Chino, CA (March 6, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams dominated the podium at round nine of the AMA/FIM Supercross Series at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO, on Saturday night. The Honda Racing teams, Yoshimura Suzuki team and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team took full advantage of their Yoshimura products in order to dominate the competition in St. Louis.
Defending Lites East Champion, Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia, made it three wins in a row in the the third round of the East Lites class and will head into Daytona with an 18-point lead. In the main event, Barcia got the holeshot and never looked back. He quickly gapped the rest of the pack by several seconds, riding a solid 15 laps unchallenged.
"Tonight was great for me, I was able to ride smooth and smart, allowing me to basically check out," said Barcia. "I am so thankful to be up here and looking to continue this throughout the rest of the season."
Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Kevin Windham celebrated his 201st Supercross start this weekend in St. Louis with a noteworthy fourth-place finish. After laying down the third-quickest qualifying time and finishing fifth in his heat, Windham was confident heading into the main. A mid-pack start put a lot of riders in front of him, but Windham steadily worked his way up to a hard earned fourth.
It was a great night for Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton as he made his way to the Supercross podium with a third-place finish. After laying down the fifth-quickest qualifying time, Brayton got a great start in his heat and finished second. In the main, he put together his best ride of the season from start to finish. When the gate dropped he grabbed a third-place start and was able to make his way to second, where he rode for much of the race. Brayton was eventually passed, leaving him in third place where he would finish.
"This has been a long time coming," said Brayton. "I feel like I should have been up here a while ago but the crash in San Diego has prevented me practicing during the week. I felt great all day and I am excited to really build off this finish and get myself up where I know I belong. I had a lot of friends and family here, so I'm glad I was able to make it to the podium tonight."
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk's replacement rider Cole Seely had a consistent day, placing second in his heat race. Seely grabbed a mid-pack start in the main and was making his way towards the front when he went down going over the bridge on lap 16. Luckily, he was not hurt but he was unable to finish the race.
Also in the Supercross class, Australian Brett Metcalfe overcame some recent struggles to put in a steadfast ride on his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, which bodes well for the remainder of the 2012 season. Additionally, a record-breaking crowd of almost 60,000 was on hand to cheer on the Yoshimura Suzuki rider to his eighth-place finish.
This weekend's race started slowly for the Yoshimura Suzuki team. During the first two practice sessions, Metcalfe turned in some solid laps but, in the process, tweaked his leg along the way. Fortunately, he was still able to make some real progress with the Yoshimura Suzuki MR-Z450 before race time.
"This track suits me," said Metcalfe. "The dirt's really tacky and gets nice ruts, and it's tight and pretty technical. In the last practice, we made a change with the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, and I started to feel comfortable, and get a good flow and be at one with the bike. I really want to thank the Yoshimura Suzuki team for getting me that."
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton was the holeshot hero in his Supercross Lites heat race, jumping out front immediately and leading all six laps to take his first heat race win of the year. In the main event, Wharton was running in the top five right off the bat. Putting in an aggressive ride, Wharton worked his way into a podium position before race's end.
"It was a good night, I won my heat race," said Wharton. "In the main, I got an average start and actually came together with some guys. But I managed to get through it and make some passes on some guys and ended up third. I'm happy to be on the podium, but I'd like to be on the podium more consistently, and that's going to take better starts and good riding. Now, we go to Daytona and that's a tough track. But I got fourth there last year, and I'm looking to improve on that."
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt looked good in his heat race until getting tangled up with another rider and going down hard. But he rallied and went on to get the holeshot in the LCQ, lead all four laps and take the win to advance to the main. In the Supercross Lites main event, Hewitt got pushed wide at the start and went down. Coming from behind, the Rockstar Energy Racing rider picked his way through the field to finish 12th.
"St. Louis was rough," said Hewitt. "I had to go to the LCQ and won that. In the main, I got pushed outside on the first turn and went down. Then, I just tried to ride my race, and I feel like I pushed hard all the way through. We're off to Daytona next weekend and it will definitely be a better weekend for me. I'm going in there with a clear head and a refurbished body."
All the Yoshimura-backed teams are looking forward to their next event, the 10th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, March 10th, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
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