Saturday night marked the beginning of a new championship as Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki travelled east to Atlanta, GA for Round 1 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and FIM Championship East Coast 250SX Series.
Tyler Bowers and Arnaud Tonus made their return in Heat 1, with Bowers getting off to a great start on his KX250F in the top three with team-mate Tonus in tow. Bowers rode strong and made an early pass to qualify second while team-mate Tonus would take a dominating win in the LCQ.
At the start of the Main Event, Bowers would position himself in fourth and quickly begin putting pressure on third place. Within a few laps, Bowers would capitalise on a mistake and take over third place, but when the halfway flag flew he began to make mistakes himself and quickly began slipping back into the field.
After 15 long laps he would cross the line eighth place, while team-mate Tonus would struggle all night on the red Atlanta clay, coming home with a 19th place finish.
“The heat didn’t go how I wanted but I took the win in the Last Chance Qualifier,” said Tonus. “In the main I climbed up to 10th but made a mistake and finished 19th. It felt really good to get back into competition and begin working towards our goal.”
On Sunday evening Bowers released a heart-felt statement about his performance in Atlanta. “Last night was well… about as embarrassing as it gets!
“First off I would like to apologise for my performance. I feel like I disappointed so many fans that I didn’t even realise I had cheering for me.
“Over the last year I really felt like the world has been against me, and it felt really good to see so much support on the east coast! Yet it felt horrible to feel like I let so many down.
“It has been a year since I have seen a gate drop, and as uncomfortable as I felt all day yesterday, it was still amazing to be back! With so much time completely sidelined from training, and the two months I’ve had to prepare, I knew I was coming in a little behind the ball. However, my day and result wasn’t what I expected and much less than what I had hoped for.
I rode tight all day. With every muscle in my body engaged like I was trying to pull the handlebars off, the arm-pump really kicked my butt!
“I’m disappointed, but I’m healthy and it could be a much worse start to the season! As long as I keep it off the ground, I think that’s about as bad as its gonna get from now on! Heck…at least we looked good!
Time to loosen up and get back in the race!”