The Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series kicked off a triple header at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a daytime event where Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac used speed and patience to pull off a dramatic win, his third of the season, in front of the limited-capacity, pod-seated fans. In a heartbreaking loss, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton lead for over four laps before a run-in with a lapped rider cost him the lead with the white flag in sight. Series points leader Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb ran in second early in the race but had to settle for a third place finish when the checkered flag came out. Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the Western Regional 250SX Class for the first time in 36 250SX regional events in Atlanta, and rookie Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Nate Thrasher dominated the field at Round six of that regional championship’s 2021 nine-round series.
At the first-ever Monster Energy Supercross at the venue, and with a long 4,591 ft open-air track reminiscent of the Daytona layout, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger grabbed the holeshot and instantly gapped the field. Heavy rains mid-day meant the riders only had one ten-minute session on the track during qualifying before opening ceremonies, but by the Main Event the skies were clear and the red Georgia clay was in good, but rutted, condition. Plessinger looked destined to grab his first 450SX Class win as he stretched out more than a five second lead over second place Cooper Webb. Chase Sexton hovered just out of range of a pass on Webb while Tomac was just as close behind Sexton.
Ten minutes into the abbreviated 18-minute plus one lap event Sexton flew past Webb in the whoops and set after Plessinger. Less than one minute later, Plessinger fell awkwardly due to a tiny front end washout. Sexton inherited the lead as Tomac applied the pressure to Webb and got by with just over six minutes left on the race clock. From there the Kawasaki rider reeled Sexton in, getting the gap to under one second when a lapped rider threw off Sexton’s jump rhythm and Tomac flew into the lead. Sexton didn’t battle back, and Tomac brought it home for a win on the track that many saw as very similar to the Daytona track and therefore favoring Tomac’s style.
Coming so close to his first win, Sexton still earned his first 450SX Class podium finish. Surely more disappointed was his teammate, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, who got off to a bad start outside the top fifteen and was never able to make it further forward than ninth. Eventually finishing in that spot, the Honda rider lost seven championship points on Webb but still remains second in the standings.
Following the 450SX Class Last Chance Qualifier, Supercross fans were treated to some additional high-flying action as Monster Jam driver, Todd LeDuc, showcased a signature Monster Jam truck backflip in the middle of the expansive Supercross track. LeDuc, the driver of the Monster Energy truck will be back at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25 along with the rest of the Monster Jam fleet for four action packed events.
The Western Regional 250SX Class delivered its fourth first-time winner this year with Nate Thrasher’s dominating ride. Thrasher nearly grabbed the holeshot even with a poor gate pick due to a trip through the Last Chance Qualifier. Once into the early lead the Yamaha rider looked picture perfect on the slick red dirt. Thrasher held on without any major mistakes through the 13-minute plus one lap event; a two minute abbreviation due to a schedule affected by the mid-day rain and mud.
Thrasher’s teammate, Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper, earned a second place finish to stretch his points lead to four over third-place finisher Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo. Cooper was sore from a heat race crash and benefited from a late-race crash from ClubMX / IAMACOMBACK / Yamaha’s Garrett Marchbanks. The podium finish gave Cooper two more points in the championship battle over McAdoo, who had a wild Main Event. After grabbing the holeshot, McAdoo got shuffled back. The Kawasaki rider moved aggressively forward but a crash in the whoops three and a half minutes into the race ended his early charge to get back into the lead. McAdoo recovered to round out the podium.
The second race of Atlanta’s triple header drops the gate on the final SuperTuesday event of the season on April 13th, then wraps up the Atlanta residency on Saturday, April 17th. Tickets for the Atlanta races as well as the final two rounds in Salt Lake City, Utah are available in a limited capacity, pod-seating format. For more information on the race schedule, updates, and to catch the races on Peacock and NBCSN please visit SupercrossLIVE.com.