Big E’s Race Report: Round 8, San Diego

Pre-Race Notes

The San Diego stop was missing some key riders who’d been injured in the last week. The big story is that Mike LaRocco didn’t race at San Diego. I ran into Mike in the pits and he told me that the results of his MRI are negative and even though his shoulder is okay from last weekend’s crashes, Iron Mike just didn’t want to take a chance of adding to the severity of the injury. He may be out for Minneapolis too, he told me he is going to take it one week at a time.

Another guy injured last week was LaRocco’s teammate Chris Gosselaar. Apparently, Craig Anderson landed on his left ankle. He will be out for at least three weeks. Speaking of Anderson, he will be out four about a month resting his spleen. Ando crashed while testing at the Yamaha track during the week.

Friday’s practice took its toll on KTM’s Josh Woods. The Michigan native landed on his head and thought it would be a good idea to take it easy for a week. Last week’s crash with a half a lap to go, injured Josh’s abdomen, and although it’s okay, he is still really sore.

On Friday the weather was calling for showers, but when Saturday rolled around, the weather could not have been any better. With temps in the low 70’s and not a cloud in the sky, it is going to be hard to deal with the weather in Minneapolis next weekend.

San Diego’s track had one of the longest start straights in recent memory. From the gate to the first turn was at least the length of a football field (100 yards). With so much straight, you would think that there would be some four-stroke holeshots…you’d think.

Heat Races

The first 125cc heat race saw Frenchman Pascal Leuret get a holeshot with Travis Preston, Steve Mertens and Danny Smith in tow. Pascal has ridden all the West Coast rounds, has improved his results nearly every week, but he’s heading back to France after San Diego. I saw Pascal right before this race replacing spokes in his bike. He has no mechanic…he was doing it himself.

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Back to the race, after lap two Travis Preston went by Leuret. Lap three, and Danny Smith goes by Leuret, as did Steve Mertens. Preston won it, followed by Smith, Hansen, and Mertens.

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The second 125 heat race had Sean Hamblin get his first holeshot of the year. Hamblin was followed by Short, Lacey and Stewart. Andrew Short could have drilled Hamblin on lap two, but didn’t. Then on lap two, Short passed Hamblin and Stewart and moved to third place. Lap three and Stewart passed both Short and Hamblin. It looked like something happened to Short’s bike, he pulled out of the race. Lap four and the race looked like it was going to play out like this: Stewart, Hamblin, Sorby, and Walker. That’s how it went down. Erick Sorby reportedly has a broken bone in his foot, and was riding extremely well for such an injury.

In the first 250cc heat race, Paul Carpenter got the holeshot on a Honda four-stroke! Paul was able to hold off Chad Reed for one full lap, but after that, the Australian took control. Following him was Heath Voss, Ernesto Fonseca and Ezra Lusk.

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On lap three Fonseca passed Voss, while Lusk got around Voss one lap later. Fonseca got around Carpenter. Lusk also tried to get around Carpenter later on the same lap, but it never happened. Where is the Ezra we saw in Phoenix? He doesn’t look like he came to San Diego. In this heat race I counted a good thirteen-second lead for Chad Reed over second place Fonseca. Simply amazing!

In the second 250cc heat race, Michael Byrne got the holeshot with Stephane Roncada and Ricky Carmichael following. Carmichael quickly got around Roncada and started to work on Mike Byrne. Vuillemin was hanging out in fourth place at this point in the race. Then RC finally got by Byrne on lap four. I think Roncada’s bikstalled and Vuillemin went by him. On lap six Vuillemin went by Byrne. Roncada was able to maintain fourth place to secure his spot in the main.

After pulling off in his heat race, Andrew Short went out and won his 125 LCQ. Props go out to Paul Lindsey and his crew at MotoworldRacing.com, who replaced the motor in Andrew’s bike in time for him to qualify for the main. “Something went bad inside the motor in his heat race,” said Lindsey.

Mach One’s Heath Voss and his teammate Nick Wey each won a 250cc semi of their own.

For the second weekend in a row, Casey Lytle won the 250cc LCQ.

The Mains

For the second week in a row, Tiger Lacey got the holeshot in the 125 main. Bubba Stewart quickly went by both Lacey and Sean Hamblin. After one lap it was Stewart, Hamblin, aand Danny Smith.

Travis Preston had moved into fifth place by lap two after another bad start. Lap three and Preston moved into fourth spot. By lap four, Preston had gotten around Smith and was set to pass Hamblin.

On lap five Preston passed Hamblin as Hambone doubled the triple. That got Danny Smith close enough to set up Hamblin for a pass.

Lap six and Smith did get by Hamblin. David Pingree pulled off on the same lap—possibly a flat tire. As the next five laps went down, Andrew Short and Matt Walker seemed to have a good battle going on for fifth place position.

Everyone stayed in the same running order for a while, but on lap 13 Hamblin got his second wind and wanted back by his teammate Smith. Unortunately, Hambone spun out on the first straight and remounted in sixth position! Too bad for Hamblin, as he went from challenging for third to sixth. That was going to be Hamy’s first podium in SX! Then Hamblin went off the track in the second whoop section. He’s lucky Sorby got weird or the he would have gotten by him too.

James Stewart went on to win the 125 main. By the way, Qualcomm is where James scored his first SX win ever just last year. After James whipped it, he pulled over to the side of the track tossed his bike down and began to sign autographs for the fans! I guess we can start calling him King James now.

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125cc Main—San Diego (West round 6)

  1. James “Bubba” Stewart (Kaw)
  2. Travis Preston (Hon)
  3. Danny Smith (Suz)
  4. Andrew Short (Suz)
  5. Matt Walker (Kaw)
  6. Sean Hamblin (Suz)
  7. Billy Laninovich (KTM)
  8. Eric Sorby (Kaw)
  9. Josh Hansen (Yam)
  10. Tyler Evans (Suz)
  11. Travis Elliot (Yam)
  12. Ryan Morias (Suz)
  13. Tommy Harrison (Suz)
  14. Tiger Lacey (Yam)
  15. Shane Bess (Suz)
  16. Troy Adams (Yam)
  17. Logan Darien (Yam)
  18. Akira Narita (Suz)
  19. Steve Mertens (Yam)
  20. Pascal Leuret (KTM)
  21. Edgardo Rojas (Yam)
  22. David Pingree (Suz)

The 250cc holeshot went to Mike Byrne for the second week in a row. Chad Reed got a great start right behind his fellow countrymen, but David Vuillemin got by both of them and started to hammer out a super quick pace. Carmichael was stuck back in fourth place at this point.

On lap two, both Reed and Carmichael passed Byrne. On lap three Reed was able to get by Vuillemin, and he quickly started to pull away from his teammate. Now Tim Ferry had moved into the forth place position. On lap four RC got by Vuillemin, but RC went down in the second set of whoops! It looked like his bike bucked him right off!

It was lap five, and only four riders passed Ricky as he remounted and started his charge all over again. RC got by Heath Voss almost immediately. Chad Reed now had a huge lead over Vuillemin. With RC going down, Tim Ferry moved into third place making it a potential Yamaha factory team podium.

Lap eight and Ricky is still in sixth place. Lap nine and RC almost lost it again. His back end almost came around on him. Lap ten and RC passed Nick Wey that put him in fifth place.

Lap 12 and once again Mike Byrne was trying to hold off the hard charging RC. Carmichael moved to fourth place on lap 13. Then, on lap 14, Tim Ferry went off the track in the second whoop section! Three riders got by Timmy, and one of them was Carmichael. Ferry had a sizeable lead and it was doubtful RC would have caught him. As the rest of the 250 main went down, it played out just like that. Chad Reed won by a huge margin, and now has momentum on his side.

One has to wonder if RC losing his long-time mechanic Chad Watts (Chad is suffering from numbness in his arms) has something to do with his results tonight. Ultimately, time will tell the story.

[IMAGE 5] REED

250cc Main—San Diego

  1. Chad Reed (Yam)
  2. David Vuillemin (Yam)
  3. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  4. Michael Byrne (Hon)
  5. Nick Wey (Yam)
  6. Tim Ferry (Yam)
  7. Heath Voss (Yam)
  8. Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  9. Paul Carpenter (Hon)
  10. Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  11. Larry Ward (Hon)
  12. Damon Huffman (Hon)
  13. Keith Johnson (Yam)
  14. Brock Sellards (Yam)
  15. Greg Schnell (Yam)
  16. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  17. Casey Lytle (Yam)
  18. Ryan Clark (Yam)
  19. Clark Stiles (Hon)
  20. Bobby Bonds (Hon)

Will Chad Watts be back to aid RC?

Will Chad Reed knock off another win in the Twin Cities?

Will the Le Cobra pull one off?

Will the Ezra Lusk we saw in Phoenix show up next week?

Tune in next week, as the series moves east to chilly Minneapolis, MN.

Talk to you then!

d RC almost lost it again. His back end almost came around on him. Lap ten and RC passed Nick Wey that put him in fifth place.

Lap 12 and once again Mike Byrne was trying to hold off the hard charging RC. Carmichael moved to fourth place on lap 13. Then, on lap 14, Tim Ferry went off the track in the second whoop section! Three riders got by Timmy, and one of them was Carmichael. Ferry had a sizeable lead and it was doubtful RC would have caught him. As the rest of the 250 main went down, it played out just like that. Chad Reed won by a huge margin, and now has momentum on his side.

One has to wonder if RC losing his long-time mechanic Chad Watts (Chad is suffering from numbness in his arms) has something to do with his results tonight. Ultimately, time will tell the story.

[IMAGE 5] REED

250cc Main—San Diego

  1. Chad Reed (Yam)
  2. David Vuillemin (Yam)
  3. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  4. Michael Byrne (Hon)
  5. Nick Wey (Yam)
  6. Tim Ferry (Yam)
  7. Heath Voss (Yam)
  8. Stephane Roncada (Suz)
  9. Paul Carpenter (Hon)
  10. Ezra Lusk (Kaw)
  11. Larry Ward (Hon)
  12. Damon Huffman (Hon)
  13. Keith Johnson (Yam)
  14. Brock Sellards (Yam)
  15. Greg Schnell (Yam)
  16. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  17. Casey Lytle (Yam)
  18. Ryan Clark (Yam)
  19. Clark Stiles (Hon)
  20. Bobby Bonds (Hon)

Will Chad Watts be back to aid RC?

Will Chad Reed knock off another win in the Twin Cities?

Will the Le Cobra pull one off?

Will the Ezra Lusk we saw in Phoenix show up next week?

Tune in next week, as the series moves east to chilly Minneapolis, MN.

Talk to you then!