Atlanta Supercross Preview: Kingmaking in Georgia
Following a two-week break, the Monster Energy Supercross will be back in action for a three-race residency at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday April 10, Tuesday April 13 and Saturday April 17. Atlanta has often been a kingmaker and with the venue hosting three of the final five Supercross races, that tradition will most likely continue.
The winner of the Atlanta Supercross race has gone on to win the championship 25 times in 43 seasons that the city has hosted a race - including 10 consecutive years from 1998 through 2007. That tradition continued into recent seasons with Jason Anderson winning in Atlanta in 2008 before claiming the championship. Cooper Webb repeated the feat in 2019.
The 2020 Supercross season broke that streak; Ken Roczen won the event held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta while the eventual champion Eli Tomac finished a distant fourth - more than 17 seconds behind the leader.
This time, the race will be just down the road in Hampton, Ga. and since it has been incorporated into the frontstretch grass of a 1.5-mile tri-oval, there is plenty of space for long straightaways with multiple whoops.
More importantly, there will be three races in which championship hopefuls can succeed. After sweeping the Arlington, Texas residency and winning both races in Orlando, Fla., Webb has the red plate firmly affixed to his KTM with a 15-point advantage over Roczen.
But Roczen has an even bigger hill to climb at Atlanta if he wants to be the fourth consecutive first-time Supercross champion. He struggled to find the top three in three consecutive races from Orlando 2 through Arlington 1 before finally earning back-to-back podiums in the last two Texas rounds.
Roczen is not known as a late-season charger. This is the latest he has earned consecutive podiums since 2016.
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Atlanta has also proved to be a good launching pad for 250 riders.
This is the first time Atlanta will be a Western Regional Supercross race with changes necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the last three East winners are currently making their mark in 450s. Austin Forkner won in 2018, Adam Cianciarulo in 2019 and Chase Sexton won Atlanta last year.
The winner of the 250SX Class Atlanta Supercross has gone on to win their Regional title in 24 of 35 seasons, including Sexton in 2020.
The 250 East championship chase is a much tighter battle with Justin Cooper owning just a two-point advantage over Cameron Mcadoo. Hunter Lawrence is only four points further back.