RC wins Atlanta SX

With eight races down, it looks like it’s going to be a two-man show for the EA Sports 250cc Supercross Championship. Ricky Carmichael has found his usual stride and is back to winning races, but series points leader David Vuillemin remains super consistent and gives up only minimal points with solid podium finishes.

Carmichael grabbed the holeshot at the start of the 250cc main event ahead of Pastrana, Vuillemin, Fonseca, Tortelli, McGrath and Lusk. Fonseca and Lusk collided on the second lap and both riders went down, allowing RC, Pastrana and Vuillemin to break away from the rest of the field. At the halfway point of the race, Pastrana pulled off the track while running second and returned to the pits. Initial speculation in the pits was that Pastrana had a bad case of the flu. Pastrana’s departure from the race left Vuillemin in second, ahead of McGrath, Stephane Roncada and Sebastien Tortelli. From that point on, the battle for the top three positions was relatively uneventful as RC stretched out a 8.5-second lead over Vuillemin, who in turn held a 7-second edge over McGrath, who made his first visit to the podium this year. Roncada and Tortelli battled tooth-in-nail for much of the race, but in the end it was the elder Frenchman who prevailed. Tortelli raced home fourth in what was only his second SX of the year.

“I’ve had the flu all week, but tonight was a big breakthrough for me,” said McGrath. “I was just trying to concentrate on racing the track, not the other riders. I’ve been struggling with suspension all season long but we’re starting to get a handle on all of this, and the physical problems I’ve been having.”

“If I can keep winning these races and giving it 100% every week, hopefully something good will happen for me,” said Carmichael, who only gained a couple points on Vuillemin. “I felt good out there tonight. The track was really rutted and technical, just like I like them.”

In the 125cc main, Kelly Smith snared the holeshot aboard his Moto-XXX YZ250F, leading Robbie Horton, Steve Boniface, Mike Brown and Chad Reed in the early laps. Grant Langston went down in a multi-rider pileup in turn one. The South African charged through the pack and found himself battling for the third position by lap 11, but a second crash sent him reeling back in the pack and to an eventual 16th. Brown took the lead away from Smith on lap six, leaving him to battle with Reed and Boniface over the runner-up position. Reed took firm control of second on lap eight, then set his sights on the 125cc National Champion and reeled him in at a rate of nearly one-second per lap. Reed dove underneath Brown to take the lead on lap 12 and never looked back, winning his third-consecutive 125cc main by over five seconds. Brown went unchallenged for second, as did Boniface in third.

“I got a terrible start and nearly went down,” said Team Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Reed. “It was scary on the first couple of laps with everyone going everywhere and I took some chances to get to the front of the pack. Once I got into about third, I saw that Brown wasn’t pulling away so I wasn’t worried about him being out front. Once I got out front, I just settled into my pace and pulled away.”

Reed is unbeaten in Eastern Region 125cc SX competition and enjoys a healthy series points lead.

125 MAIN: 1. Chad Reed (Yam); 2. Mike Brown (Kaw); 3. Steve Boniface (KTM); 4. Kelly Smith (Yam); 5. Buddy Antunez (Suz); 6. Branden Jesseman (Suz); 7. Larry Ward (Yam); 8. John Dowd (KTM); 9. Jeff Gibson (Yam); 10. Paul Currie (Suz)11. Justin Buckelew (Suz); 12 Joshua Summey (Yam); 13.Robbie Horton (Hon); 14. Troy Adams (Yam); 15. Steve Andrich (Yam); 16. Grant Langston (KTM); 17.Greg Schnell (Yam); 18. Chase Reed (Yam); 19. Steve Mertens (Hus); 20.Tyson Hadsell (Yam); 21.Michael Blose (Suz); 22. Joshua Woods (Suz).

250 MAIN: 1.Ricky Carmichael (Hon); 2.David Vuillemin (Yam); 3.Jeremy McGrath (Yam); 4.Sebastien Tortelli (Hon); 5.Stephane Roncada (Kaw;)) 6.Heath Voss(Hon); 7.Damon Huffman (Suz); 8.Ezra Lusk(Kaw); 9.J. S. Roy(Hon); 10.Nick Wey(Yam); 11.Ernesto Fonseca (Hon); 12.Keith Johnson(Yam); 13.Jason Thomas (Yam); 14.James Povolny (Hon); 15.Kyle Lewis (Hon); 16.Tyler Evans (Hus); 17.Kevin Crine (Hon); 18.Isaiah Johnson (Suz); 19.Jeff Gibson (Yam); 20.Travis Pastrana (Suz).