TROY LEE DESIGNS/RED BULL/GASGAS FACTORY RACING BACK ON THE GAS WITH AMA SUPERCROSS
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing team enjoyed a three-rider lineup at Saturday’s Atlanta Supercross as Justin Barcia was joined by 250SX teammate Pierce Brown and special guest rider Ryan Sipes at the world renown Atlanta Motor Speedway. With lots of anticipation surrounding the series’ return to racing after two-weeks off, the day wasn’t without its challenges thanks to the tenacious combo of rainfall and the slick Georgia clay. In the 450SX class, Barcia fought through the lingering effects of a gnarly heat race crash to salvage a top-10 on the night, while Brown and Sipes got a little extra seat time on their way to the 250SX Main Event.
Due to the rain all practice sessions were combined into one qualifier, giving riders less opportunities to master the all-new track but that didn’t stop Barcia from getting on the gas right away as he assumed the early lead in the heat race aboard his MC 450F. While out front, Barcia experienced a spectacle of a crash that took him down hard on the second lap. Despite taking a hit to the face, he got up and pushed through to salvage a seventh-place transfer into the main. Barcia received medical attention after the heat, including stitches in his lip, before heading to the line for the Main Event. He didn’t get off to a great start in the main but he rallied up to 12th by the halfway point and he held on to secure a top-10 finish for the night.
Barcia: “It was a tough day for sure. I felt good at the start of the heat race but unfortunately, I had a crash early on that roughed me up pretty good. Luckily, I was able to salvage a qualifying position and get my lip all stitched up before the main but I was definitely feeling the effects from the crash all night. We’ll try to use the next couple days to recover and get back at it on Tuesday.”
Team rider Pierce Brown returned to racing after missing the last three rounds due to a thumb injury. In 250SX Heat 2, Brown went down in the first turn and was forced to come through the pack early on. He battled as far up as 12th but it wasn’t enough to make the Main Event cutoff so he lined up in the LCQ for one last shot. He grabbed a fourth-place start aboard his MC 250F and quickly moved into third, where he carried a third-place transfer into the Main Event. With a far outside starting position, Brown found himself as far back as 17th on the opening lap and he shuffled positions the first few laps. He eventually worked his way up to ninth with two laps to go and he maintained through the checkers to score a top-10 finish in his first race back.
Brown: “The day ended up decent for how it started. In the main, I was too far outside and didn’t get the start I needed but I pushed the whole time and ended up ninth. I almost had eighth but I gave it everything I had and I can go to bed tonight happy knowing that I left everything on the track. We’re definitely looking to improve for the next two Atlanta's.”
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing team welcomed Ryan Sipes back to SX on Saturday as he piloted the MC 250F in the 250 class. Sipes put down a heater in the qualifying session to earn himself fourth overall heading into the day’s racing. He had some bad luck off the start of his heat race and he charged his way up from the back of the pack to just miss the Main Event transfer by one spot. In the LCQ, Sipes cued off his teammate Brown to finish fourth and ultimately secure the final gate in the big show. The “all-arounder” put in a solid ride throughout the Main Event to come away with 12th overall in only his second race of the season.
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing team will dive right back into racing on Tuesday, April 13 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.