The 9th round of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series took place in Atlanta, Georgia on February 29. It was one of the messiest, most intense nights of the season so far – you’re going to want to catch up on all of it in this week’s race report.

The Dome at Atlanta in 2020
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

450SX Report

By the first turn of the 450SX main event, it was clear it was going to be an intense race all the way to the checkered flag. Ken Roczen got the holeshot, which wasn’t anything new, but Martin Davalos, Vince Freise, and Justin Hill rounding out the top-4 positions certainly was. Behind them, contenders Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, Justin Barcia, and Jason Anderson had all gotten bad starts, setting the stage for a mad scramble to the end.

Eli Tomac Rides Through the Dirt
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Most of the chaos and carnage of the night centered around Tomac and Barcia. Anderson made his way around Tomac for 6th place in the third lap, leaving the door open for Barcia to do the same. Tomac wasn’t taking it, though, and aggressively passed Barcia back with contact. Still in 7th place, he went on a charge for 6th, which was then held down by Blake Baggett. Tomac decided to make his move through a corner, but went in too deep and took out Baggett. Tomac recovered in 15th place, but Baggett resumed the race in last place. It was just more disaster for Tomac as he stalled his bike in the sand section just a few laps after his pass on Baggett.

Justin Barcia Jumps Through Track
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Meanwhile, Roczen was in his own race out front. He’d been in the lead since taking the holeshot, and he was riding smoothly onto what seemed to be an uncontested victory. Davalos had settled into a good pace behind him, as had Hill and Friese. Further back, though, Barcia and Anderson were still fighting their way up to the top. Anderson started to ride up on Barcia, but Barcia fended off the pressure by making a move around Friese and then Hill. One lap later, Hill, Jason Anderson, and Dean Wilson all collided, ending with Wilson down on the ground.

Ken Roczen Wins Big at Atlanta
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

With all of that drama up front, Webb was sneaking his way into the mix. He had made his way around Aaron Plessinger and Wilson before Wilson’s crash, and was setting himself up nicely for a podium position. His time would come, too, as the podium positions continued to shuffle. Just three minutes were left in the race, and riders were still making key passes. The running order was then Roczen, Davalos, Barcia, Hill, Anderson, Webb, and Tomac, but Barcia quickly passed Davalos for 2nd. Anderson made an attempt to pass Hill, but the two got physical through the rhythm section. This allowed Webb and Tomac to make their way around Anderson, and then Webb passed Hill for 4th. Tomac made his way around Hill as well, but wasn’t able to get around Webb before the checkered flag. When the dust had settled, it was Roczen taking the win with Barcia and Webb on the podium behind him. Tomac and Davalos took the final top-5 positions with Anderson finishing all the way back in 11th place.

450SX Results

Pos.No.RiderBikePointsOverall
194Ken Roczen*Honda26200
251Justin BarciaYamaha23177
31Cooper WebbKTM21176
43Eli TomacKawasaki19200
537Martin DavalosKTM1883
646Justin HillHonda17127
77Aaron PlessingerYamaha16108
827Malcolm StewartHonda15137
964Vince FrieseHonda1496
1015Dean WilsonHusqvarna13113
1121Jason AndersonHusqvarna12151
1210Justin BraytonHonda11116
1350Benny BlossYamaha1023
1434Tyler BowersKawasaki958
1522Chad ReedHonda839
1611Kyle ChisholmYamaha736
17722Adam EnticknapSuzuki68
18393Daniel HerrleinKTM55
194Blake BaggettKTM4108
2065James WeeksYamaha37
2144Kyle CunninghamSuzuki223
2271Ryan BreeceSuzuki126

*Holeshot

250SX Report

After watching their intense battle last weekend, all eyes were on RJ Hampshire and Chase Sexton as the 250SX riders peeled off the start. To add another layer of excitement, Sexton and Shane McElrath were tied in points – Atlanta was set to be a decisive race for the East Coast. Around the first corner, Hampshire, who had taken the holeshot, was leading Sexton, McElrath, and Jeremy Martin. Sexton immediately started to put the pressure on Hampshire for the lead, but he wasn’t able to make his pass before McElrath made one himself. Around a corner, McElrath took the faster line around Sexton, but Sexton got on the throttle and passed him right back. As the two points leaders went back and forth, Hampshire started to slowly edge away with the lead.

Shane McElrath has the Red Plate at Atlanta Supercross
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

By the halfway point of the race, Sexton was able to pull away from McElrath enough to run Hampshire down. Sexton had been putting pressure on Hampshire for a few laps before he made his pass – Hampshire was riding defensively and did not make it easy for Sexton to pass him. Nonetheless, Sexton finally made his way into the lead, leaving Hampshire open for McElrath. Luckily for Hampshire, McElrath had a slower lap time, creating a gap between him in 3rd place and Hampshire in 2nd.

Chase Sexton Takes the Win at Atlanta 2020
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Then in 4th place, Martin was trying to find his way onto the final podium. Finishing his slower lap, McElrath was right in Martin’s sights, but a tuff block kicked onto the track by Hampshire up ahead led to a crash for Martin that saw him resuming the race all the way in 21st place. With the top-3 riders evenly spaced out at that point, Sexton, Hampshire, and McElrath rode onto their final podium positions virtually uncontested. Jordan Smith and Jo Shimoda finished in 4th and 5th after a hard-fought battle with Garret Marchbanks for a top-5 position.

250SX East Results

Pos. No.RiderBikePointsOverall
11EChase SextonHonda2675
224RJ Hampshire*Husqvarna2361
312Shane McElrathYamaha2170
454Jordon SmithKawasaki1947
584Jo ShimodaHonda1844
666Enzo LopesYamaha1736
736Garrett MarchbanksKawasaki1653
868Nick GainesYamaha1524
9352Jalek SwollHusqvarna1428
10175Joshua HillYamaha1341
11201Cedric SoubeyrasHusqvarna1222
1239Jordan BaileyHonda1129
1353James DecotisSuzuki1024
1477Kevin MoranzKTM913
15367Hunter SaylesKTM813
1656Justin StarlingHonda710
17163Pierce BrownKTM66
18349Grant HarlanHonda55
196Jeremy MartinHonda444
20125Luke NeeseHonda33
21981Curren ThurmanKTM211
22194Lance KobuschKTM11

*Holeshot

In the end, it was a great night for Honda. Now tied for championship points with Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen will be headed to Daytona with a red plate for the 450s. In the 250SX class, Chase Sexton will take the red plate from Shane McElrath.

Photo Credit for All Gallery Images: Kardy Photo