CHINO, CA (April 17, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams had reason to celebrate at the 14th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA, on Saturday night. The Honda Racing, Yoshimura Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki teams used the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products to take over the "Big Easy".
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia had a solid night of racing as he settled for fourth in the Lites main event, his first finish off the podium this season, to guarantee back-to-back Lites East Championships. Barcia had a strong season aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF250R, winning five of eight rounds on his way to securing the championship in New Orleans. Teammate Justin Bogle made a late charge to the front in the Big Easy Lites main event to tie his career-best finish of third.
"Tonight is mind blowing," said Barcia, who compiled a 1.4 finishing average in eight races this season. "To win two championships feels amazing. It was a tough season at times, but it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get here. I couldn’t have done it without everyone on my team. This is an awesome feeling."
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton rode a strong race in the Supercross class finishing on the box with a third which puts him a solid third place in championship points and just 5 points out of second. Teammate Wil Hahn scored a top-ten result with a ninth-place finish.
Also in the Supercross class, Yoshimura Suzuki Racing's Brett Metcalfe turned in a stellar performance in the Big Easy on Saturday night, piloting his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 to a very respectable fourth-place finish. This finish marks Metcalfe's fourth top-five result of the 2012 season.
"It was nice to have a weekend off and come back with a fresh start," said Metcalfe. "I wanted to come and try to do some good today, and I felt like we did. The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was great in practice and I felt comfortable. We struggled in one segment, but I was really putting down good laps on the rest of the track and I was happy with the way I was riding. In the heat race, we ripped the holeshot, but then I went back a couple of spots when I made a mistake in the sand. But I still got third and was able to get a good gate pick for the main."
In the main event, Metcalfe got an excellent start on his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and maneuvered through the sea of ricocheting riders relatively unscathed. He made an effort to turn smooth, consistent laps and looked for ways to find more speed throughout all 20 laps. In the end, Metcalfe finished up the race in an impressive fourth.
"I got another great start in the main," said Metcalfe. "But that first lap, I was like a ping pong ball. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I got slammed around and dropped back a few places. But once I got going and into a rhythm, I was able to click off some good laps. Finally, about midway through the race, I finally found a better line in the segment I was struggling with, and I was able to pick it up and I got back up to fourth. I'm looking forward to Seattle. We'll be working hard this week and come out next weekend and keep this momentum going."
In the Lites class, Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton, Wharton was on the gas in his heat race, getting a great start and finishing second. But in the main, Wharton struggled, crashing on lap one and starting from last place. Despite this, Wharton still managed to finish 14th. Teammate Hunter Hewitt returned from injury and put in a valiant effort, but went down in his heat race and ultimately did not make the main event.
The next stop of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship for the Yoshimura-backed teams is the 15th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, April 21st, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA. You can meet the Yoshimura-backed Suzuki riders on Friday, April 20th from 6 to 7 PM at Hinshaw's Motorcycle store, 1611 West Valley Highway South, Auburn, WA.
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