By Steve Matthes
Photos by Donn Maeda
The Monster Energy Supercross series rolled into Quest Field in Seattle, Washington with one championship settled and one left that was going down to the wire. Of course we know that Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey clinched the 450 crown last weekend when his main rival, Ryan Villopoto, went out with an injury. But there was still the 250 west coast title to settle, as Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer held a 14-point lead over GEICO Honda’s Trey Canard.
As per usual this time of year in Seattle, the rains came and turned the track a bit sloppy. The practice schedule was pushed back and cut back to let the track dry out. When the riders finally did practice, it was predictably rutty and treacherous and when you combine that with the normal Supercross jumps, it added up to one of more challenging tracks of the year.
SUPERCROSS LITES QUALIFYING
SUPERCROSS LITES HEAT ONE
The first heat jumped out and right away a Monster Energy Pro Circuit was in the lead and the rider was Josh Hansen. Right behind him was Lucas Oil/TLD Honda’s Wil Hahn and Trey Canard. Hahn made a move on Hansen early and jetted into the lead only to have Hansen pull the same move to get back out front. Meanwhile in the back, KTM’s newest recruit, Phil Nicoletti was coming up from an early spill.
Hahn and Hanny slowed each down with a series of moves that allowed Canard to slip right by both of them before the whoops and into the lead. From there, the #38 Honda slowly pulled away until a mistake in the ruts allowed Hansen to pull close. Josh couldn’t find a way to make the pass however and Canard showed that he’s ready to race by winning heat one. Hahn was third, Rockstar Suzuki’s Ryan Morais was fourth and Hahn’s teammate, Cole Seely, rode a lonely race to get fifth.
SUPERCROSS LITES HEAT TWO
Twenty bikes roared into the first turn and about half the pack went down in spectacular fashion. The riders included that were down include Pro Circuit’s Jake Weimer and DNA Shredstix Yamaha’s Broc Tickle. Out front Tickle’s teammate Max Anstie was recovered from his nasty Anaheim 3 injury and was checking out. Weimer’s troubles would continue as he stalled his bike on the first lap and struggled to start his bike. Once he got going, Weimer was dead last and had his work cut out for him.
Anstie went wire to wire for the win while in the back, Weimer and Rockstar Suzuki’s Hunter Hewitt battled for the last qualifying spot. Hewitt went off the track right before the finish line which allowed Jake to get the ninth and final qualifying spot on the last lap. One rider who had bad luck was BTOSports.com/BBMX rider Bobby Kiniry who couldn’t make it into the top nine from his first turn crash and would be forced to go to the LCQ.
SUPERCROSS LITES LCQ
Rockstar Suzuki’s Hunter Hewitt grabbed the start with Eric McCrummen right behind him. Those two riders swapped positions a few times before McCrummen stalled it on the last lap with only three turns to go. This mistake allowed Bobby Kiniry to grab the last spot into the main event.
SUPERCROSS LITES MAIN EVENT
The GEICO Honda duo of Trey Canard and Blake Wharton came roaring into the first turn together with Canard inching ahead for the lead. It was disaster in the second turn as Canard went down with a few other riders and his work was cut out for him. Out front it was Wharton followed by DNA ShredStix’s Broc Tickle. The series points leader Jake Weimer struggled with his start and then fell on the first lap. So we were set up for an exciting race for the two championship contenders.
Out front it was Tickle jamming his way by Wharton on the inside and taking his first lead of his career in a main event. The rider on the move was Monster Pro Circuit’s Josh Hansen as he quickly moved from about fifth to third on the third lap. Hansen recorded the fastest time of the night in the process. So it was Tickle stretching out his lead on the Seattle track that was getting more dangerous by the lap.
Back behind the top three was Trey Canard working his way up from dead last (as was your heat race winner Max Anstie who went down in the Canard crash) and Weimer was mid-pack, trying desperately to make it up front. The two riders (Weimer and Canard) were slicing through the traffic before Trey had another bobble to set him back a bit. Hansen was holding a comfortable third place until a tip-over in a turn allowed Wharton and Weimer to slip by. When the two riders turned left onto the start straight, Weimer slipped underneath Wharton to get third and pulled away from there.
Out front it was Broc Tickle with an almost flawless ride which is saying something considering the condition of the track. There were plenty of riders paddling around trying to stay upright but Tickle put on a clinic in capturing his first ever 250 Supercross win.
After Tickle it was Hahn (who moved into second in the series with Canards bad night), then Weimer getting the last podium spot in a gutsy ride. Wharton was fourth and Ryan Morais was a consistent racer to get fifth.