Rookie Dean Wilson Earns Career-Best Finish With Second Place Podium Irvine, Calif. -- Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson ended the Eastern Region AMA Supercross Lites season on a high note, taking the runner-up position at...
Rookie Dean Wilson Earns Career-Best Finish With Second Place Podium
Irvine, Calif. -- Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson ended the Eastern Region AMA Supercross Lites season on a high note, taking the runner-up position at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. Kawasaki's Nick Wey earned the holeshot and led the first two laps aboard his KX™450F, eventually finishing a season-best fourth. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Chad Reed finished fifth in only his second race back from injury. Teammate Ryan Villopoto crashed while leading just after the halfway mark, injuring his right leg. Only two turns into the main event, newly crowned Eastern Region AMA Supercross Lites champion Christophe Pourcel finished 20th after a bump from behind caused him to launch on top of a tuff block.
Back On The Podium
Wilson has endured a supercross season of ups and downs, but was able to get back on the podium with a strong ride in St. Louis. He had a decent start and was able to jump quickly into second, but a minor tip over before the finish line pushed him back to fourth. Wilson wouldn't settle for a finish off the podium and was on the move, posting solid lap times to put him into second place.
"I'm actually really bummed at myself because I knew I could win this race," said Wilson. "It was my race to lose. I am happy to be on the podium after my last lap crash in Houston, but I just felt really strong all day and knew this was a huge opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to the shootout in Vegas to see how I stack up against all the lites riders."
With a championship fire in his eyes, Villopoto took over the lead at the halfway mark of the 20-lap race. In a tricky rhythm section that gave riders trouble all night, Villopoto came up short on a jump, causing him to come off his bike and land hard on his right leg. He broke his tibia and fibula in the crash and a timeline for his return is still unknown.
"This is heartbreaking for both Ryan and the team," said Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager Mike Fisher. "RV was going for the championship and riding really well. It's a shame this happened because Ryan has shown so much resilience this season while trying to attain his first supercross championship. I know Ryan will do everything he can to get back as soon as possible."
After battling with a brief illness last weekend in Houston, Ti Lube/ Foremost Insurance/ Babbitt's Kawasaki rider Wey came out strong in St. Louis, grabbing his second holeshot this year. He led the first two laps and continued a strong pace to finish with his best result of the season in fourth.
Reed started his night out with a huge win in the first heat after struggling to get comfortable with the track during practice. He settled into a good pace during the main and finished the night with his second top-five in two weeks.
"The heat race went really well and I tried to bring that into the main event," said Reed. "I got a good start, but couldn't get into a good rhythm right away. Once I settled in, I rode a lot better."
With the championship wrapped up, Pourcel was able to take it easy in St. Louis during the final round of the Eastern Region AMA Supercross Lites. Still showing speed, Pourcel launched out of the gate just behind the leaders, but got hit from behind just before the second turn, causing him to go straight on top of a tuff block on the berm.
"It took me forever to get the bike off the tuff block," said Pourcel. "Once I got going, first place was just about to pass me. I didn't want to get in the way of the racing and didn't feel comfortable after I got bumped out."
Waiting for the Call
Reed was waiting on the sidelines for the call from his wife, Ellie that their baby boy was on the way. Thankfully he was able to race and can head back to Florida to be with his family.
"It's exciting times right now, but it's definitely hard to be away from her when I know that the baby could come at any time," said Reed. "It's not an easy thing to get off your mind, but I did my best to stay focused when I was on the track."
St. Louis brought out a great crowd to the Edward Jones Dome, providing loud cheers as the races ensued on the track. The Monster Energy Pit Party was especially crowded as the Kawasaki fans lined up at the team semi to take photos and try to get an autograph.