The ninth round of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, was held at the closest venue North Carolina rider Cooper Webb of the Red Bull KTM team would have to a home race, and he led the race from start to finish to the cheers of 59,107 southern fans. It wasn't an easy win as he had a near constant attack from Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin and Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS' Blake Baggett. The 250SX Regional Classes saw the first of two East/West Showdowns of the year, where riders from each series compete for the same points payout in one race. It was Western Regional 250SX Class riders taking the first two positions, with points leader Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo getting to the checkers first.
When the 450SX Class Main Event racers emerged from the first turn, it was points leader Cooper Webb emerging with the holeshot. Within a few turns there were three KTMs out front: Webb, Musquin, and Baggett. The rider who sat second in points, Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen, sat sixth behind Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's Aaron Plessinger. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac, who had a poor gate pick after an eighth place in his Heat Race, was back in thirteenth.
The action was tense at the front. Musquin put in a charge four minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race; Musquin gained a lot of ground in the whoops section and came in contact with Webb in the following corner. Neither rider went down, but the time it took for Musquin to regain balance and remount gave Webb about a second and a half of breathing room. Three minutes later the top three were bunched up again with each rider seeming to have a speed advantage in a different section of the track.
Just past the halfway mark, Musquin's front wheel went over the inside berm in the sand section and Baggett got by. Baggett put on a charge for the lead, but Webb remained composed on the soft track that was rutting up badly. By the last lap Cooper had what he'd have to call a comfortable lead for this battle - just 1.5 seconds. Behind him Musquin made a last lap charge for second but was unable to pass. The win stretched Webb's points lead to 13 over Ken Roczen.
After the race, Webb was asked if his line selections made the difference, "Yeah, it was all about lines. For me I had to ride a little defensive but also offensive. I knew there were a couple places they were catching me. I was searching, I was skimming, I was trying all kinds of stuff. I think I got a little tight in the middle but by the end I started finding my groove. I knew Blake was coming, he was strong in the whoops, I'm guessing. But this is incredible: I'm 23, and I came here every year since I was four years old watching [in] the old Old Georgia Dome, raced here on a KTM 50 in front of all these fans with the Junior Challenge and got sixth that night, and now I'm on top. It's pretty cool, [it] just shows, kids out there, don't give up, and follow your heart and follow your dreams. And I just can't even believe it, man. I have so many friends and family here from North Carolina and it's incredible."
Blake Baggett explained that not only passing but closing in on riders was tough on the Atlanta track, "I think it's the track conditions and the sand. It's tough when they put sand in a Supercross event, I'm definitely not for it. You can get a run up to him but then you're going through tear offs so fast you needed to hang back. And then once you've got dirty goggles it was tough to see, you know; you have to pull a tear off and you've got clear vision and you can make another run at it. But [I'm] a little disappointed that I came up that short to be feeling that good at the end of the night."
Musquin spent much of the race within one second of the lead, and was disappointed to end the night in third, "I got a great start but I wish I got the holeshot, it would have been maybe a different story. But I fought really hard trying to pass Cooper. I think the speed was really good, going through the whoops was good, I was definitely a little faster than him, but I just couldn't make the pass. Some sections I was definitely catching him, but then through the whoops you kind of had to follow the main line to jump [through the whoops], then in the sand you kind of had to follow. And eating sand the whole moto, man, I was pulling tear offs and stuff, I'm full of sand right now [in my gear]. Yeah, definitely frustrating, I'm definitely not happy with the end result. The riding was good but [I] definitely want more and I felt like I was maybe able to grab my first win [of the season] tonight. But made some mistakes through the sand and then Baggett was fast, too, and then I couldn't pass him back. It's tough to see that the riding was great, but very difficult to pass. But anyway, we fight really hard and we never give up, we keep going, so thanks to all my sponsors and we'll see you at Daytona."
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
4. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
6. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
7. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., Honda
8. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
9. Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki
10. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (199)
2. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (186)
3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (182)
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (177)
5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (142)
6. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (137)
7. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Suzuki (124)
8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (122)
9. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (120)
10. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., Honda (113)