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Monster Energy Supercross Atlanta: Weekend Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Supercross

The 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season is already at its halfway point as it rolls into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday. Just under four weeks after Super Bowl LIII took over the home of the Atlanta Falcons, and only a week after NASCAR rolled through Atlanta Motor Speedway, Supercross wraps up what may have been one of the biggest months in Atlanta sports history.

It’s also the home of the first East/West Showdown of the 2019 season, as the 250 class combines to showcase its most talented riders for the first time this year. Combine that with a thriller of a 450 championship battle, and we’ve got plenty to be excited about this weekend. Here’s a taste of the top storylines coming into Round 9 of 17:

450 Class

Last weekend at Ford Field, Eli Tomac rebounded from his worst finish of the 2019 season to win two of the three Triple Crown main events of the night and the overall event. With breakout star Cooper Webb leading the third race and thus holding the tiebreaker, Tomac calmly rebounded from an off-track excursion to pass just enough bikes to break the tie and seal the victory.

Those 26 points were enough to pull him back to within a single marker of the top three, where he sits just behind Webb’s Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin. But Webb continued his run of five overall podiums in the last six races, including four victories, by earning second place. That gave him a slightly larger cushion over Honda’s Ken Roczen, who sits just six points out of the lead, 173-167.

The 450 standings essentially feature a trio of four-way battles in the top 12. Making up the second quartet are Dean Wilson, who rode a hot start as a privateer to regain his factory Husqvarna ride, Anaheim 1 winner Justin Barcia, Glendale winner Blake Baggett, and Detroit third-place finisher Chad Reed. They’re only separated as a group by eight points, from Wilson’s 122 to Reed’s 114, and much like the championship leaders, any rider is just one bad race from falling out of the fight.

The third and final meaningful points group also features the top two rookies. Last year’s 250 West champion Aaron Plessinger is ninth for Yamaha with 104 points, ahead of Justin Brayton’s 97, Cole Seely’s 94, and Joey Savatgy’s 92. Savatgy is on the rise with 15 or more points in five of the last six races, while Seely will aim to rebound from a rock to the sternum in Detroit qualifying that forced him to sit out of the race.

250 East/West Showdown

Finally, we get our first look at a unified 250 class until the outdoor season in Atlanta. After five straight West rounds to open the season and three East events directly after, it becomes easy to forget about each group of riders on the smaller bikes when you haven’t seen them for a while.

So for those of you who have forgotten, it’s Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo who sits atop the 250 West standings with three wins in the first five rounds of the season. Last year’s West runner-up holds an eight-point advantage over Shane McElrath, with breakout candidate Colt Nichols holding down third, 10 points off the lead, and Dylan Ferrandis fourth, just 12 points back.

It’s not as if green atop the podium hasn’t been a familiar sight in the first East rounds of the year, though. In fact, Austin Forkner is a perfect three-for-three in events, including the first sweep of a Triple Crown event in Supercross history (among points-paying events) just last weekend in Detroit. Now, though, the question is: will Cianciarulo or Forkner reign supreme on Saturday?

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