SAN DIEGO (February 13, 2018) - Justin Hill and his JE Pistons powered Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team picked up their first win of the season in Saturday night's Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, at Petco Park.
Hill, the defending Western Regional 250 SX Class Champion, was the class of the field all day and over the course of the evening program. The Yoncalla, Ore., rider showed the way in qualifying, won his heat race and led the final six laps to earn his seventh career 250SX Class win.
"Perfect days don't come very often, so I'm basking in the goodness of being the fastest qualifier, winning my heat and the main event," beamed Hill following the race. "Everything was clicking with the team and my Suzuki RM-Z250. I was ripping the whoops and rhythms in practice, doing what I needed to do to get the top qualifying time. We watched film after practice and decided to leave the bike alone, because it was working really well.
"My strategy in the main event was to calculate everything around me. I started increasing my intensity and pressing harder. I knew I had the speed. For the most part I was trying to be calm about picking up the pace and not do anything rash. Once I made the pass for the lead, I got a small gap and tried to get back into a zone click away good laps."
Fellow JE-sponsored rider Adam Cianciarulo was Hill's most formidable competitor throughout the day. Cianciarulo, rider of the No. 92 Kawasaki KX 250F for Pro Circuit Racing, paced the opening 11 laps and went on to finish second, giving JE a 1-2 sweep of the top two steps of the 250SX Class podium.
"I'm so pumped on my start," said Cianciarulo who sits fourth in points, 17 out of the lead. "I'm more excited about the holeshot than I am the podium finish. I've been working so hard on my starts and to finally see a result means a lot. Overall, San Diego was really good for us and I'm looking forward to the break as the East Coast guys start racing."
In premier 450SX Class action, JGRMX's Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing's Weston Peick showed the way again for the JE-sponsored contingent. Despite being collected in an early-race incident, the rider of the No. 34 RM-Z450 clawed his way from deep in the field to notch a respectable seventh-place showing.
Consistency and perseverance continue to be Peick's calling cards this season and the Menifee, Calif., rider is seventh in points and sits just eight markers outside the top three.
"San Diego was a bummer, plain and simple," lamented Peick following Round 6. "I was feeling well all day. I was the sixth-fastest rider in practice, which was better than where I have typically been qualifying. I got off to a decent start in the heat race, made a few bobbles, and worked my way up to third. I was feeling solid in the main event. I probably would have come out of the first turn in the top five, but [Ken] Roczen went down and I fell, too. I got back going and riding really well, passing from 17th up to seventh place. I'm happy with the progress I'm making. The Suzuki RM-Z450 is working really well."
Peick's JGRMX teammates Malcom Stewart and Justin Bogle suffered their own sets of misfortune but didn't fare quite as well in the end. Stewart was collected in the same first-corner incident as Peick and was scored 17th in the final rundown. Bogle was injured during his heat race and was a scratch for the main event.
"It was a race filled with highs and lows," offered JGRMX Team Manager Jeremy Albrecht. "The obvious highs being Hill showing the capabilities of the Suzuki RM-Z250 and winning the 250 main event. Peick, again, showed a lot of promise. If it wasn't for the first-turn crash, I really think he could have been in one of those front spots. Unfortunately, Bogle was landed on by another rider in his heat race. It was a pretty bad crash that left him with a broken upper arm. He was obviously in a lot of pain afterward. I feel bad that it happened, because Justin was starting to find his groove. Stewart was feeling under the weather all weekend. Despite that, he fought hard and looked to have a good finish in the bag until he crashed and fell back to 17th. I'm looking forward to building on our results at the next round."
Monster Energy Supercross dials up a trip to AT&T Stadium this weekend when the series visits Arlington, Texas and the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Round 7 of the 2018 Supercross Championship will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, Feb. 17 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 5 p.m. Pacific.