The inaugural MotoFest, The World's Greatest Motocross Festival, continued on Saturday with the second night of a historic action-packed weekend. The annual visit of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, to the heart of the south signified the series' 26th and final visit to the legendary Georgia Dome. A crowd of 60,074 fans were on hand to bid farewell at the eighth round of the 2017 season and watched on as reigning 450SX Class Champion Ryan Dungey led wire-to-wire to secure his second victory of the season aboard his Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine. In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Zach Osborne broke through for the first win of his career, taking over control of the points lead along with it.
Dungey's path to victory started right off the start of the 450SX Class Main Event, where he earned his second SupercrossLive.com Holeshot of the season over Smartop/MotoConcepts Racing Honda's Mike Alessi and RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM's Blake Baggett. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac, who had won three of the last four races entering Atlanta, started in ninth.
The clear track allowed Dungey to assert himself out front and open a gap of more than a second by the completion of the opening lap. Alessi soon came under fire from Baggett, who was able to move into second on Lap 2. Alessi then faced a challenge from RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing's Justin Bogle and Team Honda HRC's Cole Seely. Bogle passed Alessi on Lap 3 and briefly held onto the position until Seely took advantage of an inside line below both riders to jump from fifth to third.
Tomac mounted a charge through the field that saw him move into podium contention about the halfway point of the Main Event. Laying down some of the fastest laps of any rider on the track, he moved into fourth on Lap 7 and closed in on Seely just a couple laps later. Tomac successfully made the pass on the Honda rider on Lap 9 and fended off a counter attack from Seely. From there the Kawasaki rider set his sights on Baggett for second. He made up large chunks of time and soon found himself in a position of attack, diving under Baggett to start Lap 16 and taking away the KTM rider's line. At this point Tomac faced a deficit of just over seven seconds to Dungey with about five and a half minutes left in the race.
Dungey and Tomac traded fast laps throughout the remainder of the Main Event, with Tomac closing to within three seconds on the final lap, but the reigning back-to-back titleholder held on for his 33rd career win, 1.5 seconds ahead of Tomac.
Dungey's win was his fifth inside the Georgia Dome in the 450SX Class, tying him for the most all time, and also signified the third consecutive year he's won in Atlanta. The Dome was the site of Dungey's first ever Monster Energy Supercross win in the 250SX Class, all the way back during the 2007 season.
"The start [was key], for sure. I was really able to drive off the [start] gate good and held it into the [first] corner. As all the guys shot wide I was able to tuck under and get the holeshot," said Dungey. "This track was key for that, it was very hard to really make a lot of time on guys. I wanted to get out front and we did that. I saw Eli [Tomac] coming at the end, but wanted to just keep things easy [on myself]. A win is a win."
Tomac's runner-up effort was his first podium finish of the season that wasn't a win.
"I'm satisfied [with the result]. That [race] was tough. [The start] didn't really happen in the Heat Race either, and it's something I'll look back on," said Tomac. "I really need to be better off the start, that's how important they are. But no excuses, Ryan [Dungey] straight up beat us tonight and got the start. I did what I could."
Dungey moved out to a 25-point lead over Tomac, who moved into second, in the 450SX Class standings. Dungey's Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin, who finished fifth, dropped to third, 27 points out of the lead.
For the second straight week, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM's Jordon Smith grabbed the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot to start the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Main Event, edging out Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Dylan Ferrandis. Behind them, Smith's Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM teammate Alex Martin and Osborne battled for third. Ferrandis then crashed out of second, handing the spot to Martin, while Osborne slotted into third. Entering points leader and last week's winner Joey Savatgy found himself outside the top 10 in 11th aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, eventually fighting his way into eight by the completion of the opening lap.
With Smith holding a comfortable lead out front, Osborne went to work on Martin and closed in heavily at the completion of Lap 2. After hounding the rear fender of his KTM rival for several corners he made the pass stick on Lap 3 and set his sights on the lead. Just a lap later Osborne closed in onto Smith's rear fender as they completed Lap 4. He dove inside heading back onto the start straight and easily took over the lead, quickly opening a gap. As Osborne continued to pull away the KTM teammates of Smith and Martin engaged in battle for second, with Martin getting the upper hand on Lap 10 after Smith bobbled in the whoops.
The battle between the teammates wasn't over yet, however, as Smith was able to mount a challenge of his own to get back by. They fought side-by-side on Lap 15 and made contact, which sent Smith to the ground. Martin continued in second, while Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Colt Nichols moved up into third, with Savatgy jumping into fourth and Smith remounting in fifth.
Osborne went unchallenged over the remainder of the Main Event and easily took the win 6.3 seconds ahead of Martin, who posted a career-best result in second in just his third trip to the podium. Nichols grabbed his second career podium result in third, while Savatgy salvaged a fourth-place finish to keep things close in the points.
Osborne's maiden win came in his 49th career start. He became the 104th different 250SX Class winner in Monster Energy Supercross history. He's the 13th different rider to claim his first career win in Atlanta, and is the 22nd different 250SX Class winner inside the Georgia Dome.
"I can't explain [the feeling]. It hits home. I've worked so hard for this and there are hundreds of people that helped get me to this point," said Osborne, who finished third last weekend. "Tonight was my night. I felt like I missed out on one [a win] last weekend. After I got a good start I felt like it was my turn to just get in there and make it happen. I got into the lead about halfway and it was easy from there."
Osborne surpassed Savatgy atop the Eastern Regional standings and now holds a slim two-point lead over his Kawasaki rival. Smith dropped to third, seven points out of the lead.
The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season continues next Saturday, March 4, with the championship's lone visit outside the U.S. The ninth round will commence from Canada's largest city of Toronto, inside the Rogers Centre. Broadcast coverage can be seen via tape delay on FS1 at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.
450SX Class Results
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
5. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
6. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
7. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha
8. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., Honda
9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki
10. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
450SX Class Championship Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM - 174
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki - 149
3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM - 147
4. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda - 138
5. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna - 121
6. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM - 98
7. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna - 84
8. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha - 83
9. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM - 83
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki - 76
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna
2. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM
3. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha
4. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki
5. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., KTM
6. Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha
7. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki
8. Fredrik Noren, West Farmington, Ohio, Honda
9. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Suzuki
10. RJ Hampshire, Brooksville, Fla., Honda
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna - 45
2. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki - 43
3. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., KTM - 38
4. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha - 31
5. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki - 30
6. RJ Hampshire, Brooksville, Fla., Honda - 29
7. Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha - 28
8. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Suzuki - 24
9. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM - 23
10. Fredrik Noren, West Farmington, Ohio, Honda - 21