Vital MX Pit Bits: Atlanta

The stadium is a tough act to follow, but Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is pretty cool in its own right.

Normally when we see Zane Merrett, expect to see long flowing hair out the back of his helmet.

Ah, that explains it. He did up something a little different for Atlanta. No word on how this affected the fit on his helmet.

Joey Crown had a good start to his season, but that ended (at least for a bit) when he crashed during a press day riding session and broke a collarbone. The fracture happened right at the end of an old plate, so they'll figure out what to do this week.

There were a whole fleet of Husqvarna EE-5 micro-replicas in the pits ready and waiting for Chad Reed's kids.

The entire crew was set to ride out with Chad for opening ceremonies, and they did practice it on Friday...but they were a little more stretched out when it was time to roll out.

Drain plug check. We're not sure what got into Martin Davalos on Friday, but he was throwing down some nasty whips over the tunnel jump.

Josh Hill was having some fun of his own. This jump reminded us of JS7 style from back in the day.

Fridays a good day to take care of maintenance on the rigs. The Alpinestars Mobile Medical semi got a new front shoe before heading down to Daytona next week.

Tyler Enticknap and Broc Glover having some fun doing commentary while walking the track on Saturday morning.

We weren't too sure how the split lane setup was going to work, since it looked like it'd be t-bone central in the corner before the wall jump leading into the sand section.

Ah yeah...the sand. We're sort of torn on setups like this.

After his big crash last week in Arlington, there were plenty of questions about how Cooper Webb would do in Atlanta. After a week of PT and doing all they could to minimize swelling, he rode a few laps during press day on Friday to get a feel for the track. He even kept the practice sessions short on Saturday. Oh, and that part of the crash where it looked like the rear fender got him? Nope, that was the end of the exhaust.

The start of the final practice session was a good sign that he was feeling frisky.

We liked the French-themed 104 butt patch that Malcolm Stewart sported this weekend to show support for Brian Moreau. Brian was a Seven-sponsored rider for several years before signing with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM squad.

The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM crew returned to action this weekend (they were MIA in Arlington after Brian Moreau's injury in Tampa). Pierce Brown's made his Pro Supercross debut in Atlanta, and the TLD guys have a new patch on the sleeves in support of Brian.

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The boss for the KTM and Husqvarna Racing efforts in the U.S., Roger DeCoster, has never been a particularly big fan of helmet-mounted action cameras. He made this mount for Pierce's bike, which is where the team's GoPros will be mounted from now on.

The same move was made for all the KJSR bikes, moving the GoPros from the top of the participant's helmets to their front fenders. Yes, you're detecting a trend.

Over at TPJ, Kevin Moranz has been switching up his helmet wraps pretty much weekly.

Dylan Merriam has a more permanent solution for his Alpinestars lid, with a very cool Tagger paint job.

Ronnie Stewart has a bit of a different program this year, with Yuasa Battery getting primary billing.

Tyler Bowers' bike. Looking good. After spending last year in the Back Yard of the Mercedes-Benz stadium (with privateers confined to a small tent area), it was nice to stretch out inside the World Congress building. Even if it did make for a hike for the people hoofing between the two. It was chilly in Atlanta this year.

How good are the bikes these days? It was interesting talking with Kyle's dad about how many components that he's tried, and has gone back to stock.

Kyle got almost zero preseason testing in on the blue beast, and has finally settle in on it over the last few weeks.

Here's the Allsouth Autosports squad, with (from left to right) Zane Merrett, Vann Martin, Team Owner Abby McCullough, Curren Thurman, and Nick Schmidt.

Vince Friese switched to these bar mounts a couple weeks ago. The red and black? That's just an extra layer of protection for the starter cable.

Malcolm Stewart's mechanic, Jason Montoya, enjoys a quick break while waiting for things to get started.

Six-wheel life. We ran into Fredrik Noren wheeling both himself and his daughter around. He's hoping to get the boot off soon. We also spotted Joey Savatgy in the pits, crutch-free, which was good to see.

The Pirelli crew had something new this weekend. This tire changing machine is purpose-built for motorcycle wheels, and is the same rig that they use on the MXGP side. There, they have two technicians who can change up to 300 tires a weekend.

They've also changed up their tire stickers, so that fans (and TV) can more quickly ID which tires are being used on the track.

We like details like the 51 on the front of Justin Barcia's helmet.

Ever wondered what the controls look like for the yellow and red light systems used on the track each weekend? Matt Mizer demonstrates.

Ricky Renner and Cedric Soubeyras are racing together this season under the Edgar Renner Motorsports / 2B Moraco / Munn Racing Husqvarna banner. The uniform is from Soub's European-based team, and Munn helps out with the bikes.

The Club MX bikes are looking good this season.

Austin Kent making a quick clamp offset change on Blake Baggett's bike.

Michael Lindsay and Jerry Robin wrestling to get his forks locked down. The SX stuff is so stiff it's a combo of teamwork, timing, and muscle to make it happen.

Big Benny Bloss on the move.

In 450 qualifying, Eli Tomac claimed the top spot.

Ken Roczen was just a hair over two-tenths behind Eli on their fast laps.

Justin Hill kept his momentum going with a third-fastest qualifying effort.

Jason Anderson brake slides up the wall leading into the sand on his way to the fourth-fastest 450 qualifying time.

Dean Wilson rounded out the top five in the 450s. Whoa, that's a lot of checkers.

Ready to blitz through the top five qualifiers in the 250s? Chase Sexton topped the time sheets, followed by...

...Shane McElrath in second...

...RJ Hampshire in third...

...Pierce Brown in fourth (and he set that lap in the B group practices)...

...and Garrett Marchbanks in fifth.

With an unusual late afternoon start time, the riders faced some different lighting conditions as the sun streamed in through the windows at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The fans seemed to give Cooper Webb a warmer-than-usual welcome during opening ceremonies, understanding what a hard hit he took last week, and what it took to be on the track this week. That was cool to see.


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