Can Justin Barcia Put Together the Perfect Season?
By Jordan Powell
Four rounds into the Monster Energy AMA Supercross East Coast Lites series, Geico Honda's Justin Barcia is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. His raw speed combined with his aggressive riding style has translated into four straight wins in this nine round series. The question is, are there any riders in the Lites class that can stop him? Blake Wharton, Ken Roczen, Darryn Durham, and Blake Baggett have all finished runner up to the 2011 East Coast Lites Champion, but none of them have been able to overtake him. With 49 out of 57 laps led in the series, Barcia has taken on each race with the mindset of a champion: get out front, check out, and win. With five races left, can he put together the perfect season, or will he be knocked off the throne?
The first round of the series always has a lot of hype put on it, but for Barica, a huge target was placed on his back as he carried the red number one plate into Dallas, Texas. A third place start in the 15-lap main put him just behind Darryn Durham and teammate Justin Bogle, but it wasn't long before Bam Bam started to pick the riders off one by one. Eventually, Barcia hopped into the lead, and gapped Durham by five seconds when he crossed the finish.
With 25 points and a win under his belt, the momentum was starting to build for Barcia, and the steam engine that carried his confidence was starting to propel him forward. However, a second place finish in his heat race resulted with a fourth place gate pick. Once the gates dropped in the main, he went on to lead all 15 laps.
St. Louis Supercross
Headed into the third round of the East Coast Lites series, Barcia now controlled the series with two wins. Going into the main, Barcia had qualified second to Rockstar Suzuki's Blake Wharton. Once the race was underway, Barcia found himself side by side with Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen. It was a battle that many were waiting to see, but sickness had rendered the young KTM rider from riding to his full potential, and Barcia went on to win the main event in the Edward Jones Dome by eight seconds.
Up until 10th round in Monster AMA Supercross Series, we have not seen an actual mudder. Light rains dampened some of the West Coast rounds, but it was not until Daytona where we saw rivers and lakes running through the track. In the past, mud races have turned a points chase completely upside down as mechanical failures, crashes, and so on have resulted with DNFs. So, it was obvious why many fans had their eyes on the number one Geico Honda. Once the shortened main event was underway in Daytona, Wharton grabbed the holeshot but Barcia took control of the lead headed into the first turn. A couple of laps later, the Geico Honda rider started to get some company from Blake Baggett, but a wash out front the Kawasaki rider gave Barcia some extra breathing room. On the final lap, Justin once again had some company from Baggett, but he took the victory by two and a half seconds.
Now with a 24-point lead on Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Darryn Durham, will any of the East Coast Lites riders be able to knock Justin Barcia off the throne, or will the Geico Honda rider have a perfect season?
Justin Barcia's Season Statistics:
Season Points: 100
Race Wins: 4
Laps Led: 49 out of 57
Main Event Holeshots: 2