View From The Floor: Superbowl of Supercross 1

The Monster Energy Supercross series followed behind the NFL's Superbowl in the Mercedes Benz Dome by a few weeks. Fortunately, this one had a whole lot more scoring than the football version.

View From The Floor: Superbowl of Supercross

We get that they're thrown in the interest of rider safety, but there's nothing quite as much of a buzzkill as a red flag...particularly early in the night's racing program. This one was in the first 250 heat for Wilson Fleming. Here's hoping he's all right.

The AMA crew seemed to have a better handle on the procedure for lining up the riders on the single file restart this time around. On the other hand, these don't happen all that often, so thankfully they don't get a lot of practice.

Chase Sexton looked like he was on his way to a heat win before the red flag. Unfortunately, he got snookered by Austin Forkner after the restart and had to settle for second.

Atlanta produced the first heat race win of the year for Shane McElrath. Of course, he did have a win in one of the mains at Anaheim 2's Triple Crown.

Blake Baggett showed early speed in Atlanta with a heat race win over Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin.

Ken Roczen's looking serious with his freshly sheared head.

Blake's first order of business after winning his heat race was to knock all the sand out of the goggle port before pulling off his helmet. He mentioned after the race that he wasn't a fan of the sand section due to the limited ability to pass there, and that during the main he ate a lot of it.

We're going to bet that Dean Wilson thought he had the lead at this point in the second 450 heat, but Cole Seely was sneaking by on the inside as they headed into the second turn.

It was cool to see Cole Seely grab a heat race win. He's often so smooth that it doesn't look like he's going particularly fast. But he had some very fast cats covered in that heat.

For just about every rider, there's a "guy behind the guy" to offer coaching and advice on everything from gate picks to strategy. For Alex Martin and the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing guys, that's Buddy Antunez.

Why do heat race results matter? Justin Cooper was fifth in his, while Dylan Ferrandis was seventh. They both had to line up on the outer half of the gate for the main.

Justin Cooper had everyone covered as they headed into the first turn, but was forced a little wide in the first turn, and missed the preferred line on the left through the first rhythm section. By they time they finished the first lap, he was in the seventh spot.

Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis both had to come from behind in the main to grab podium spots. At this point they were third and fourth behind Austin Forkner and Chase Sexton.

Chase Sexton about to catch a batch of roost from Austin Forkner, while fending off Adam Cianciarulo.

The combination of the bridge and sand section made for some interesting action. And yeah, photographers probably like it more than the racers.

Martin Davalos finished the night in eighth spot, while Shane McElrath (behind him) was sixth.

Anatomy of a pass. Just past the halfway point, Adam Cianciarulo had worked his way past Chase Sexton, and was putting pressure on his teammate. You can see here that he's already making a direction change to heat for the inside in the next corner.

All lined up...

Austin Forkner knows he's there, and looks like he's in full defensive posture and was expecting contact. Nope, Adam had this under control.

Chalk that up as a clean pass, which probably made Mitch and the whole Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki crew breathe a sigh of relief.

Dylan Ferrandis also worked his way past Austin Forkner to grab the second spot on the podium.

Alex Martin got a little loose in the whoops, and at this point he'd crossed over from that lane into oncoming traffic. Fortunately, he was able to gather it back up, and there was no one coming the other direction.

Garrett Marchbanks having a titanic struggle trying to get his jersey unwrapped from his grip. How it got there? We have no idea.

Make that a big win for Adam Cianciarulo, who extends his points lead in the west to 15 over Dylan Ferrandis.

Adam looking for some love from the crowd.

The night could have turned out a whole lot worse for both Adam Cianciarulo and Austin Forkner. A tangle through the first rhythm section (they were on opposite rhythms), caught something on Adam's knuckles and almost ripped the bars out of his hands.

Austin Forkner was a little bummed at first with his third-place finish, but seeing as both the riders ahead of him were West coast guys, this was like first-place points in the East. Considering he wasn't particularly fond of the whoops, it was good to back it down a bit and settle for what he could get on the night. That's potentially a championship-winning strategy. Hit the play button to check out a post-race chat with Austin below.

It was interesting seeing Mike Alessi fill in at MCR after Vince Friese went out with an ACL injury. Mike originally wanted to make his first race appearance at Daytona, but the team talked him into getting some more seat time before Florida.

The 450 pack launching off the line. It was interesting watching Zach Osborne click up more than one gear as the card went sideways.

Cooper Webb nailed another start and held the point the entire way.

Joey Savatgy grabbed a ninth here.

Eli Tomac didn't get a great jump here and was in the back half of the pack after the first lap. Unfortunately, he didn't have quite the passing magic that he'd displayed in Detroit and finished sixth.

Tyler Bowers was in seventh place for the first half of the 450 main, but got gobbled up near the end of the main, finishing 12th.

Faster than a speeding bullet... Kenny was fourth this week.

Aaron Plessinger had a great ride in Atlanta, running in fourth for a good portion of the main before Roczen got by. We're betting he's pumped with a fifth-place finish.

It was interesting watching the top three jockey for positions. Marvin Musquin could make a run at Blake Baggett, but couldn't quite get by. Blake did the same with Webb.

Chad Reed was in seventh for much of the main event, but went down after the halfway point and ended up in 13th.

Coop and Blake congratulate each other after the finish. Cooper's points lead is now 13 points...the biggest gap this season.

There's a point after the live and TV interviews are done, and the riders get a quiet moment to themselves before doing the trophy presentation. It's not uncommon to see them go into 1000-yard stare mode, likely playing the race over in their heads...

Of course, it wasn't long before someone called Cooper's name, snapping him out of it.

The other cool moment on the podium is when the riders get a moment to chat with each other about the track, or things that happened out there. They'll reconvene next weekend in Daytona, where we'll get yet another different style of action.

GuyB GuyB 3/4/2019 5:50 PM

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