Chino, CA (February 21, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams overcame adversity to score solid results at the seventh round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship Series in Arlington, TX on Saturday. The Honda Racing teams, Yoshimura Suzuki team and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team used their Yoshimura products to the fullest to come out on top at Cowboy Stadium.
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, who is also the defending Lites East Champion, started his season strong by winning the main. His teammate Kevin Windham and Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton rode noteworthy races, finishing in the top ten.
Barcia started his 2012 season exactly where he left off last year—on top of the podium. After setting the quickest lap time in qualifying, Barcia rode a solid heat race finishing in first place. In the main he nabbed a fourth place start and quickly began charging to the front of the pack. On lap eight Barcia made the pass for first and quickly pulled away from the rest of the field to take his first win of the season.
“The night started okay. I got a bad start in the heat race but was still able to take the win,” said Barcia. “I turned it around in the main, got a pretty good start and made some strong passes. I ended up getting the lead and was able to pull a nice gap. This is a great way to start off the season and I am excited to head to Atlanta.”
For a second week in a row Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham had an upsetting end to his night. After qualifying fifth quickest during the day, he finished third in his heat. During the main he rode in fifth the majority of the race until making a few mistakes and dropping to seventh place.
“The Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda was running incredible and things were going great almost all day,” said Windham. “I don’t know what happened but with three to four laps to go I made some major mistakes causing me to get passed a few times. I don’t want to dwell on it too much since the majority of the day went well but I just need to focus on finishing the last five laps strong. I’m excited for Atlanta which will be my 200th start and am hoping to turn things around and make it on the podium.”
After spending most of the week recovering from his crash in San Diego, Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton put together a respectable ride aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF450R. He finished a solid fifth in his heat race. In the main, Brayton grabbed a mid-pack start and had a close call on the first lap when another rider landed on his right side. Despite damage to his exhaust, Brayton spent the remaining 20 laps battling his way up a ninth-place finish.
“The night went okay since I came into this round not even knowing if I was going to be able to ride. I did a lot of therapy this week but wasn’t able to get on the bike,” said Brayton. “In the main I got landed on in the first lap. The right side of my body and my muffler were pretty messed up. I am happy to be going home safe and have another week for rehab. I think I’ll be able to go to Atlanta more on point like I was before my crash in San Diego.”
Also in the Supercross class, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe suffered a fairly nasty crash in practice but rallied to finish fourth in his heat race aboard his Yoshimura-prepared Suzuki RM-Z450. In the 20-lap main, Metcalfe got a bad start that put him near the back of the field. Trying to make his way through, he collided with another rider coming off the triple. No one was injured, though Metcalfe’s shifter was damaged and stuck in second gear. Metcalfe still managed to pull-off an eighth-place finish.
“I was feeling pretty good coming into Dallas,” said Metcalfe. “We had some positive practice sessions, but then I crashed in practice and that kind of beat me up a bit. I’m still a little bit sore from that. In the main, I hit the triple and I nearly landed on somebody, which shook me up a bit. Then, I realized that my shifter had gotten bent so I was stuck in second gear. Luckily, this was the kind of track where you could get away with using one gear for the whole lap, so it wasn’t so bad for me. After that, I backed it down because I just wanted to finish the race. Now I’m just looking forward to Atlanta. I think everyone loves to go to Atlanta, because the dirt’s really good and the track’s always fun.”
Starting the East Coast rounds with a bang was Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Blake Wharton, who made it to the Supercross Lites main event after finishing fourth in his heat race. Although Wharton had a get-off in the 15-lap main, he recovered and brought home a solid fourth-place result.
“It was an interesting night,” said Wharton. “I would have liked to be on the podium, that’s certainly how you want to start out your season, but I felt like I had some good things going on. Ultimately, I have some things to work on, but the bikes were great and my starts were on point. Now, I’m definitely looking forward to Atlanta. I’ve raced there twice and I’ve done well. I like the track and it’s another place to make a statement. Every round is an opportunity, and I just have to keep pushing for it. I think I’ll be there in the end.”
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt picked up the final transfer spot in his heat race, thanks to a ninth-place result. In the main, he struggled a little, but still put in a determined ride and finished 12th.
“This was one of those days where I never really got into my groove,” said Hewitt. “I worked really hard in the off-season so it was pretty frustrating, but the Rockstar Energy Racing team really helped keep me upbeat. We got through the heat race and into the main, and I just tried to ride my own race. We’re going to Atlanta next, and I think it’ll be a good race for us.”
All the Yoshimura-backed teams are looking forward to their next event, the eighth round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, February 25th, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. You can meet the Yoshimura Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki riders on Friday, February 24th from 6 to 7 PM at Mountain Motorsports, 899 Iris Drive S.E., Conyers, GA.
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