|Chad Reed Races his Kawasaki to the Top of the Podium in Atlanta|
Irvine, Calif. (February 23, 2015) – Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM Championship held its first of two back-to-back races at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday. Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki's Chad Reed led all 20 laps of the main event to capture his first 450SX win of the 2015 season and the 44th of his career. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Davi Millsaps was forced to transfer to the main event through the semi after a crash in the heat race. Millsaps battled within the top 10 for the majority of the main event and finished 12th. In the 250SX class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Joey Savatgy won the first heat race of his career and rebounded from a mid-pack start to finish fifth in the main event. Arnaud Tonus suffered a crash on the first lap of the main, but fought forward from 21st place to achieve his second career top-10 finish in 10th.
Never to be Counted Out
Reed has had an action packed season with both highs and lows, but Saturday night's win silenced all critics. Reed showed speed early in the day during practice and posted the ninth fastest qualifying time. He finished second in his heat race after leading a few laps, but really made a statement in the main event. He blasted out of the gate on his KX™450F to grab the holeshot and immediately started setting a quick pace. By the halfway point Reed had built a sizable lead and showed no signs of slowing as he rode nearly mistake free to take his 44th career victory.
"The start made all the difference tonight," said Reed. "With the pace that the top guys are running, you have to be up front from the get-go. The track started to break down pretty quickly, but my bike was great and I was able to find lines that worked as the dirt deteriorated."
Staying on Course
Millsaps was determined to bounce back from Dallas, where his race was cut short after connecting with another rider. He felt good in the first qualifying practice, setting the fourth fastest lap time, until the last lap when he suffered a small crash and fell awkwardly, jarring his back. He decided to sit out the second qualifying practice and rest up for the night show and his fast time remained fifth fastest. Rounding the first turn in the heat race, another rider collided with Millsaps and put them both on the ground. He moved on to the semi and transferred to the main event. Despite an outside gate, Millsaps rounded the first turn within the top 10 and fought for as high as seventh until lap 15 when a few mistakes dropped him to 12th at the checkered flag.
"Today was really tough," said Millsaps. "It started great, I felt comfortable on the track, but I crashed and jacked-up my back. I rested it for the afternoon and just pushed through the pain all night. Nothing has quite fallen my way, but I'm optimistic that we're continuing to move forward and we will find our place at the front."
A Taste of Victory
After achieving his first career podium finish one week ago, Savatgy achieved another career first in Atlanta by capturing the heat race win. He posted the second fastest qualifying time on his KX™250F and rode a flawless heat to take the win. With a boost of confidence, Savatgy was ready for the main event but had to overcome a mid-pack start. Amidst the chaos of the first lap, he came together with his teammate over the triple, which nearly ended his night. Savatgy battled forward and was able to break into the top five at the finish line.
"I'm not too happy with tonight," said Savatgy. "The heat race was great, but I couldn't get the start in the main event and that's frustrating. There is no excuse to not be up front off the start. I have the best bike possible and the best team and I want to put them up front where we belong."
Tonus continued to learn in Atlanta as he will all season as a supercross rookie. He qualified fourth fastest, but on the first lap of the main event he came together with Savatgy as they weaved through the field and ended up on the ground. He remounted in 21st and rode consistent to pass half the field and achieve his second top-10 finish.
"My bike was really good tonight, but I didn't get to show that," said Tonus. "I got a bad start and had to double both the triples on the first lap and when I jumped off the landing of the second one, Joey tripled and we came together. From there I just tried to pass as many riders as I could."
Behind every rider is great deal of support that ranges from manufacturers and sponsors, to friends and family. For Millsaps, his support system was crucial to him getting through the day in Atlanta. His riding coach, former Kawasaki factory racer Ezra Lusk, and his physical therapist Doc G were by his side at all times making sure he is able to race at his best. In addition to that, Atlanta serves as a "hometown" race for Millsaps after spending many years living in Georgia. Davi had many family and friends in attendance that he often doesn't see now that he calls California home.
Duel in the Dome
For the fist time, Monster Energy Supercross will return to the Georgia Dome for the second consecutive race next Saturday for Round 9. The points from the back-to-back races will be combined for additional bragging rights in what has been dubbed the Duel in the Dome. After his win on Saturday, Reed sits in the driver's seat for earning the Duel in the Dome trophy next Saturday, February 28th.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross
450SX Class Main Event
450SX Class Points Standings
250SX Class East Main Event
250SX Class Eastern Regional Points Standings