Monster Energy AMA Supercross Atlanta 3 Observationsby Jack Gaffney April 18, 2021 4 comments
The three-race stay at Atlanta Motor Speedway is now completed for Monster Energy Supercross. With just two rounds to go on the year, the 250 West title race took a major step forward into its conclusion. On the 450 side of things, the pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction in regards to momentum.
Another Red Flag start
Unfortunately for the second round in a row, the 250 Main would be halted due to a first-minute red flag. This time it would be for Gas Monkey/AJE GasGas rider Chris Blose who had a very scary incident. On the opening rhythm lane, he would clip Cameron McAdoo on his back, and then eject forward off his bike, landing hard on the dirt. Blose would then be put on a flat board and carted off to the back. After the main event, commentator Todd Harris would say that Blose would get transported to a local hospital. Goes without saying that we hope for the best in the case of Blose.
Thrasher Strikes Again
Rookie Nate Thrasher would once again take home the Main Event Win, Also Thrasher would again make the 250 Main coming through the Last Chance Qualifier. He would make the winning move early on, passing teammate Justin Cooper after he made a mistake in an off-camber corner. Thrasher in this Atlanta stint ends up with two wins and a fourth in between. Star Yamaha Team Manager Will Hahn should be pleased but would most likely want Thrasher to not be in LCQ’s anymore.
To Thrasher’s teammate Cooper, he would settle into second place after his miscue early on. All Cooper has to do now in Salt Lake City, is finish 16th or better to win his first Supercross Championship. The man now second in points would be Hunter Lawrence after finishing fourth on Saturday. He now needs about a dozen things to go right at Round 17 to come back and win the title.
Cameron McAdoo, who had an eventful Tuesday evening, did not see things get much better for himself. In fact, you could say they got worse. McAdoo would have another big crash to start his day out in qualifying, this led to a subpar seventh-place result in his heat race. He would be involved with the incident with Blose, but that was not all.
McAdoo would get put on the ground a few more times, most notably by Garrett Marchbanks. In the final bowl turn before the finish, Marchbanks would go for the proverbial kill on McAdoo, while also taking himself out. Despite there being no noted history between the two, this seemed like a blatant takeout attempt on the part of Marchbanks. Due to his bevy of incidents and riding clearly under 100 percent, McAdoo ended up in 13th on the evening. And now he needs a miracle to happen to win the championship.
The final round for these 250 West riders will be in two weeks’ time in Salt Lake City. This will be The Dave Coombs Sr East/West Showdown, with both 250 Regions race at the same time.
No. 2 “Paul” Cooper Webb– Red Bull KTM (First Place)
After Tuesday, it seemed like Webb had opened the door up just enough for Ken Roczen to come back in the championship. And on Saturday, Webb proceeded to smash that same door in Roczen’s face. After letting Roczen get out to a double-digit second lead, Webb would smell blood in the water once Roczen fell in whoops. Webb cranked up the heat from this point on, erasing a six-second deficit in a relatively short time. And ended up passing Roczen in the closing stages, after he went high entering a corner expecting Webb to send it in. And then Webb proceeded to hold off a final second charge by Roczen for win number seven of 2021.
A big factor for Webb’s comeback was his ability in the whoops. From the Heat Races to the Main Event, Webb seemed just enough better for it to make a difference. Outside of that, his comeback was nothing short of spectacular on Saturday night. With just a couple of rounds remaining, Webb has a 16-point buffer over Roczen. Also, Webb is now heading back to Rice Eccles Stadium, where he was exceptionally good at during the bubble last year.
No. 94 Ken Roczen– Honda HRC (Second Place)
Roczen in the span of just four nights has gone from the thrill of the victory to suffering a soul-crushing defeat. After blitzing by Aaron Plessinger in the first whoop section, Roczen gapped the field in short order. At this point, Roczen seemed primed for his fifth win of the year. But with just a few minutes remaining, Roczen would end up crashing at the end of the long whoop section. Despite this relatively minor accident, he would still hold around a six-second lead over Webb at this point. However, Roczen did not seem as good as he was before the crash, and eventually surrendered both the lead and win to Webb.
Roczen would state that his handlebars got bent due to his crash. This would obviously make things difficult down the stretch. Regarding the winning pass, it felt as if Roczen expected Webb to go hard inside and then go for crossover. Obviously, this did not work out. And it feels like Roczen let a golden opportunity slip on Saturday. If he had won, he would only be down ten points to Webb, now he is 16.
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (Fourth Place)
It was yet another exceptional performance for Plessinger on Saturday. After securing the Main Event holeshot, Plessinger would ultimately yield to Roczen, Webb, and Eli Tomac on separate occasions. Despite this, he held his own against the best supercross has to offer on his way to a fourth. Plessinger also is now in the driver seat to his first-ever 450 Class top-five points finish with two rounds remaining. On the rumor mill, Steve Matthes, host of The PulpMX show, dropped this a few weeks back regarding Plessinger, as well as Marvin Musquin.
Heard that KTM has made a contract offer to AP and Marv so couple thoughts: that means Marv not retiring (whispers of that) & possible three man team which is awesome. Also, I would still bet AP stays BLU
— Steve Matthes (@pulpmx) April 2, 2021
Would also guess he stays with Yamaha. However, the prospect of Plessinger training with Aldon Baker and being with the KTM program is very intriguing, to say the least.
No. 27 Malcolm Stewart– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (Sixth Place)
After an early crash knocked him out of Tuesday’s Main Event, a sixth-place result should be a good sign for Stewart. This result also ties the best result of Stewart’s last five races, which have not gone the greatest. Although seeing as it was a track with multiple whoop sections, it felt like Stewart could have contended for a win. There is arguably no one better in the whoops, and that was shown in the heat races. Stewart absolutely blew by Plessinger and Tomac at the same time in the longer section and made it look easy. Now Stewart hopes to close out what has been a solid season in Salt Lake City.
No. 21 Jason Anderson– Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (Eleventh Place)
It felt like Saturday would be the night Anderson would break through for win number one of 2021. Unfortunately, this would not end up being the case. Anderson early on was caught up in an incident with Dylan Ferrandis, and this ended any chance he had at winning. An absolute shame too, as Anderson has looked better than he has in a while as of late. Would feel bad if he did not get a win to close out the year.
Now just two rounds remaining for the 450s and 250 East classes, and just one for The 250 West. Championships will be won or lost in the next 20 days, just a matter of who capitalizes on their opportunities.