The opening round of the 2009 East Coast Lites Regional Championship kicked off at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas this evening, while the premier Supercross class continued its red-hot early season.
Before the gates dropped in Reliant, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed had a three-point advantage over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Josh Grant. San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart, on the other hand, sat 12 points out of first place. Keeping things interesting was Geico Powesports Honda’s Kevin Windham, who finally rekindled his 2008 season last week at Anaheim 2 and found himself back on the podium. As we all know, anything can happen at Supercross; so while the Lites were about to start with a fresh slate, the premier class looked to continue its tight battle for title contention.
When the gates dropped for the first heat of 2009 East Coast Lites Series, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel snatched up the holeshot, but Tyler Wharton quickly swooped in for the lead. Geico Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe made short work of both Pourcel and Wharton to take the lead. Pourcel kept close to Metcalfe’s rear wheel, but Metcalfe maintained his lead. Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Nico Izzi and Division 7/Star Racing’s Darryn Durham put up a battle of their own for fourth, but Izzi came away with the position. Metcalfe held on for the win with Pourcel nipping at his heels. “I just wanted to come out here and ride as hard as I can.” Brett Metcalfe said later of his heat race win.
In the second heat, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe grabbed the holeshot, but Division 7/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Matt Lemoine put serious pressure on the Stroupe. Before a lap was in the books, Lemoine put a pass on Stroupe, but Stroupe quickly passed him back. Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM’s Martin Davalos settled into third while Lemoine and Stroupe continued their battled for first. Stroupe took the win with Lemoine in tow, while the Geico Powersports Honda rookie Blake Wharton finished a respectable fourth in his first-ever Supercross heat race. “I would love to win again. I was a bit nervous because I haven’t raced in a while. “ Stroupe said after his heat race.
LCQ Note: Steven Clarke and Hunter Hewitt snatched up the final two spots in the Last Chance Qualifier.
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