San Francisco, CA — The weather forecast called for rain, and rain came. As the riders gathered their protective gear and tried to shield themselves from the showers, so did the fans at the nearly sold out San Francisco venue.
The crowd stood on their feet and pumped their fists in the air as the anthem was sung and the fireworks exploded marking the start of the fourth round of the highly anticipated Supercross Series.
MDK KTM Lites Team riders Justin Brayton and Billy Laninovich received warm cheers from the crowd as they lined the gates first for Heat #1 of the Lites class. Brayton got a great jump and rounded the first turn in fourth, his teammate was not as fortunate and started second from the end needing to pass half the pack to qualify. Brayton rode a solid heat race managing to qualify easily into the main. Laninovich, with an almost last place start, put his head down and picked off riders one by one through the end of the heat. His mission was tough and he came up just short of a direct transfer to the main and would now have to qualify from the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).
Meanwhile, MDK KTM Factory rider Nick Wey lined up for Supercross Heat #2. Wey had a 10th placed start off the gate and managed to move quickly into a qualifying position. He rode consistent and smooth and stayed in a qualifying position throughout the heat moving his KTM on to the roster for the main event.
In the Lites LCQ, Laninovich pulled a huge holeshot and led the pack around the first turn. He went over the triple and came around the next turn when disaster struck. He slid out and was hit by a couple riders. One rider directly ran over his bike breaking his throttle cable, and thus, putting a short end to what would have possibly been an incredible night for the Lites rider with one of the fastest qualifying practice times.
All-American KTM rider, Ryan Beat, on the #131 machine came up one spot short of qualifying to the main event which earned him the $250 Asterisk Medic Card. On the podium Beat thanked his sponsors and also mentioned, “This is only my second week on the KTM, and look how closely I came to qualifying. I think that speaks a lot for the bike and the company.
A quick break for track maintenance and the action was back on. The board turned sideways and the Lites riders were off! Brayton tried desperately to pull to the front of the pack but got pushed back as he tried to shy away from riders that had fallen in the first turn. When Brayton came over the first rhythm section he was in 19th. He quickly picked off four riders on the first lap and moved into 15th. Another turn, and he passed for 14th charging closer to the top ten. As he was moving in on 13th he got cross-rutted and tipped over. This crash put him back in 19th. He immediately remounted and began to catch and pass riders again. Due to the heavy rain, the race was reduced to a mere 10 laps. In the few laps after his crash, Brayton was able to salvage some points by passing six riders moving him into 13th for the night.
The rain seemed to be waiting for the Supercross main. Just as the riders took off from the gate, the rain picked up and began to pour on the already soaked crowd and track. Wey had a mid-pack start coming around 11th on the first lap. He quickly moved into the top ten and began to close in on the pack ahead. Riders were crashing everywhere and Wey was cautiously avoiding them as he continued to pick up speed. It seemed the more the rain fell, the faster Wey got! Throughout the shortened 15 lap main, Wey battled with Grant Langston, Eric Sorby, Heath Voss, Tim Ferry and Ivan Tedesco. It was Tedesco that would give him the greatest battle of all. On the last lap Wey had caught Tedesco who was currently running in 6th and began to inch closer trying to get a wheel on him in every turn. On the second to last corner Wey was half a bike length away. It was here, that Wey picked it up a notch and came side by side with Tedesco down the straight. With one turn to go before the checkers Wey came up on Tedesco but came just inches short of making the pass as they crossed the finish line. Although Wey finished 7th for the night, he showed his aggression is back and he will be “Ready to Race with the leaders as the team heads back to Anaheim for Round 3.