Ah…to be in the land of red clay. I’ve always loved the dirt in Georgia, because it’s mostly clay with a little bit of sand in it. It makes for great traction and the dirt in the Georgia Dome did not disappoint. This week’s dirt was super tacky and made for some great racing.
Pit and Heat Race Notes
Back racing this week was Mike LaRocco, after sitting out the last two weeks with a rotator cuff injury. Mike was still sore but was racing tonight.
Some of the 125cc West Coast riders that were on 250s here in Georgia are Sean Hamblin, Danny Smith, Andrew Short, Josh Woods, and West coast champ Travis Preston.
The Georgia Dome has to be of the loudest domes in the circuit—the sound inside was deafening. Spectators at this event should be asked to wear earplugs before they enter the building. Seriously, when there were bikes doing laps out there it was loud.
The pits in the Georgia Dome were packed. The locals in Georgia don’t play around when it comes to motorsports and they love Supercross here in Atlanta. Big autograph lines were at everyone’s pits, but especially at Pro Circuit, Honda and Kawasaki. Southerners like Ezra, Bubba, RC, Mike Brown and Matt Walker have some really dedicated fans in this part of the country.
In the first 125cc heat race, Brett Metcalfe got a holeshot, but Michael Byrne passed him. Byrne won the heat race with around an eight-second lead over Ivan Tedesco.
The second 125cc heat race saw a Kelly Smith holeshot, and he held Mike Brown off for a lap. After that, Brownie left the rest of the pack and looked to be in good form for a podium finish in the main, with a 17-second lead at the finish. Branden Jesseman hit the mat hard in this race. He looked like he lost traction going off the face of a jump in the rhythm section. He got back up and looked to be okay. Jesseman still transferred to the main.
Jason Thomas grabbed the holeshot in first 250cc heat race, but Chad Reed went right by and he never looked back. The Australian won his heat race by no less than 10 seconds over Vuillemin, followed by LaRocco and newbie Sean Hamblin. Hammy looks confident on his 250.
In the second 250 heat race hometown hero Ezra Lusk grabbed the holeshot and held RC off for two laps, then RC passed and made his move. He looked very fast. Lusk and Fonseca followed him.
Busting out a holeshot once again was number 56, Kelly Smith. Smith was followed by Sellards, Boniface and Vallejo. Before the first lap was complete, Sellards had already passed Smith and was starting to pull away.
After one lap down this is how they sorted out; Sellards, Boniface, Vallejo, Lalloz, Smith, Brown, Tedesco and Jesseman. Mike Byrne is stuck in the very back of the pack.
Lap three saw Mike Brown move from fifth to third place, and Sellards with a five-second lead over Boniface.
Lap five, and Mike Brown passes Boniface for second place. Brown was riding so well against these younger riders here in Atlanta. Sellards now is starting to build up commanding lead over the rest of the field. In the back of the pack, Byrne is passing at least one rider per lap, but I don’t think it will be enough to finish on the podium.
Lap six and Tedesco was working on Boniface for third place. They both went down on the second straight! Lalloz hits them! Lalloz gets going again and only surrenders only two positions, while Boniface took a hard fall it was Tedesco that was laying on the ground for almost two laps. While all this was going on, Jesseman moved up into fourth place.
Lap eight, and Jesseman moved up into the third position. Jesseman looks to be gaining now on Brown. Boniface was in fourth and looked to be fading. Byrne looked like he was in seventh place now on lap eight.
Lap nine and Vallejo goes by Boniface for fouh.
Lap 11 and Byrne got by Boniface and was now in sixth position.
Lap 12 and Byrne went by Lalloz for fifth place. Byrne is on a mission tonight, but there wasn’t enough time. Nice job, after being in 18th place off the start.
Lap 13 and Jesseman had caught Brown, but something happened to Jesseman. It looks like he lost traction on one of the faces of the jumps, and Brown pulled more time on him. With Sellards way out in front, and Jesseman working on Brown for the last lap, it looked like it is going to go down like that. Jesseman wasn’t able to catch Brown. Nice ride by Byrne from the back. Congratulations to YoT and Brock Sellards on their first win of the season.
125cc Main—Atlanta (East round 2)
- Brock Sellards (Yam)
- Mike Brown (Kaw)
- Branden Jesseman (Suz)
- Erick Vallejo (Yam)
- Michael Byrne (Hon)
- Matthieu Lalloz (Suz)
- Steve Boniface (KTM)
- Kelly Smith (Yam)
- Troy Adams (Yam)
- Ryan Mills (Hon)
- Tiger Lacey (Yam)
- Ryan Morais (Suz)
- Paul Currie (Yam)
- Shane Lusk (Hon)
- Jeff Gibson (Suz)
- Troy Carroll (Yam)
- Josh Summey (Yam)
- Brett Metcalfe (KTM)
- Travis Elliot (Yam)
- Shae Bentley (Suz)
- Kevin Johnson (Yam)
- Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
As the 250cc main got underway, it saw Mr. Brand-New Engine, Larry Ward, get a picture perfect start. Fonseca was in second place and Heath Voss in third. Voss and Fonseca got together and Voss went over the second turn. Carmichael was in third and Vuillemin in fourth Hamblin in fifth.
Lap two, and Big Bird was still holding onto first, but RC was comin’. Chad Reed passed Ezra Lusk and moved into sixth.
Lap three, and Vuillemin moved into third and Carmichael went by Ward and into first place.
As lap four started, Chad Reed’s back end swaps out as he entered back onto the first straight. He got it back together and continued to charge. On the third straight, Ezra Lusk went down in the whoops hard! He got his bike off the track and tried to straighten the front end so he could continue the race. He had to bring it in to the mechanic area to get it fixed. Too bad for Yogi.
As lap five started, it was RC, Ward, Vuillemin, Reed, Fonseca and Hamblin. Hamblin looks great aboard the 250 for his first 250cc SX main ever.
Lap six, and Reed got by Ward and started to work on Vuillemin.
Lap nine, and Reed was all over Vuillemin and RC had a ten-second lead over the Frenchman.
Halfway through the main, Reed went by Vuillemin on the starting straight. The top riders in order at this time went like this, RC, Reed, Vuillemin, Fonseca, Ward, Hamblin and Tim Ferry.
Lap 14, and it looked like Chad Reed didn’t have the speed he had last weekend. He can’t really make up any time between him and RC. It looks to me like Chad was seven seconds behind RC.
Lap 18, and Hamblin was all used up. He tried to hold him off as long as he could, but Nick Wey got by him. Something happened to Ward, I could not see it. RC was whipping it on both of the triples as he waved to the crowd. Over the finish line I think RC was upside down. I haven’t seen him whip it like that in a long time. RC gains another three points on Reed in Atlanta, but this title is far from being won. Now we will see what Chad is made of…
250cc Main—Atlanta (Round 10)
- Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
- Chad Reed (Yam)
- David Vuillemin (Yam)
- Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
- Tim Ferry (Yam)
- Nick Wey (Yam)
- Sean Hamblin (Suz)
- Mike LaRocco (Hon)
- Andrew Short (Suz)
- Danny Smith (Suz)
- Keith Johnson (Yam)
- Heath Voss (Yam)
- Travis Preston (Hon)
- Tyler Evans (Suz)
- Joe Oehlhof (Yam)
- Larry Ward (Hon)
- Clark Stiles (Hon)
- Ryan Clark (Yam)
- Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
Damon Huffman (Hon) Talk to you next week from Indy!
Damon Huffman (Hon) Talk to you next week from Indy!