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Monster athletes compete in Round 8 of the 2019 Supercross season in Atlanta
NEWS

Monster Energy Showcases 250SX Dominance in Atlanta Showdown

Mar 032019

Since the start of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season one trend that has been abundantly clear week in and week out is the control Monster Energy’s lineup of riders has had over the field in both the East and West regions. Of the claw’s eight total riders on Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha have helped put the Monster Army on the top step of the podium in eight of nine total races thus far, spread amongst a trio of riders.

Colt Nichols got things off to a stellar start by claiming his first career win at the Anaheim opener, and since then the Pro Circuit duo of Adam Ciancirulo and Austin Forkner have proved they’re the ones to beat in each respective regional championship. This past weekend in Atlanta provided the first of two opportunities to see all the stars of the 250SX Class in action, as both regions converged inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the East/West Showdown.

Red plates adorned the Kawasakis of Cianciarulo and Forkner, who each entered Atlanta as the respective point leaders on a major hot streak. Despite some hiccups early in the season, Cianciarulo had captured three of the first five Main Events of the West Region season, including back-to-back victories entering their midseason break. For Forkner, the East Region Championship couldn’t be going any better, where he had an undefeated record through the first three races, leading all but one lap of competition. It was easy to see why the Pro Circuit teammates were the heavy favorites entering the Showdown, and they rose to the occasion when the time came.

In addition to the Kawasaki tandem, the Star Yamaha effort had enjoyed one of the most collectively impressive team efforts in the division. While they had just one win to their credit, the impressive consistency of Nichols, Dylan Ferrandis, and Justin Cooper put the team in the thick of both championship battles. They’ve been an ideal complement to the success of their Kawasaki counterparts, putting at least two Monster Energy riders on the podium in all but one race this season.

Perhaps the biggest achievement of the season, outside of the dominant win share, was Monster Energy’s sweep of the podium in Oakland. It was the most definitive example of the strength of the Monster Army. That was until it happened again inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Forkner, Cianciarulo, and Ferrandis showed their prowess against the deepest field of 250SX talent we might see all season.

In the end it was Cianciarulo that prevailed with his fourth win of the season, and third in a row. His path to victory required patience, and his confidence ultimately carried him to the front on a path to victory. To no ones surprise, Forkner spent the majority of the Main Event out front, but he came under fire late from his fellow Monster athletes and ended up surrounding Ferrandis with Pro Circuit bikes in third.

450SX Class

 

After his most impressive outing of the season one week ago, hopes were high that Eli Tomac would be able to start building a winning streak aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki. In Detroit, Tomac’s path to victory was a direct result of his strong starts, but he wasn’t able to duplicate that effort in Atlanta. While Tomac’s speed was a present as ever, the challenge of passing on the technical Atlanta track hindered his ability to make major headway up the standings. Nevertheless, he salvaged a hard-fought sixth-place finish.

 

The rider who stepped into the spotlight for Monster Energy in Tomac’s absence was rookie Aaron Plessinger. Last year’s breakout star of the 250SX Class has endured through the highs and lows of a rookie season in the premier class, but Atlanta served as his coming out party. Plessinger parlayed a strong start into a consistent Main Event performance where he earned his best finish of the season in fifth.

 

Before the action even got underway in Atlanta the Monster Energy squad was down a rider as Justin Barcia was forced to sit out with injury. Once out on track, qualifying wrapped up with Tomac atop the charts, with teammate Joey Savatgy seventh and Plessinger in 13th.

 

Those qualifying times put all three Monster riders in the second Heat Race, where the rookie tandem of Savatgy and Plessinger led the way. Savatgy rode to a solid fourth-place effort, while Plessinger followed right behind in fifth. After starting fifth Tomac made contact with Chad Reed in a battle for position and lost several spots, ultimately settling for eighth.

 

When the Main Event got underway, it was Cooper Webb who led the way and seized control of the race. Plessinger earned the best start for the Monster Energy lineup, emerging in fourth, while both Savatgy and Tomac were mired outside the top 10 in 11th and 13th, respectively.

 

Webb continued to add to his lead out front and ultimately carried on to his fifth win of the year, but Plessinger turned heads by showing the potential that everyone knew was there. He went bar-to-bar with his more experienced rivals, chasing Blake Baggett for a spot on the podium for most of the Main Event. Tomac broke into the top 10 on Lap 4, with Savatgy in tow. The teammates continued to work together and made more progress as the race wore on.

 

Plessinger started to lose touch with the top three in the later stages of the Main Event and soon found himself in a battle with Ken Roczen. The Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing rider fought hard to keep his position, but Roczen’s persistence paid off. A lot of ground sat between Plessinger and the rest of the field, which allowed him to settle in and bring home his best result to date.

 

Webb led every lap on his way to victory, but Plessinger was the surprise of the night with his strong fifth-place finish. Tomac did well to fight his way to sixth, while Savatgy helped put all Monster Energy riders inside the top 10 in ninth.

 

Tomac still sits fourth in the championship standings, 22 points behind Webb. Plessinger moved up to eighth, with Barcia now ninth. Savatgy continued to inch closer to the top 10 in 12th.

 

450SX Class Results

  • Cooper Webb, KTM
  • Blake Baggett, KTM
  • Marvin Musquin, KTM
  • Ken Roczen, Honda
  • Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing
  • Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki
  • Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki

 

450SX Class Standings

  • Cooper Webb, KTM - 199
  • Ken Roczen, Honda - 186
  • Marvin Musquin, KTM - 182
  • Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 177
  • Blake Baggett, KTM - 142
  • Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 122
  • Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 120
  • Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 10

250SX East/West Showdown

 

Monster Energy riders topped the charts in qualifying for both regions, with the Star Yamaha duo of Ferrandis and Cooper leading the way. These two riders have undoubtedly been the fastest and most consistent riders yet to earn a win this season, but they set a promising tone with that impressive speed as the only two riders to break into the 47-second bracket. Monster Energy ultimately secured the top three spots in West Region qualifying with Cianciarulo second and Nichols third, while Garrett Marchbanks put all four West riders inside the top 10. In the East Region, Monster Energy landed a trio of riders in the top five, with Forkner third and Martin Davalos fifth, while Mitchell Oldenburg unfortunately suffered an injury and was forced to sit out the rest of the night.

 

In the East Region Heat Race, Forkner had his hands full with perennial challenger Jordon Smith early, but it took just a couple laps for the championship leader to take over the lead and cruise to an easy win, keeping his unbeaten Heat Race streak intact. Davalos rode to a solid third-place finish, while Cooper punched his ticket to the Main Event in fifth.

 

The Monster Energy squad was held in check in the West Region Heat Race, where Shane McElrath seized the moment out of the gate and parlayed it to a win. Nichols, arguably the best starter in the West Region, was right there with McElrath every step up the way, but didn’t force the issue en route to second. After a poor start in which he emerged from the first turn in seventh, Cianciarulo valiantly fought his way into third while Ferrandis endured through an even worst start to claw his way back from 14th to seventh. Marchbanks grabbed the ninth and final transfer spot.

 

With a loaded 22-rider field on the gate for the East/West Showdown Main Event it was a pair of red-plated Kawasakis racing side-by-side into the first turn as Forkner and Cianciarulo went bar-to-bar for the holeshot. As has been the case more often than not this season, Forkner crossed the chalk first and sprinted out to an early advantage. Cianciarulo made slight contact battling another rider for second and got off rhythm, which dropped him into a fierce battle for third, chasing down Chase Sexton in second. Ferrandis earned a much better start than his Heat Race to emerge fourth, with Cooper sixth, Davalos seventh, and Nichols 10th. Marchbanks was the only Monster Energy rider outside the top 10 after contact off the start forced him wide and mired him back in 18th.

 

With so much experience leading this season Forkner was easily able to put some distance between he and Sexton, who started to fall into the clutches of Cianciarulo and a hard-charging Ferrandis. Despite the pressure, Sexton was able to keep the Monster Energy riders at bay for nearly half of the Main Event and, in turn, kept Forkner within his reach. As a result, when Cianaciarulo eventually got by the Honda rider just over a second sat between he and his teammate. Sexton continued to lose ground and then dropped off the podium when Ferrandis stormed by into third.

 

The battle for the lead intensified just past the halfway point as Cianciarulo continued to chip away at the deficit to Forkner. The two riders were close in speed, but Cianciarulo was able to pick up chunks of time by charging deep into the corners and forcing his teammate to ride more defensive. The dueling red plates put on a show for the thousands of fans in attendance, where Cianciarulo was able to get the upper hand on Lap 11. Once he had the lead, Cianciarulo was able to inch away.

 

The head-to-head battle between Pro Circuit riders allowed Ferrandis to keep his charge going and close in to within just over a second of the leaders. Soon enough, the top three were separated by 1.5 seconds. Ferrandis kept the pressure on Forkner and attacked in the whoops on Lap 12, stealing second.

 

The top three quickly spread out at that point, with about two seconds separating each of them. Cianciarulo continued to add to his advantage and was able to back in down on the final lap to take the win by 4.8 seconds over Ferrandis, while Forkner followed in a distant third.

 

It was the landmark 10th win of Cianciarulo’s career and further distanced himself from his rivals in the West Region Championship.

 

“I learned a lot throughout the day, kept a positive attitude to not let the bad moments of the day get to me. This is the best Pro Circuit bike I’ve ridden and I think it shows with both Austin and I leading laps. My team never stops pushing for the best and I’m very grateful to give them another win. It’s crazy because I never even had two wins in a row and now I have three. It feels great.”

 

Ferrandis’ runner-up effort helped minimize the damage in the championship battle, where moved into second and now 15 points behind Cianciarulo. While he had to settle for something other than a win for the first time in 2019, Forkner’s third-place finish still made him the top-finishing East Region rider, and he too was able to extend his advantage in the championship standings to 18 points over Cooper, who moved into second.

 

Collectively, six of Monster Energy’s seven riders finished inside the top 10.

 

250SX East/West Showdown Results

  • Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
  • Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
  • Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
  • Chase Sexton, Honda
  • Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
  • Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
  • Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
  • Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

 

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Standings

  • Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 99
  • Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha - 81
  • Chase Sexton, Honda - 79
  • Jordon Smith, KTM - 70
  • Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 58
  • Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha - 50

 

Western Regional 250SX Class Standings

  • Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 140
  • Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 125
  • Shane McElrath, KTM - 123
  • Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 120
  • RJ Hampshire, Honda - 86
  • Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 74

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