A 250 East-West Showdown in the Peach State
Your fastest qualifiers in each class were Justin Cooper in the 250 class, logging a 47.9 in the second qualifying session and Eli Tomac in the 450 class also with a 47.9 in his second qualifying session.
250 East Heat
Alex Martin was the first to the holeshot line in the 250 East Heat race. Chase Sexton and Austin Forkner ran second and third early on. Just before the end of lap one, Sexton made the pass on Martin for the lead and Forkner followed suit shortly after, making the pass for second at the beginning of lap two. After a few minutes of racing the red flag came out for a downed rider in one of the rhythm lanes. The rider who went down was Wilson Fleming. Fleming has since posted on his Instagram that he suffered a broken femur and broken clavicle, and has already undergone surgery for the injuries.
Due to the timing of the red flag, the race was restarted with staggered start rules. When the race resumed, Chase Sexton lead the field between the set of restart tough blocks. Austin Forkner got a good run through the first corner and set himself up to make the pass on Sexton in the first corner after the rhythm section. Sexton tried to battle back to take the lead away but was unsuccessful. Martin Davalos also benefited from the restart and made a pass on Alex Martin for third on the first lap of the restart.
Late in the race Jordon Smith made a pass on Kyle Peters for sixth as the KTM rider tried to recover from a bad start to get a good gate pick for the Main Event. Austin Forkner would go on to win the race ahead of Chase Sexton, Martin Davalos, Alex Martin, and Justin Cooper.
250 West Heat
Shane McElrath got off to a great start and pulled the holeshot in the second 250 heat of the night. Colt Nichols and RJ Hampshire started second and third respectively but it did not take long for Hampshire to make the pass for second on Nichols. Nichols fought back however and was able to reclaim second a few corners later.
Adam Cianciarulo got a mid pack start and began to work his way through the pack early on, after being seventh on the opening lap. Halfway through the race, Cianciarulo had made his way up to fifth and was working on a pass for fourth on Jacob Hayes. Adam was able to make the pass on the start straight after the triple jump, moving Hayes back to fifth. Michael Mosiman began to close in on Hayes after the pass by Cianciarulo, and got by a lap later for fifth. RJ Hampshire had some trouble late in the race and fell back to fifth after falling down at the top of the over-under bridge. Hampshire would go on to finish eighth.
Dylan Ferrandis also got a poor start, and found himself on the outside looking in for a transfer spot late in the race. Ferrandis battled with Garrett Marchbanks and Jimmy Decotis for the final transfer spot with under a minute remaining in the race. Cameron McAdoo also had some problems late in the race and was passed for ninth by Marchbanks with just a lap to go. Shane McElrath picked up the victory, ahead of Colt Nichols, Adam Cianciarulo, Michael Mosiman, and Jacob Hayes.
450 Heat 1
Blake Baggett got the holeshot in the first 450 heat of the evening, ahead of Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin. There were a few riders down in the first turn after Zach Osborne appeared to run into Cooper Webb and Justin Bogle in the first turn. The contact caused Osborne to go over the bars and down. The incident collected Alex Ray, and Adam Enticknap, as well as a couple of other riders. Musquin moved into second early in the race as Webb tried to battle back against his teammate for the position.
Justin Bogle and Cole Martinez battled throughout the race and eventually Bogle went down in a corner after banging bars with Martinez. Zach Osborne recovered from his early crash and worked his way into a transfer spot, passing Mike Alessi with under a minute remaining in the race.
Late in the race, Musquin reeled in Baggett for the lead and tried to set up the pass. Cooper Webb also closed in on the battled and on the final lap, all three riders were within a second of each other. Webb made a pass on Musquin at the end of a rhythm section for second and the two would continue to battle for the position for the remainder of the race, however Webb was able to edge out his teammate to seal the second-place finish in the race. Baggett was able to secure the victory with the two KTM teammates battling behind him. Tyler Bowers was fourth, followed by Justin Hill, Zach Osborne, Jared Lesher, Cole Martinez, and Ben Lamay, who took the final transfer spot.
450 Heat 2
Dean Wilson took the holeshot ahead of Cole Seely and Justin Brayton, but Seely wasted no time making the pass for the lead in the second corner. The move allowed Brayton to pull up beside Wilson for second, but Wilson was able to hold him off for the spot.
Ken Roczen battled for sixth with Joey Savatgy early on in the race after getting a mid pack start. Chad Reed and Eli Tomac also battled for fourth just ahead of Roczen and Savatgy. Tomac looked to make the pass on Reed multiple times but Reed was able to stay ahead of the Kawasaki rider. With about a minute and a half left in the race, Savatgy joined the battle for fourth and made passes on both riders in the same lap. Just after Savatgy had settled into fourth, Reed made a mistake in the sand section, cross rutting and going into the line Tomac was trying to use. The move caused Tomac to go down in the sand and lose a few positions to Roczen and Aaron Plessinger.
Cole Seely would go on to win the race and transfer to the Main Event, ahead of Dean Wilson, Justin Brayton, Joey Savatgy, Aaron Plessinger, Chad Reed, Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, and Kyle Chisholm.
Josh Osby won the 250 LCQ ahead of Jordan Bailey, Cameron McAdoo, and Kyle Cunningham. The four riders would take the final transfer spots to the 250 East-West Showdown Main Event.
Justin Bogle won the 450 LCQ ahead of Cedric Soubeyras, Alex Ray, and Mike Alessi. The four riders would take the final transfer spots to the Main Event.
250 Main Event
Austin Forkner took the holeshot of the first 250 East-West Showdown of the year, ahead of teammate Adam Cianciarulo, and Chase Sexton. Sexton was able to make the pass on Cianciarulo for second in the first rhythm lane and try to begin his challenge for the lead. Dylan Ferrandis also found himself inside the top five early on. After a few laps Cianciarulo began to close on Sexton for second and looked to make a charge to the front.
Cianciarulo made the pass for second on Sexton through the whoops with about eight minutes left. Cianciarulo then set his sights on teammate Austin Forkner. Justin Cooper found himself in a battle with Jacob Hayes for fifth, about halfway through the race. Cooper was able to make the pass stick and pull away, Hayes on the other hand, fell a few more spots back to eighth, as both Shane McElrath and Colt Nichols also found their way by.
Cianciarulo caught Forkner with just over five minutes to go in the race and began looking for a place to make the pass. Cianciarulo found the perfect place to make the move by jumping through the whoops and then cutting to the inside of the corner before the finish to make the pass for the top spot. Forkner looked to battle back for a lap but was unable to close back in on his teammate. Dylan Ferrandis had made his way around Sexton for third and closed in on the two Kawasaki riders was they battled. Ferrandis made the pass on Forkner for second in the same place Cianciarulo made his pass for the lead a lap earlier.
Adam Cianciarulo held off a late charge from Ferrandis to grab his fourth victory of the season. Ferrandis was second, ahead of Forkner, Sexton, and Cooper. The win extended Cianciarulo’s points lead to 15 over Ferrandis in the West. In the East, Forkner extended his lead to 18 over Justin Cooper. We will see Forkner with the red plate again next week in Daytona.
450 Main Event
Cooper Webb took the Main Event holeshot ahead of Ken Roczen and Marvin Musqiun. Roczen was shuffled back early on back into fifth as he was on the outside of the first corner. After the first couple of laps, Webb settled into the lead, ahead of teammate Musquin. Blake Baggett was third, and rookie Aaron Plessinger found himself in fourth, ahead of Roczen.
About four minutes into the race, Musquin closed on Webb through the whoops and tried to make a pass, but the French rider almost went down in the process, allowing Baggett to close in and pull up beside Musquin. Musquin was able to hold Baggett off, and pull back away.
Halfway through the race Cooper Webb was leading over Marvin Musquin, Blake Baggett, Aaron Plessinger, Justin Brayton, Eli Tomac, Tyler Bowers, Chad Reed, and Dean Wilson.
Just past the halfway point, Baggett made a pass on Musquin through the sand turn as Musquin seemed to have some troubles cross rutting through the sand and having to slow up. Musquin kept Baggett in his sights but was unable to make the pass back for the second spot.
As Ken Roczen and Aaron Plessinger battled for fourth, Roczen got caught behind a lapped rider and lost some ground on the rookie. Just after gaining some time on the German rider, Plessinger made a mistake in the sand and went down, handing the spot over to Roczen and falling back to fifth.
After fending off plenty of challenges for the lead from both Baggett and Musquin, Cooper Webb went on to take the victory in Atlanta, his fifth of the season. Blake Baggett finished second, ahead of Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Aaron Plessinger, Eli Tomac, Justin Brayton, Dean Wilson, Joey Savatgy, and Cole Seely.
The victory allowed Webb to extend his points lead to 13 over Ken Roczen, and to 17 over Marvin Musquin. Webb will carry the red plate into Daytona next week.