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Cooper Webb claims victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Feld photo)

Webb Bounces Back In Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. — Round 15 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship wrapped up three events at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb grabbing a thrilling 450SX class triumph.

Previous-round winner Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen led most of the race but settled for second and defending champion Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac fought forward and finally reached as high as third for a podium finish.

The penultimate round of the Western Regional 250SX Class saw Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Nate Thrasher take his second career win in front of fans stretched across the grandstands in limited capacity, pod-style seating.

Heading into the third consecutive event on the high-speed track stretched out across the infield at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Cooper Webb enjoyed a 13-point lead in the series but hadn’t looked in his best form on the red Georgia soil.

When the gate dropped Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger jumped into the early lead with Roczen and fastest-qualifier Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson right on his rear wheel.

On the opening lap, Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis ran into the back of Anderson on a corner entry, sending both riders to the ground and ending their hopes of a win. Just over a minute and a half into the 20-minute plus one lap race, Ken Roczen passed for the lead and immediately started to distance himself from the pack. Six and a half minutes into the race Webb got around Plessinger but did not have the speed early in the race and Roczen continued to disappear on the track ahead. Webb was staying just out of reach of Plessinger, Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia and Tomac behind him.

Then with just under five minutes remaining on the race clock, Roczen got wild in the whoops and stepped off the bike. Roczen nearly stayed on his feet and remounted quickly, still with a comfortable lead. But all was not well.

Roczen would tell later that his handlebar had gotten bent from the impact. Webb saw the opportunity and he broke away from Plessinger and Tomac and ate into Roczen’s five-second lead.

With 23 seconds on the clock, effectively two laps remaining, Webb charged through a sand section, dove under Roczen in a bowl turn, and cut down to close off any chance of a retaliation.

One bobble late on the last lap added some drama, but Webb held on for the win that meant a six-point swing in the points, had he not gotten around Roczen.

The Western Regional 250SX Class delivered unbelievable drama and action but the winner of the night was Rookie Nate Thrasher. It was his second career win after his first victory one week prior at the same venue. Making the first-place finish even more dramatic, for the second time Thrasher had to qualify for the Main Event through the Last Chance Qualifier. In both cases the Yamaha rider won the LCQ then went on to win the Main Event in convincing fashion.

Earning second and significantly stretching out his points lead, Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper grabbed the holeshot and looked on his way to the win but a crash and injured rider on the track brought out the red flags for a re-start.

Cooper duplicated his incredible start and put his Yamaha up front again on the re-start but lost the lead to his teammate in the early laps. Cooper rode steady and unchallenged in second to stretch his lead in the championship chase to 20 with one round remaining in the division.

 

 

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