Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Remains the Beast of the East Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Remains the Beast of the East Christophe Pourcel continued Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's domination of the Eastern Region of the...
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Remains the Beast of the East
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Remains the Beast of the East Christophe Pourcel continued Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's domination of the Eastern Region of the AMA Supercross Lites championship, winning his third race of the season at Daytona International Speedway. His teammate Austin Stroupe won his heat race, but crashed on the first lap of the main event, and was unable to continue. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto finished sixth while Timmy Ferry fractured his heel on the second lap and did not finish.
As Pourcel continues his ride for the supercross championship, he is showing his veteran experience. Rather than sprinting out of the gate, the French rider rode with reserved aggression. He waited until the later stages of the main event to push up to the lead. As the lites East Coast season crosses the halfway point, Pourcel has won three of the four races.
"The start wasn't easy for us," said Pourcel. "I got out okay and was riding around for the first couple of laps. I was patient behind the leader because I knew he would get tired. It was really exciting and when he made a little mistake, I took advantage. About lap nine I started pushing to the front and I passed for the lead. I was running my fastest laps at the end and that's how I want to win."
Villopoto rode a strong race on the long track that saw lap times well over a minute. The rookie was looking to earn another podium finish before having to settle for a sixth place finish.
"It was an okay night," said Villopoto. "I got out of the gate well, but when James (Stewart) went down in the first turn it caused a big pile-up. I was pretty far back after I got through the mess. I started off a little slow, but I was picking my way up and got to third. Then I stalled the bike in some braking bumps. I hit one of the big ones and accidentally stood on the brake and stalled it."
Ferry was one of the fastest riders during both afternoon practice sessions. In his heat race he got caught up in the first turn and found himself in the back of the pack. Red Dog battled his way up to ninth and the final transfer position into the main event. On the second lap of the main, Ferry crashed at the end of the whoop section fracturing his right heel.
"I swapped in the whoop section," said Ferry. "I thought I had it saved and grabbed the throttle. I caught my right foot on one of the last whoops and went down. I hurt my foot pretty bad."
One of the aspects of racing on the infield grass at Daytona International Speedway is dealing with the slick starting area. Traction was key to getting a good jump in the race.
"The start was tough," said Villopoto. "With grass behind the gate and also down the start it was really slick. It was tough to get traction and in both the heat and the main I had to overcome some bad starts."
After winning his heat race, Stroupe got a good start in the main event and was up front on the first lap. Contact with Martin Davalos sent him flying into the tuff blocks. The damage to Stroupe's bike was extensive and he was unable to continue.
"We were up pretty high in the air when we hit," said Stroupe. "I landed on a tuff block and it pretty much destroyed my bike. The chain was broken so I couldn't keep racing."
Taking some of his favorite elements and obstacles from different tracks, former champion Ricky Carmichael produced a challenging layout in the Daytona infield that helped break up the series, which runs 17 races in 18 weeks.
"The track layout was good," said Villopoto. "I was fast and I made up a lot of time. I rode with Chad (Reed) for a long stretch. I was able to pass a lot of guys. It was a fun race. It was kind of like an outdoor, so it broke up the season."
What Could Have Been
During his heat race, Stroupe showed he could compete for the win. After getting a mid-pack start in the six-lap qualifier, the 18-year-old worked his way into the lead and took the win.
"I rode well today," said Stroupe. "In the heat race I got up to the front and won. I think I could have won the main event too."
With the majority of the East Coast races run inside domed stadiums, the event in Daytona saw some riders employ a trick from the Motocross series. To combat the Florida heat and humidity, Pourcel vented his jersey to help cool him off during the race.
"It was really warm today," said Pourcel. "The humidity came up and it was really warm when we were riding. "
For Ferry, the Daytona race is the closest to his home in Seminole, Florida, which means he has a large cheering section every year. It was no exception this year as Red Dog's friends and family took over a section in the grandstands near the starting line.