Chino, CA (February 27, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams topped the podium and pulled home solid results at round eight of the AMA/FIM Supercross Series at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, on Saturday night. The Honda Racing teams, Yoshimura Suzuki team and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team pulled out all the stops and put their Yoshimura products to work in order to dominate the Georgia Dome.
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia, who is also the defending Lites East Champion, made it two wins in a row in the the second round of the East Lites class, while teammate, Justin Bogle, finished third. Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton finished fifth and replacement rider Cole Seely finished in sixth place in the Supercross class in Atlanta.
Current Lites East points leader and defending Lites East Champion Barcia posted the second-quickest qualifying time of the night and finished second in his heat race. In the main, Barcia dominated the field aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF250R, grabbing the holeshot and never looking back.
"The night went really good for me," said Barcia. "I had good practices and a decent heat race, but I knew I could be up front in the main. The Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda CRF250R was running great and I felt awesome. I got the holeshot in the main and ran my own race. With two wins under my belt, I am ready to head into next weekend and make it a third."
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's newest rider Justin Bogle made his podium debut, finishing in third place in the Lites main. "The track was really good, a lot more technical than Arlington, which I think suits my riding style better," said Bogle. "I got a sixth-place start and was able to make some passes and capitalize on some mistakes. It was a great night and I'm excited for the rest of the season."
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Kevin Windham hit a milestone in his career with Atlanta marking his 200th Supercross start. Windham showed impressive speed with a fifth-place-overall qualifying time in practice, and a fourth-place finish in his heat. Unfortunately, a bad start in the main left Windham towards the back of the pack. He rode a noteworthy race, making his way up to eighth place.
"I knew as soon I came off the line I knew that it was going to be a long night," said Windham. "Although it left a lot to be desired out there I am really focused on my accomplishment of being able to stick around this long. With such a competitive Supercross class it is hard to go out there and get a podium when you are up against a bad start. I am happy and grateful for everyone who has helped get me to this 200th start."
It was a frustrating start to the day for Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk's Brayton, who is still recovering from his crash in San Diego. Brayton qualified eighth in practice but grabbed a sixth-place finish in his heat race. In the main, Brayton got a mid-pack start and battled the entire 20 laps, finishing a respectable fifth place.
Seely had a noteworthy ride aboard his Yoshimura-equipped CRF450R. After making a minor bike adjustment during practice, Seely was ready for the night. In the main he impressed everyone by grabbing the holeshot and leading the pack for the first seven laps. After falling back a few positions, he was still able to finish a solid sixth place.
"I felt confident with my performance going from the heat race into the main," said Seely. "In the main I got the holeshot and expected to see someone's front wheel within the first few laps but it didn't happen and I was able to lead for a while. I tried to hold a decent pace for as long as I could but I got a little tired and some of the other guys got by me. This race was good for me to see where I am in the Supercross class and it gives me more confidence going into next weekend."
Also in the Supercross class, Yoshimura Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe enjoyed a positive start to the weekend by capturing an impressive third-place finish in his eight-lap heat race. With an aggressive jump off the gate, he nailed the holeshot on his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and led for several laps before finishing third. In the 20-lap main event, Metcalfe got a good start and was running in seventh for several laps before eventually finishing ninth.
"I was looking forward to this race, but it was a tough day," said Metcalfe. "I didn't feel comfortable in practice, and it was a tough track for me. That was a bummer because it was a technical track and normally that's good for me. We had some positives, though; I got some good starts on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, but I just wasn't able to ride to my potential. I just need to go back and regroup for St. Louis. I haven't been to St. Louis for quite a while and I've never raced the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 there, so this is something new. Also, it's another round for me to improve, so I'm just going to keep working hard and try to make some progress in all areas."
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton was definitely the hero for the night in Supercross Lites. After getting a great start in his six-lap heat race, Wharton battled for the lead for most of the heat before a small mistake saw him finish fourth. In the main event, Wharton again got a good start and was running in a podium position for most of the 15-lap race before finishing fourth.
"I put myself in a pretty good position in the main," said Wharton. "I had some little problems, but everyone's going to have problems. In the heat race, I was doing well, but then I crashed. I've just got to go and work at it some more. I like St. Louis; I won there in 2009. That sure would be nice, to go there and throw down and take the win."
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt also turned in an impressive performance in Supercross Lites. Like Wharton, Hewitt had a good showing in his heat race, carding a fourth-place finish. In the main event, Hewitt put in a smart, consistent ride, coming from behind to bring home an eighth-place result.
"We made some big improvements in Atlanta," said Hewitt. "I wanted to set a goal and achieve it, and I did that. I got a 15th-place start in the main event, but I was able to work my way up to eighth place. This was an improvement and I'm excited to carry that momentum over to St. Louis."
All the Yoshimura-backed teams are looking forward to their next event, the ninth round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, March 3rd, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO. You can meet the Yoshimura Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki riders on Friday, March 2nd from 6 to 7 PM at Big St. Charles Motorsports, 3830 West Clay Street, St. Charles, MO 63301.
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