McThoughts: Atlanta 1 SX
By Jeff McConkey
Round 8 of the Monster Energy AMA SX Series went off Saturday night in Atlanta, Georgia. Normally, this round is packed to the rafters with 77000-plus screaming fans. I don’t know if it is due to the fact that this season Atlanta will house 2 rounds back to back, but the place looked half empty. Don’t get me wrong, the Georgia Dome half empty is still a huge crowd, but not up to their usual standards. The track and dirt looked good, which made for great racing.
I will start with the ‘Vicki Golden Watch.’ Vicki is trying to become the first lady to qualify for a night show and line up with the boys. It may happen one day, but realistically it won’t be Vicki. She looks to be struggling big-time to adapt to the tracks. She was 30-plus seconds off the pace in the first session, and finished off qualifying session 2 with a 1:04.769. That is quite a bit off the 56.421 which grabbed the 40th and final spot in the night show. Now onto the action.
And the 250 main event had a lot. I’ve honestly not seen a 250 main that had the top 4 guys that close for that long. I really had no clue who was going to take the checkers. After 15 laps, Jeremy Martin showed everyone that he has what it takes to be a serious contender. I believe Marvin Musquin is still the fastest, but too many mistakes cost him the win. Martin Davalos crumbled like cookie under the pressure and showed why he will never capture a title.
In 450 action, Chad Reed won one for the old boys. He got a great start and held off a hard-charging Ryan Dungey and Trey Canard. Former points leader, Ken Roczen, had a night to remember. He absolutely ate s#!t twice! He came up very short in qualifying trying to quad and went sliding into and under the stands on the hard concrete. He then followed that up with a spectacular digger in the main, but showed some true heart by not quitting and finishing the race. Let’s check out the results and see my thoughts:
1st Jeremy Martin: Great ride by Martin. He was going for it the entire main. I don’t think he is faster than Musquin, but he will be a thorn in his side all season long.
2nd Marvin Musquin: Marvin made quite a few mistakes which cost him the win. He is still the fastest in the East and if he can make the podium on his bad races, he will for sure be our new champ.
3rd Justin Bogle: Bogle rode well, but he seems to be lacking the speed of the Davalos, Martin and Musquin. But just like last year, he will be right there to strike if anyone falters.
4th Martin Davalos: Martin pooped the bed big time! Did I mention this is his 10th year in the class?
5th Joey Savatgy: Good ride by Joey. He won his first heat race and pushed all main long. I don’t think he will win a race, but he will battle for a few podiums.
6th Vince Friese: Another good ride for Friese in this stacked class. He is riding hard and keeping it clean which is nice.
7th Matt Lemoine: Not a great finish for Lemoine. I still think he’d be a better 450 guy.
8th Anthony Rodriguez: ‘A-Rod’ held it together and moved forward. This guy has serious speed and once he figures it all out, he will be sniffing around the podium.
9th R.J. Hampshire: I’m sure a 9th isn’t what R.J. was hoping for but after hearing how banged up he is from last week, he shouldn’t be down on himself.
10th Arnaud Tonus: Arnaud came from way back! If he gets a good start, he will podium for sure. I think he will squeeze out a win before Vegas.
Biggest Stud: The top 3 are my Studs. They had an amazing battle that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. It was a great race to watch.
Biggest Dud: Davalos is my Dud. Hometown race, and holeshot…Martin should have been long gone for the win.
1st Chad Reed: Chad finally got a start and he did what Chad Reed used to do, and that is, seal the deal. He looked great out there and once again proved everyone wrong.
2nd Ryan Dungey: ‘RD5’ looks different this season. He seems to have an edge to him that has been missing in the past. I believe he will win a few more and take home this title. He is just too good.
3rd Trey Canard: Trey is clearly the fastest guy out there, but with 10th place starts he isn’t going to win. He needs to get some great starts and get some back to back wins to catch up to Dungey. Trey now sits 2nd in points, 25 behind Dungey.
4th Cole Seely: Cole had a nice ride for 4th. He is proving me wrong yet again.
5th Weston Peick: Peick got a great start and held 2nd for quite a while. What makes this even more impressive is that he is fresh off of foot surgery and is riding with a damaged MCL.
6th Broc Tickle: Another top 10 for Broc. This guy is very boring to watch, but his results aren’t .
7th Jason Anderson: I keep waiting for ‘La Flama Blanca’ to get a good start and make something of it. He is currently sitting 5th in points, 1 point behind Eli Tomac for 4th. Not a bad rookie season.
8th Blake Baggett: Baggett needs to get his starts dialed and he will be a top 5 guy every week. He isn’t flashy but he is having a hell of a season so far.
9th Andrew Short: Another solid week for the always solid Short.
10th Josh Grant: Grant started 17th and moved forward all race long. I’m still waiting to see some of that magical ‘JG33’ speed to show up and amaze us.
Biggest Stud: Reed is my Stud. He rode great.
Biggest Dud: My Duds are the guys that squeeze into the main and then proceed to roll around out there. Are they spent after all the racing, or just shocked to be there? Either way, they need to pick it up.
Biggest Surprise: I was shocked to see Roczen with 2 massive crashes. Let’s hope he can claw himself back into the winner’s circle.
Canadian Connection: Mike Alessi was 13th, Josh Hill was 14th and Kyle Chisholm was 16th.
See you right back in the same place for Atlanta 2…