Things Get Very Interesting For Title Contenders
By Brendan Lutes
Photos by Chris Kinman
Round 11 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series visited EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, this weekend. Keeping with the rest of the series, the racing action didn’t disappoint, and in fact could go down in history as one of the most unpredictable races ever.
In the Lites class, Geico Powersports/Honda’s Justin Barcia once again fought through the pain of a broken wrist to take his second win of the season, extending his points lead over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett who failed to qualify for the main event after going down in the first turn of the LCQ. Behind him, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson rode to a comfortable second, while last week’s winner DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes took third.
Perhaps the biggest upset of the night didn’t even happen in the Supercross class main event, as points leader Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto failed to qualify for the main after crashing hard in his heat race. He then went on to crash in the first turn of the LCQ and could only climb up to 10th before the end of the race. As it turned out, though, the main event proved to be nearly as exciting and jaw dropping, as San Manuel/Yamaha’s James Stewart crashed hard and was taken off the track on the Asterisk Medic Mule. After that, Honda’s Trey Canard went on to hold off intense advances from TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed to take his second win of the season.
The start of the Lites main event saw Geico Powersports/Honda’s Justin Barcia take the holeshot with teammate Blake Wharton close behind. After the first half lap, though, Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson began battling with Wharton, moving past him but quickly getting passed back by Wharton. One lap later, Wilson made the pass stick and began to set his sights on Barcia up front. Behind the top three, Sipes began to put pressure on Wharton for third with Kawasaki-mounted Matt Lemoine close behind in fifth.
Roughly four laps in, Sipes managed to work his way around Wharton for third, and on the same lap, Wharton then went down hard in whoops allowing Sipes some breathing room in third and moving Lemoine up to fourth.
At the halfway point of the race, Barcia’s lead was up to four seconds over Wilson in second with Sipes another two seconds back in third. Behind them, Lemoine held down a comfortable fourth. Even as lappers began to come into play, Barcia managed to hold onto his lead over Wilson, while Wilson did likewise over Sipes in third. From there, the running order remained the same until the checkered flag flew at the conclusion of 15 laps of racing. Barcia took his second win of the season with Wilson second and Sipes third; Lemoine and PJ Larsen completed the top-five.
“I had a really tough day today, and I just had to push really hard in the main event,” Barcia said following his win. “Those whoops were gnarly. I’m going to go home and build some big ass whoops to practice on.”
1. Justin Barcia (Hon)
|Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Series Point Standings (After 5 of 8 rounds)
1. Justin Barcia (116/2 wins)
2. Ryan Sipes (99/1 win)
3. Dean Wilson (97/1 win)
4. Blake Baggett (85/1 win)
5. Blake Wharton (69)
6. Matt Lemoine (69)
7. PJ Larsen (62)
8. Malcolm Stewart (53)
9. Jason Anderson (44)
10. Lance Vincent (43)