Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Pourcel Takes Home the Title in Toronto Christophe Pourcel claimed the 2009 AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region Championship after winning his fourth race of the season at Rogers Centre in Toronto on his ...
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Pourcel Takes Home the Title in Toronto
Christophe Pourcel claimed the 2009 AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region Championship after winning his fourth race of the season at Rogers Centre in Toronto on his Kawasaki KX250F. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider clinched the championship with one race remaining and was joined on the podium by his teammate Austin Stroupe. Stroupe finished second in the main event with Canidae Motosport Kawasaki's Branden Jesseman fourth. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Billy Laninovich did not advance to the main event.
Number 1 Plate
Carrying a 25-point lead into the penultimate race of the East Coast season, Pourcel knew if he won the race, he would claim the championship with one race remaining. Though the season consists of eight races, the Frenchman's road to the title was much longer. Nearly two years ago Pourcel suffered serious injuries and was forced to miss more than a year of racing. With his return this season, the former MX2 World Motocross champion relied on his past championship experience to ride smart and earn consistent finishes.
"It feels great to win the championship," said Pourcel. "It was awesome to win the race and the championship at the same time. I was really focused on the start and when I got it I knew I was going to be okay. It wasn't easy to come back from my injury, but it was worth it. To be a champion, you have to be consistent and that is what I've tried to do this whole season."
Stroupe knew if he wanted to extend his chance at the championship, he would have to beat his teammate. The 18-year-old rider posted the fastest time in practice and worked his way to second in his heat race. In the main event, Stroupe was deep in the field, but he made his way up to second place. He was unable to catch Pourcel, but he did get a tighter hold on second place in the points standings.
"Finishing second isn't what I wanted this weekend," said Stroupe. "It wasn't good enough to stay in the championship. It's all right though. We'll just go back and work harder. I'll go for the win next week. We now are starting to focus on the outdoor title, which is something that I really want."
With the track at the Rogers Centre deteriorating lap by lap in practice, Pourcel realized he would want to be in the first heat race to ensure a smoother and more than likely faster racetrack. Knowing the fastest rider in practice would go to the second heat, Pourcel made sure he didn't put in the fastest practice time so he could get in the preferred heat.
"We wanted to be in the first heat," said Pourcel. "I was happy not to be fastest in practice. I knew the track would be a lot better in the first heat because of the ruts. I put in some laps so I knew how the track would be and then we worked on starts."
All season long, Pourcel has traveled with a stuffed Superman to provide inspiration for the race weekend. After winning four of the seven races, there proved to be no kryptonite in the paddock that could slow the champion down.
After setting the 14th fastest time during the afternoon practice session, Laninovich was set for his heat race. At the start he came out in 12th place and quickly moved up to tenth, just one spot away from a transfer position. With two laps to go, Laninovich dropped a spot to 11th. In the last chance qualifier he came out of the gate deep in the field, but worked his way up to seventh at the finish.
"Everybody is riding really good," said Laninovich. "I'm just as fast, but I'm not prepared right now. I took six months off of riding and just started again about a month ago. You can't do that and expect to be ready. I'm working on my fitness and I feel I rode better this weekend than I did in St. Louis. It just didn't show in the results."
Pourcel now heads to the final race of the season with the championship secured and he is already starting to look ahead to this summer's motocross season.
"In Jacksonville I'm going to be safe," said Pourcel. "I want to win for the team, but we have the outdoors season coming up. I want to get the holeshot and then stay up front. Getting on the podium is very good."
Having just joined the team, Laninovich hasn't been riding on a wide variety of tracks and the ever-changing dirt in Toronto proved tough for him.
"This was one of the most difficult tracks I have ridden," said Laninovich. "It was so rutted, and I haven't ridden in ruts like that since Daytona in 2002 when the track was really bad. I've been riding at the Kawasaki practice track which is hard packed so this was totally different."
A Tale of Two Tracks
While some riders were critical of the rutty track, North Carolina native Stoupe felt right at home.
"I think it was the best track we've had," said Stroupe. " It was really rutty and technical. I was fast in practice, but I didn't get the starts I needed tonight. I was able to make some passes, but I could only move up to second."
As the series heads to Jacksonville, Laninovich is going to get more seat time on his Kawasaki KX450F to get more comfortable and also improve his endurance.
"I'm going to work on a lot this week," said Laninovich. "I want to ride some motos to build up my endurance. I think I'll be riding a lot better next week."
Timmy Ferry will be making appearances this week for the team in Jacksonville. With the race close to his Florida home, Ferry will be signing autographs at the Florida vs Florida State baseball game on Tuesday and then on Friday night he will make an appearance at the Action Sports Medicine charity dinner.