Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Nate Thrasher took a commanding first victory in the pro ranks of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tripleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Justin Cooper joined him on the podium in second to expand his points lead in the 250SX West Championship. Unfortunately for Jarrett Frye, the challenging conditions made for a tough day, and the rookie did not transfer to the Main Event.
Riders only got one practice session in after rain put a halt to qualifying. The weather improved in time for racing, but the track conditions were challenging. Thrasher fought his way back from 16th after a couple of crashes in his heat race but just missed the final transfer spot. In the LCQ, the rookie took over the lead early and never looked back. He lined back up for the Main Event and came out swinging, getting a great start and quickly moving into the lead once again. From there on, Thrasher built a gap on the competition and kept knocking down the laps to bring home his first 250SX win nearly 12 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Qualifying second, Cooper lined up for the first heat race of the day. The red-plate holder got a great start but shortly after had a big crash. He rejoined at the back of the field and fought his way back to second and was right on the heels of the race leader but ran out of time. Feeling less than 100%, Cooper had a decent start in the Main Event. Inside the top five, the New Yorker rode a smart race and quickly advanced to third. He gained another position after the runner-up went down with three laps remaining. Cooper’s second-place finish expands his championship lead to four points with four rounds remaining.
Nate Thrasher: “It feels amazing. We put a lot of hard work in, and it’s paying off. At the beginning of the off-season, we weren’t even thinking that we were going to race supercross, but we kept chugging away, and I started feeling really good, so we were like, ‘we might as well go racing.’ I’ve been getting better every weekend. I knew that if I got a good start, I could run with these guys, and I finally got one tonight.
“It was a crazy day. We only had seven laps for timed qualifying, and the track was totally different for the race. We weren’t even doing half the jumps earlier, so a lot changed. It was good that I adapted so quickly because most of the time, it’s tough for rookies to adapt to tracks. It was just my night and I felt really good. I lined up on the very inside and pulled a great start, made the pass for the lead, and just checked out from there. We’ve got another one on Tuesday, so we got to put our head down and try to do the same thing.”
Justin Cooper: “It was a bit of a tough day, going down in the heat race. I was pretty banged up from that, so I’m just happy we were able to regroup and get some points. Once the adrenaline wore off after that heat, it was pretty tough to get motivated to get back out there for the main. I’m feeling a little bit looser now, so I think by the time Tuesday comes around, we’ll be all set to go. All in all, it was a good day and we expanded our points lead, which is the main thing. I definitely like this venue so I’m looking forward to Tuesday.”