Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Others...Atlanta

If you're a moto fan, Atlanta was the place to be all weekend! Three days known as Moto Fest. All the top racers from amateur to pro would pack the Georgia Dome as fans were treated to Amsoil Arenacross on Friday night, Monster Energy Supercross on Saturday and Sunday amateur day. A chance to see not just those names we've come to know but those on their road to supercross, along with those who just want to ride inside a stadium once in their life.

The last time the Georgia Dome will see a supercross track

Just one week in to the 250 East Supercross Championship and riders look hungry. I'm going to go out there and say the east has more depth this season. Joey Savatgy came in with the red plate and would set the tone with his fast lap in qualifying. His 52.099 would best the field although the top 7 were all in the 52's. In the 450 class Eli Tomac looks as though he is the fastest guy on the track. He'd prove that with his qualifying time of 50.736, making him the only rider in the 50 second marks.

Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo is one of those guys who looks hungry. He'd claim the win in 250 Heat One, while Zach Osborne put his Husqvarna to the front of Heat Two. RedBull KTM backed Ryan Dungey would lead every lap of 450 Heat One and fellow KTM rider Blake Baggett would do the same in Heat Two aboard his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC ride. In 450 Semi Qualifiers it'd be Jason Anderson and Trey Canard topping the 5 transfer spots in each. Last Chance Qualifiers fill the final 4 spots for the main events and it'd be Traders Racing backed Luke Renzland with the 250 win. He'd be joined in the main by Kyle Cunningham, Tony Archer and Paul Coates. The 450 LCQ offered up maybe one of the intense races of the season as Cade Clason and Scott Champion fought to the finish for the final transfer spot. Clason looked aggressive and faster but a last lap bobble would set up Champion for a block pass and drag race to the finish that just edged Clason and sent Champion to his first 450 main of the season, as he normally races the 250 West division. Jake Weimer took the win with Cody Gilmore and Alex Ray headed to the main as well.

With the fields set and the track actually shaping up in to what may have been my favorite of the season so far, the main events were bound to be good. A wall jump in to a sand section added a degree of difficulty normally not seen in Supercross and after the timed main events, riders would look they had endured an Outdoor National. Troy Lee KTM rider, Jordan Smith got off to a good start for the second straight week in the 250 main but pressure from his teammate Alex Martin would cause a bobble and allow Martin to settle in to second place. Zach Osborne would show his aggression and ride to his first career win. Current points leader Joey Savatgy would struggle with a bad start and time would run out before he could catch the third place of Colt Nichols. Savatgy's fourth would hand the points lead to Osborne. In 450 action, Ryan Dungey came out swinging. The defending champ has looked slightly off at previous rounds and had many scratching their heads at the rarity. Dungey sprinted out of the gate and charged early to a sizable lead. His early sprint would prove key as the Kawasaki of Eli Tomac was coming fast behind Dungey but would still sit second at the checkered flag. Blake Baggett would put in a career ride and finish third onboard his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM.

The number 76 of Scott Champion hails from California and has spent the first half of the season competing in the 250 West Championship. He'd take advantage of that series break to line up on a 450 in Atlanta. After qualifying 28th he'd go on to take the final transfer spot to the main event through the LCQ. Champion has charisma that shows his love for the sport. He may have been the happiest guy in Atlanta. It looks like we will see Scott on the 450 again as soon as Daytona.

Scott Champion on his usual 250 machine earlier this season. | Photo: Kyle Pesci

And now...The Others

5. 88 John Short
6. 677 Cody Williams
7. 740 Lane Stanley
8. 170 Zack Williams
9. 351 Eric Grondahl
10. 256 James Milson
11. 313 Kyle Swanson
12. 914 Brice Klippel
13. 619 Mark Weishaar
14. 559 Dylan Merriam
15. 336 Chaz Braden
16. 248 Travis Delnicki
17. 93 Josh Cartwright
18. 309 Jeremy Smith
19. 931 Gradient Featherstone
20. 49 Anthony Rodriguez
21. 341 Nico Izzi
22. 48 Christian Craig

5. 80 Cade Clason
6. 11 Kyle Chisholm
7. 722 Adam Enticknap
8. 723 Tyler Enticknap
9. 556 Brady Kiesel
10. 240 Bryce Stewart
11. 291 Kyle White
12. 606 Ronnie Stewart
13. 918 Michael Akaydin
14. 713 Chad Cook
15. 509 Alex Nagy
16. 501 Scotty Wennerstrom
17. 95 AJ Catanzaro
18. 151 Dakota Tedder
19. 411 Dylan Walker
20. 282 Bubba Pauli
21. 708 Joe Perron
22. 181 Dustin Pipes

I'd like to end this weeks "The Others" with a moment directed towards Dylan Slusser. The number 558 lost his life in the week leading up to Atlanta. The Pennsylvania native was a familiar face in the pits and everyone's memories include Dylan's smile and ability to bring a laugh to any situation. I've been able to watch Dylan grow as an amateur racing with my brother on the east coast and always crossing paths on their way to Loretta's. I'm grateful for his kind words regarding this site and the conversations we had as he was trying to get things together through the offseason and the laughs we shared trying on his new Novik Gloves in Detroit last season. Dylan Slusser is a perfect example of why this sport is so great. The places it takes you and the people it brings in to your life. 558 it's guys like you that are the reason we Cheer Privateer. Godspeed.

-Kyle Pesci

The Others is brought to you by FXR Moto. FXR is a leading brand in snow, moto and more. Supporting privateers is what they do, and riders like Alex Ray and Heath Harrison have lived the FXR motto by starting their factory ride in FXR gear. Check out their site by clicking the banner to learn more.

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