Chino, CA (March 13, 2012) – Yoshimura-backed teams tackled the tough conditions at round ten of the AMA/FIM Supercross Series at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL, on Saturday night. The Honda Racing teams, Yoshimura Suzuki team and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki team took on the extreme weather and track conditions and used the reliability and performance advantage of their Yoshimura products in order to once again dominate the competition in Daytona.
The Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda team had an impressive showing in Daytona with both Justin Barcia and Kevin Windham making podium appearances. Barcia grabbed the holeshot in the Lites main event and lead all the way to the checkered flag. This marks his fourth consecutive win of the season, giving him a 24-point lead.
"To win here at Daytona, a race sponsored by Honda, is an incredible feeling. I have been on Honda from day one so it is awesome to be able to put my Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda on the podium," said Barcia. "I really had to work hard for this win and the track was very demanding. This is going to be the toughest race of the season and I am definitely excited to come out on top again."
It was a noteworthy night for Yoshimura-backed GEICO Honda's Kevin Windham in the Supercross class, who nabbed his best finish of the season in some of the worst conditions. He won this race in similar conditions in 2008, and this year managed to finish third.
"I have been working really hard to get up on the podium this season and I am excited to finally be here at such a special race," said Windham. "The track was tough but I was in my element so I just made sure to stay consistent and not make any mistakes. The Yoshimura-equipped GEICO Honda was running awesome so I am ready to keep this momentum going into the rest of the season."
Yoshimura-backed Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton and Cole Seely had a tough night as they both got covered in mud off the start, and that's all it took to let the leaders get away. Despite several crashes, both riders finished the race – Brayton in 16th and Seely in 17th. Just surviving to finish this race and salvage points was an accomplishment.
Also in the Supercross class, Yoshimura Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe weathered the storm and raced his Suzuki RM-Z450 to a solid 10th place. Although race day started out relatively dry, the bad weather was literally looming on the horizon. As a result, the riders had to make do with less practice time and abbreviated races. And when the rain finally hit, it created a rutted, muddy mess of a racetrack.
"Daytona was interesting," said Metcalfe. "The weather really challenged us. The first practice was pretty good and in dry conditions. Then the rain came in, and really changed the whole dynamic. We had a pretty tough track; it was muddy and very rutty. We were still able to do the jumps, but it was a tough little track. With a main event that's muddy and you don't know what's going to happen, you really need a good spot on the start gate to do something, so I was still pretty confident going in. But in the main event, on the second or third lap, I went down and I dropped back a bit. I just couldn't get it going after that, and I dropped back a few more and finished 10th. The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was running good and made it through the whole race. The most positive thing was that we got through something that could have made us take a DNF."
Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton continues to turn in notable performances in Supercross Lites. Despite the soaking wet setting that caused the Lites main to be shortened to 12 laps, Wharton was unfazed. He was second in his heat race and rode a smart main event to bring home a fifth-place finish. Unfortunately, Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt struggled in the quagmire and did not race the main event.
"Daytona is interesting because it's more like a motocross track," said Wharton. "I felt really good but it was muddy and conditions were pretty harsh. In the main, I basically got the holeshot and was up there in third and riding pretty good, but conditions were affecting the bike. I felt like I did some things good, but overall it's not where I wanted to be. I raced at Indy in 2009 and last year. I like Indy, and it'll be nice to be back on a Supercross track and racing indoors, so I'm looking forward to it."
All the Yoshimura-backed teams are looking forward to their next event, the 11th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, March 17th, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. You can meet the Yoshimura Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki riders on Friday, March 16th from 6 to 7 PM at Dreyer Suzuki, 4170 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN.
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