SAN DIEGO, CA (February 13, 2012) – The Rockstar Energy Racing teams continue to raise the proverbial bar, and they all turned in significant performances at the sixth round of the AMA/FIM Supercross series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA, on Saturday night. In particular, the Star Valli Yamaha team pulled out all the stops, with Supercross Lites riders Gareth Swanepoel and Nico Izzi finishing in the top five. For all the Supercross Lites West Region riders, this round was their last until the penultimate Seattle event in April.
For Swanepoel, the San Diego race was a milestone. Up until this past weekend, Swanepoel had been struggling, but on Saturday night, he truly shined. The South African rider turned in perfect laps in his heat race to finish fifth, and then in the 15-lap Supercross Lites main event, Swanepoel was flawless and finished fourth.
"San Diego was a lot better for me," said Swanepoel. "My qualifying heat was good and I had some awesome starts, and then I just got stronger and stronger as the race went on. I got a little bit lucky that a couple of guys went down, but still, I'll take it. We have a long break now, and I'm going to work on motocross and get my fitness really strong. I also want to keep working on my Supercross riding and try to get some more top fives before the end of the year."
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Nico Izzi also came up with the goods in Supercross Lites at San Diego. Izzi conquered the particularly lengthy whoop section on the otherwise short San Diego track, and carded sixth in his heat race and fifth in the main event. Additionally, Izzi will race the Supercross class during the Supercross Lites East Coast rounds that start in Texas next week.
"San Diego was a little bit rough on me," said Izzi. "The whoops were gnarly – us short guys don't like the whoops so well, but I found a way to make it work. I got a good start in the main and wound up top five, so I can't complain. Top five last week, top five this weekend, I'm just going to try and keep it up and stay in the top five but I want to get on the box before the season is over. Now, I'm just looking forward to racing the Supercross class – I've got a lot of racing coming up."
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Ryan Sipes had an unfortunate practice crash the week prior and didn't race San Diego. Sipes suffered a broken bone in his left hand and torn ligaments in his left shoulder. Both will require surgery, however, Sipes expects to be back for the next West round in Seattle.
In the Supercross class, the Rockstar Energy athletes were on fire. Brett Metcalfe and Nick Wey both celebrated their best results of the season. Metcalfe carded a third-place finish in his heat race, got the holeshot in the main event and then notched an impressive fourth-place result.
"It was a good night," said Metcalfe. "I was still a little bit off in practice but in the heat races and the main, I came through. I got good starts tonight, which helped out, and I was able to ride strong. I qualified third in the heat race and got a good gate pick, so I got where I wanted to be, and ripped the holeshot. That was my first holeshot of the year, so I'm really pumped with that. I rode solid, and I rode as hard as I could and we got a fourth. Dallas is next weekend, and I'm looking forward to that. It's always a really tough, technical track so I'm looking forward to keeping the momentum going."
Wey, meanwhile, also lifted his game, finishing eighth in his heat race and capturing a coveted top-10 result. Like with Metcalfe, this result in the Supercross main was a personal best for Wey so far this season.
"The San Diego Supercross went pretty well for me," said Wey. "I was able to overcome so-so starts and pass a bunch of guys in both my heat and the main, where I got 10th. This was my best finish of the season, but I'm still going to work on a few things this week and try to improve overall. I'm thankful to everyone behind me and I'll just try to keep improving from here."
Also in the Supercross class, Star Valli Yamaha rider Austin Stroupe returned to racing after missing several rounds due to injury. In his heat race, Stroupe was running in a transfer position when he stalled out in the whoop section and ended up finishing 12th. After the race, he began feeling ill and the team decided he should retire for the evening. Replacement rider Bobby Kiniry is still sitting in for injured Ryan Morais, and Kiniry carded a second-place finish in the LCQ and finished 14th in the Supercross main.
For Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki, Martin Davalos and Jason Anderson both gave 100 percent but were plagued by plain, old-fashioned bad luck. After finishing fourth in his heat race, Anderson was ready for the main but went down on the first lap and never truly recovered; he finished 17th. Rockstar teammate Davalos also made the main and was running in the top 10 for most of the race before a crash toward the end saw him finish 15th.
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the seventh round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, February 18th, at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX.
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