac headed into the primary flip with the sting till #51 Justin Barcia made his presence recognized and took the place from the within and took off with #21 Jason Anderson in tow.
Behind them, #46 Justin Hill was holding off defending champ Tomac like his life depended it. The 2 placed on an amazing present till Tomac made the cross stick and moved forward.
#23 Chase Sexton was the rider on the transfer and he closed in to affix the battle for the win on the ultimate lap. In truth, the three riders had been within the closing nook collectively after which headed down the ultimate rhythm part to the flag the place Anderson held off Barcia and Sexton.
#285 Coty Shock, #67 Cullin Park, #602 Gage Linville, and #330 AJ Catanzaro moved on with #483 Bryton Carroll simply 2 seconds out in fifth.
This race is all the time one to keep watch over because the battles and power are all the time at most ranges; this one was no totally different.
#7 Aaron Plessinger ended up on this one after bike points in his warmth race left him needing to line up for a uncommon LCQ race, a lot to the frustration of the remainder of the road. He needed to make a number of passes off the beginning however then this one was all his as he loved the power from the group.
Behind him, strikes had been being made that had #68 Cade Clason transferring as much as 2nd, #519 Josh Cartwright taking third, and #412 Jared Lesher transferring as much as cross a number of riders and transfer on in 4th. #219 Chace Marquier was up in a qualifying place early and regarded good however ended up in sixth place and lacking the Fundamental. #90 Tristan Lane is again after a tough crash and moved his means up via the sphere however got here up simply quick in fifth, 1 second off the rear wheel of Lesher’s 250 2-stroke.
The constructive power of the riders and their mechanics after this one was taken up a notch as arms had been waving and fists had been bumping in every single place.
A lot of the prime riders appeared to suppose the recent gates had been now situated a bit farther to the surface heading down this lengthy begin straight right into a field left-hand nook. #238 Haiden Deegan held on the gasoline a bit longer from outdoors of the opposite prime riders and got here into flip 1 with the lead and managed to close it down and maintain it with Lawrence behind him and #58 Smith in third. Lawrence would make a cross and takeover the lead early however Deegan would instantly take it again.
Teammates Smith and #29 Thrasher had been in a canine combat over third place forward of #63 Max Anstie and #339 Hawkins, who I’ve to say could have been the rider who impressed me most on this present day. #30 Shimoda and #6 Martin adopted them.
Lawrence would make one other cross for the lead on lap 3 within the sand part and that was all she wrote on this one. Nonetheless, Smith pushed arduous all the race and really made up a while on the Australian out entrance because the race progressed.
Blose, #66 Henry Miller, and Hawkins ended up in a pleasant battle on the midway mark of the 250 Fundamental forward of Park who was rounding out the highest 10 at that time.
Martin had some troubles and was simply cruising round late on this one after which #62 Jace Owen pulled into the pits to gather his mechanic and head to the pits.
Watching the motion on the entrance needed to make you marvel what the Monster Yamaha Star Racing apply tracks are like through the week as a result of Smith, Deegan and Thrasher weren’t giving one another an inch on the market as they fought over 2nd place.
Thrasher would go down arduous on the finish of the primary set of tough whoops. They wouldn’t pink flag this one, however he was taken off within the Alpinestars Medics Mule for additional analysis and everybody who noticed the crash mentioned it was a reasonably tough one.
On the flag, it was Lawrence 8 seconds forward of Smith in 2nd who had 6 1/2 seconds on Deegan who got here dwelling third. Shimoda had crept up on him and crossed the road simply 4 seconds behind the teen in 4th. Anstie rounded out the highest 5 14 seconds again of that.
Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot within the 450 Fundamental forward of Sexton however Chase would takeover the lead on lap 1 with Anderson in third behind Roczen. Barcia was sitting 4th, Cianciarulo fifth, then Webb, Josh Hill, Tomac, #15 Dean Wilson and #46 Justin Hill.
At this level early within the race, we had 2 Hills inside the highest 10 once more.
5 minutes in, it was Sexton, Roczen, and Barcia dropping the sphere with Webb and Tomac beginning to combat over 4th place. Behind them it was Anderson, Cianciarulo, Plessinger, Jo. Hill, Wilson, Nichols, #12 Shane McElrath, and Ju. Hill.
On the half, Plessinger had gotten round each Anderson and Cianciarulo to take sixth and began to seem like he could have one thing for the Webb/Tomac battle.
Anderson began fading off the tempo after which we heard Lurch say over the PA system that he had retired from the race.
Sexton was wanting strong out entrance and talked about within the press convention that they’d his bike “fairly stretched out proper now,” so it was feeling secure on the excessive speeds of this outside stadium circuit. After all, everybody standing on the sidelines had the identical fear that one thing may occur and he’d throw away one other potential win, however he didn’t buckle below the stress.
Barcia was throughout Roczen and talked about he had some ideas of urgent the difficulty however saved his cool and waited for his probability which got here with 6:15 left to go.
The sector was little unfold out at this level again to the tense battle for eighth between Wilson, Jo. Hill, and Nichols.
On the flag it was Sexton with an exuberant checkered flag celebration 7 seconds forward of Barcia in 2nd, 4 seconds forward of Roczen rounding out the rostrum. The three riders got here collectively on prime of the next soar to have a good time collectively.
Webb and Tomac had been wheel-to-wheel at instances on this one for 4th however ultimately Webb took the factors with 2 1/2 seconds to spare.
Plessinger would shut in after which drop again and completed 14 seconds behind Tomac in sixth.
Subsequent spherical is at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ subsequent Saturday and it’s a 250 East/West Showdown.