Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb bounced back into racing action on Saturday, finishing just off the 450SX podium at Round 14 of the AMA Supercross Championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. With a fighting fourth in the Main Event, the defending 450SX Champion made positive headway in his season-long quest for the centre of the podium in 2022.
After being sidelined due to injury last weekend, Webb was eager to return to racing in Atlanta. Mother nature made it interesting for the daytime race as heavy rainfall came down in the early morning hours, but track conditions came together by the time bikes hit the track.
Despite a condensed practice format of one session per class, Webb made the most of it with a seventh-place qualifying position, and he was ready to race as the gate dropped for 450SX Heat 2. Powering his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION into the lead on the opening lap, he diced back and forth upfront before settling into second for the remainder of the race.
Webb grabbed a top-five start in the Main Event and quickly moved into fourth for the first two laps. With longer lap times on the “speedway style” track, Webb got into his groove early on, and he put himself in a position to capitalize on mistakes from the front-runners.
Overtaking second on lap five, he kept a strong pace on the leader just past the halfway point before fending off pressure from series points leader Eli Tomac upfront. The two riders battled it out for a second, allowing Chase Sexton to catch up, and Webb finally gave way with five laps.
Sexton got around Webb a couple of laps later, and he fought to the finish, securing a hard-fought fourth.
Cooper Webb: “It was a crazy race – a good battle for the lead, and we were all going for it. I had a couple of crashes, but it felt good to be back in the mix. I missed last week and have just been struggling all season, but it felt great to get back in it. Haven’t gone that speed since last year, so I’m pretty happy. Had to give it up to the team, I had a big crash last week, and they came down to Florida, and we figured some stuff out. We’ll keep going for podiums and hopefully get the first win of the season – there are three races left, and we’ll see what happens!”
The day proved to be more challenging for Marvin Musquin, last week’s St. Louis 450SX overall winner. The Frenchmen scored a top-three position in qualifying, where he joined his teammate Webb in the second 450SX heat. With a top-five start, Musquin powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION into third on the second lap, and he went head-to-head with Malcolm Stewart later in the race to ultimately secure a fourth-place transfer into the Main Event.
Musquin put himself into a great position off the start in the main, but he lost it with a crash coming out of the tunnel on lap one. Re-mounting in dead last, Musquin had his work cut out as he charged through the field and into top-10 contention halfway through. A couple of mistakes in the second half of racing slowed his momentum, and he ultimately finished 10th for the day.
Marvin Musquin: “It was just a weird day, I was a little off physically, and unfortunately, it showed on the riding. I was ready to go for the main – I didn’t get a good jump, but my position off the start allowed me to push it wide, and I had an okay start, but going into the end of the tunnel, I caught that bank/edge with my rear wheel, and it kicked me, and I did a 180 [degree turn].
My right-hand glove came off in the crash, and my bike was twisted a bit, but it took me a couple of turns to get used to it, and I came back to 10th. I’m a little disappointed, but that’s all I could get today.”
Both 250SX divisions came together for the first time this season for the East/West Showdown, making for a deep field of riders in the class’ only qualifying opportunity. Unfortunately, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s youngest member, Max Vohland, missed the qualification mark by just one spot, so he couldn’t line up for the East/West Showdown.
Next Race: April 23 – Foxborough, Massachusetts
Results 450SX Class – Atlanta SX
- 1. Jason Anderson (USA), Kawasaki, 15 laps
- 2. Eli Tomac (USA), Yamaha, +02.370
- 3. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, +04.125
- 4. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, +06.643
- 10. Marvin Musquin (FRA), KTM
- 11. Fredrik Noren (SWE), KTM
- 13. Benny Bloss (USA), KTM
- 17. Henry Miller (USA), KTM
- 18. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM
Standings 450SX Class 2022 after 14 of 17 rounds
- 1. Eli Tomac, 325 points
- 2. Jason Anderson, 272
- 3. Justin Barcia, 257
- 5. Marvin Musquin, 245
- 7. Cooper Webb, 227
- 13. Shane McElrath, 101
- 15. Aaron Plessinger, 97
Results 250SX East/West Showdown – Atlanta SX
- 1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 12 laps
- 2. Christian Craig (USA), Yamaha, +04.055
- 3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, +08.069
- 21. Ramyller Alves (USA), KTM
via KTM Press