Down the home stretch, Webb takes control


3/4/2019

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This past weekend's round of the 2019 AMA Supercross Championship was the first East/West Showdown of the season, so it was the 250SX class that took center stage. Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta played host to Round 9, and it was a worthy venue, loaded with southeastern fans. Atlanta has historically been one of the best attended events on the circuit, and this year was no different. 

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What they saw in the East/West Showdown was a perfect matchup between the two Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates who are leading in points on each coast. Adam Cianciarulo and Austin Forkner instantly shot to the front of the field and faced off for the first time this year. And it was quite a battle, at least for a few laps. Cianciarulo got past Chase Sexton early and set his sights on Forkner, making his way by with relative ease and then running off. 

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It was an impressive ride by the No. 92, and left no doubt who the fastest 250SX rider is in the AMA Supercross series. A distant second went to Dylan Ferrandis, another West Coast rider, who also made it past Forkner, which was more of a surprise, considering how completely dominant Forkner has been thus far. It seems as though Forkner's crash during practice may have affected him a bit more than he let on, so here's hoping he'll heal up and be 100 percent for this weekend's Daytona Supercross by Honda. 

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All aboard the Cooper Webb train, if you weren't already on it. Webb has all the momentum, speed and confidence that a future 450SX champion could hope to have at this phase of the season and at this point it appears the title is his to lose. He's opened up a 13-point gap on Ken Roczen in second place, and all signs point to his ability to beat the German whenever he feels the need, so things are looking good for Webb heading into Daytona.

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Farther back in the pack have been Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac, both of whom were beaten handily by Webb several times already and, apparently, don't really pose a threat to him. This is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which being how Webb literally came out of nowhere to suddenly be the rider to beat in the sport's premier class. At this point, it seems completely safe to say that there's been a changing of the guard at the front of the pack.

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Previously, the fastest rider on the track at any given moment was generally Eli Tomac, but this simply is not the case this season. Roczen, Webb, Musquin, even Baggett, have had their way with Tomac on several occasions, and this appears to have broken the super-confidence with which he's beaten them in the past. Tomac needs to go on a run of wins with a few mistakes by Webb to stay in the points chase down the home stretch. He's now 22 points out of the lead.

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Blake Baggett is the next biggest surprise this season. He's been hounding the Fast Four for the past several races, often beating them. In Atlanta, he was alllll over fellow KTM rider Musquin and eventually got past him and headed out after Webb before time ran out. Look for Baggett -- a former 250 national motocross champion -- to be a threat for another win this weekend in Daytona, which is more "outdoorsy" than the other rounds and focuses more on fitness.

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With a completely unique layout, Daytona this year looks to be quite a bit more technical than usual with long, complex rhythm lanes and, unusually, every turn is a 180 degree bowl turn. This typically results in a lot of passing, so a rider who suffers a poor start should seemingly be able to make his way to the front. Be sure to follow the action Saturday night right here with our live timing and scoring and also on our Facebook and Instagram pages for photos throughout the day.


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