Always among the most anticipated races of the series thanks to massive fan attendance and good ol’ southern charm, the Atlanta Supercross did not disappoint as a near-sellout crowd lined the walls of the Georgia Dome to watch Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart make his dominant return to the top step of the box.
Long overdue for a Supercross victory, JS7 was simply unstoppable at round eight of the series in the ATL, and rode to wire-to-wire heat race and main event wins in front of 69,000 ecstatic fans.
Despite having some issues finding a comfortable flow early in the day, Stewart set the quickest lap times during both 450SX timed practice sessions. After timing the drop of the gate perfectly, he rocketed down the long Atlanta start-straight to grab the 450SX Heat 2 holeshot and quickly established himself up front. He then proceeded to throw down eight flawless laps on his way to a dominant heat race win ahead of reigning SX champ Ryan Villopoto.
With the enthusiastic Atlanta crowd on their feet later in the evening, JS7 dove to the inside of turn one to snatch the main event holeshot. In a near carbon copy of their heat race, Villopoto dropped in behind Stewart early on, and it looked to be a two-rider battle for the win.
Smooth, steady, and well in control out front, however, James burned 20 impressive laps without a single challenge from behind, capturing his first Supercross win since Daytona last year.
“I just gotta give it up to the team,” James said after the race. “After hurting my knee [at Anaheim 1], they could have easily given up on me, but they didn’t. These guys continue working hard every day, and it finally paid off tonight. I’ve won a lot of races in my career, but this one very well may be the most satisfying yet.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey started the 450SX main event just inside the top ten thanks in part to a mediocre gate pick, but made a couple of quick passes to work his way into sixth by the midway point of the race. Once there, Dungey locked in behind Trey Canard but was unsuccessful at finding a way around the Honda rider on the tough-to-pass-on ATL circuit.
Though not a stellar result for a rider of his caliber, Dungey’s sixth was good enough to keep him in the championship points chase as the series moves on to St. Louis next weekend.
450SX MAIN EVENT RESULTS
1. James Stewart
2. Ryan Villopoto
3. Davi Millsaps
4. Justin Barcia
5. Trey Canard
6. Ryan Dungey
7. Eli Tomac
8. Jake Weimer
9. Chad Reed
10. Mike Alessi
EASTERN REGIONAL 250SX CLASS
In the highly-competitive 250SX class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin launched out of the gate in Heat 2 to grab the second spot early on. After following Supercross rookie Zach Bell around the ATL circuit for several laps, Musquin mistakenly left the door open for Bell’s teammate Wil Hahn, who eventually snuck by both riders to take over the lead. With Hahn in sight, Musquin made his way past Bell shortly thereafter and pressured Hahn all the way to the checkers, where he’d cross the line in second.
When the gate dropped for the 250SX main event, Musquin worked his way through the inside of turn one and into the fifth spot. Looking fast and aggressive early on, he made a couple of quick passes on Justin Hill and Blake Wharton to move into third by lap number three, and then began his pursuit of Dean Wilson in second.
Running the exact same pace as the leaders on the slick Georgia Dome circuit, Musquin was unable to close the gap on Wilson and eventually finished the race upon the podium with a third.
EASTERN REGIONAL 250SX MAIN EVENT RESULTS
1. Wil Hahn
2. Dean Wilson
3. Marvin Musquin
4. Blake Wharton
5. Jeremy Martin
6. Justin Hill
7. Gavin Faith
8. Kyle Peters
9. Vince Friese
10. Zach Bell
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