For Tomac, Saturday’s timed qualifying allowed the defending champion to get accustomed to the new Atlanta Motor Speedway track layout and the extended whoop sections. After getting a feel for the track during the first timed qualifying, Tomac went out for the second session looking to record some of his fastest laps of the day. The No. 1 looked much more comfortable on the red Georgia clay this time around and piloted his KX™450 machine to a 1:37.626 lap time, good for sixth fastest overall.
In the first 450SX heat race of the night, Tomac launched his KX450 out the gate in fourth place and sat comfortably throughout the opening laps. The defending 450SX champion used his position during the heat race to his advantage as he creatively searched for new lines developing before heading to the main event and ultimately finished in the same position.
As the gate dropped on the final 450SX Main Event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tomac found himself rounding the first corner in sixth place but quickly moved his way into fifth during the opening laps. The No. 1 machine continued to charge throughout the race, eventually taking over fourth position. Determined to put his Kawasaki on the podium, Tomac made a late-race push and with two laps left in the race, he secured a pass for a podium position. Tomac crossed the finish line jump in third and mathematically keeps his championship hopes alive going into Salt Lake City.
“I feel like I was riding a lot better in the main event than I was during the heat race or practice. This track layout had the longest whoops sections we’ve seen all year and it took me a while to get them dialed. Before the main event, I had the team make a last-minute change to the suspension and that slight change made a world of difference that showed in the main. I was cornering faster, skimming the whoops and able to make up time on the riders ahead. I’m satisfied with the podium today, but we’ll look to improve on this come next weekend.” – Eli TomacFor the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of McAdoo and Hammaker, Saturday’s qualifying presented some adversity. Mistakes by both riders in practice would see them hit the ground after posting their fastest lap times, but the duo managed to qualify as the third and seventh fastest riders overall, respectively.
Both Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders lined up for the 250SX Heat 2, where Hammaker shot out the gate in fourth, with McAdoo coming out two spots behind in sixth. The rookie sensation made the pass for third during the opening laps and opened up a comfortable gap from the riders behind, leading to a third-place finish. Still feeling battered and bruised from his crash in qualifying, McAdoo slipped back during the heat and crossed the checkered flag in seventh.
As the 250SX Main Event began, Hammaker again found himself in a top-5 position coming out of the first corner, however, chaos behind him caused the red flags to come out and forced another full restart of the main event for the second consecutive race. On the restart, the No. 150 KX™250 machine picked up right where he left off with another top-5 start, while his teammate McAdoo came around the first corner in sixth. Hammaker used his consistency all night to avoid trouble with other riders and made his way up to third to finish the night on the podium, his third of the season. Teammate McAdoo endured more adversity finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and unable to avoid contact with other riders. McAdoo found himself as far back as 17th at one point but determined to salvage as many championship points as possible, the No.31 continued to push and finished the race in 13th.
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Hammaker and McAdoo will have this weekend off while Jo Shimoda returns for Salt Lake City 1 and the East Region Championship before the final round, where both East and West 250SX class riders will compete to determine the championships. McAdoo currently sits third in the West Region championship points standings, 22 points behind the leader and Hammaker sits fourth.
“Man, it was absolute chaos out there tonight! I had a crash in practice that had me feeling a little banged up going into the main event. The track presented us with many challenges, but I’m glad I was able to end this three-race run in Atlanta on a high note and get myself another podium finish. We have a weekend off this next round, which will help me rest up and battle for a strong end to the season during the last round in Salt Lake City. I want to give a quick thank you to my entire team for always sticking by me and being a huge help.” – Seth Hammaker
“Today was a rough one. I came into the race still recovering from my crash on Tuesday and only made things harder with another get-off during qualifying that left me and my bike banged up. Crashing is never fun, but I accept it’s part of the sport. You can knock me down nine times and I’ll get back up 10. Overall, I’m proud of my entire team at Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki for getting my bike dialed to race and proud of myself for never giving up. We’ll regroup as a team during this short break and come ready to fight down to the last lap during the East/West shootout.” – Cameron McAdoo