A sold out crowd of 71,009 filled the Georgia Dome to capacity on Saturday night, as Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, hosted its eighth race of the 2012 season. Following a strong start, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., fended off all challengers to take his second victory of the year. In the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee, Ga., remained undefeated in the second race of that championship.
In his first race as a substitute rider for American Honda Muscle Milk, Cole Seely, of Murrieta, Calif., grabbed the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award with Dungey and Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Davi Millsaps, of Murrieta, Calif., hot on his wheels. Behind them, championship leader Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., found himself in sixth aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki at the conclusion of the opening lap. Fellow title contender, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., was also slow out of the gates, crossing the line in ninth on Lap 1.
Seely fought off Dungey’s pressure for several laps, but the 2010 Supercross Class Champion eventually worked his way into the lead on Lap 7 and looked to pull away. As Dungey made his move forward, both Villopoto and Stewart were doing the same and by Lap 11, the trio was running first, second, and third, respectively. Villopoto slowly ate away at Dungey’s advantage throughout the second half of the main event, even overcoming an early tip over to have a shot at his fourth consecutive win. On the final lap, the pair was separated by just over a second, with Villopoto charging. A slight bobble by the defending champion coming out of the sand section allowed Dungey to extend his lead and give KTM just its second main event win in the Supercross Class.
“To get that first win right off the bat (for KTM) in Phoenix was nice, but it took a while after that,” said Dungey. “But, to back it up here in Atlanta, it was a great night. We’ve been looking for that one for a while. The whole team has been working hard and things haven’t gone our way with testing and stuff, but we’re coming around to it and I think things are progressively getting better.”
Villopoto held on for second, to lose just three points in the championship standings, while Stewart finished third.
“I just made a little mistake, and early on in the race I fell over and that cost me, huge,” said Villopoto. “The track was tough tonight, you could really see (that) and I just slipped up and washed the front end out. Overall, we had a good night. It just wasn’t the best of weeks coming into this (race), so to come out with a second is good.”
In the Supercross Lites Class Main Event, Barcia was the first rider out of the gate, claiming the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., and Darryn Durham, of Butler, Pa., followed him out of the first corner. After posting the fastest practice lap of the day, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, of Murrieta, Calif., crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in 14th place, following a tough start.
Barcia set a torrid pace to start the 15-lap main event, pulling away to a multiple-second advantage over the field. Behind him, a heated battled for the podium took place between Baggett, Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Blake Wharton, of Beaumont, Texas, and GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle, of Cushing, Okla.
Baggett asserted himself in second and after battling for several laps, Bogle worked his way past Wharton on Lap 9. Barcia completed his perfect effort by taking the checkered flag 2.253 seconds ahead of Baggett. Bogle held on for his first career podium finish in third, to go along with his first career heat race victory earlier in the evening.
“Two for two (is) not a bad way to start,” said Barcia. “I wanted a good start, I got the holeshot, and just rode hard from there. The track was super tough tonight. It was very slick and there were a lot of places where the bike was sliding around. I was trying not to make any mistakes. Fortunately, everything went really smooth and we got the win.”
Barcia extended his points lead in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class to 12 over Durham.
Supercross Class Results: Atlanta
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
Jake Weimer, Wildomar, Idaho, Kawasaki
Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
Nick Wey, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
Supercross Class Season Standings
Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 180
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 170
James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 136
Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda – 128
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 106
Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 105
Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki – 100
Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda – 96
Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha – 94
Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Calif., Suzuki – 90