ATLANTA — Ryan Dungey became the third different rider to win five races inside the Georgia Dome as the legendary venue held its final Monster Energy AMA Supercross event Saturday night.
The arena, which will be destroyed and replaced this summer, hosted 60,074 for the inaugural MotoFest, The World’s Greatest Motocross Festival, as Dungey joined Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael with five victories each as the series visited the Georgia Dome for the 26th time.
The reigning 450 SX champion, 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 two. 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 three 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 seven and closed in on Seely just a couple laps later. Tomac successfully made the pass on the Honda rider on lap nine 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.
“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.”
Baggett captured his second career podium result in third.
Dungey moved out to a 25-point lead over Tomac, who moved into second, in the 450SX standings.