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SuperX: Powersports Honda Anaheim I preview

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Legendary rider Windham ready for 17th professional Supercross campaign

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 5) -- With the curtain about to go up on another Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, GEICO Honda rider Kevin Windham feels like he's already on a roll.

"We are going to do exactly what we've been doing," Windham said. "We had some good races going back to last summer and some very successful races overseas this off-season. Training and testing has been going well. At this point it's all about not getting caught up in the first-race jitters."

A two-time winner in Supercross last season, Windham, who finished second in the points for the ninth time last year, said emotions among riders typically run high in the season opener and he said he expects Saturday's race at Angel Stadium to be no different.

"There's so much anticipation it's hard not to get caught up in it," Windham said. "At this point it's about being professional and going out there focused and doing what we do best."

Channeling that adrenaline is crucial in the opener, said Windham, who is starting his 17th Supercross season. A strong finish is a huge springboard to greater things, but a costly slip-up -- especially one that leads to injury -- can cast a huge shadow on the rest of the season.

"You have to weather the storm of everyone trying to make that initial race an impressive one," he said. "A lot of people wind up going down and throwing it all away because of the pressures of Round 1. While it's a great feeling to win the opener, you've got to try and minimize the damage of being rusty. You have to get your head into that race as quickly as you can, especially when you are behind that starting gate with 28 tough competitors.

"You have to be smart because you can come out of Anaheim looking really bad if you crash and get a DNF. It can put you in a big hole after just one round."

Also starting this weekend is the Supercross Lites West Series with GEICO Honda fielding two riders -- Wil Hahn and Eli Tomac -- on 250cc machines.

Hahn is new to the GEICO Honda team but finished second in the Lites West a season ago. Tomac is a rookie all over again after starting his career last summer with a sixth-place points finish in the summertime outdoor Motocross season.

Windham hopes Saturday night is the first step on the road to a long, breakneck, but ultimately successful Supercross season.

"We're starting a 17-round season with just one weekend off," Windham said. "At some point we're all going to have struggles and battles to overcome.

"But this opener is a big race and the finale is always huge. Plus all the ones in between. We've got several races close to my house that all my friends and family get to go to but really I've been at this long enough that every track I go to I see familiar faces year after year. I love them all and I can't wait to get started."

-source: powersports honda

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