Anaheim I: Powersports Honda race report

Two to the podium for GEICO Powersports Honda team ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 9) -- After months of eager anticipation and plenty of intense training, the GEICO Powersports Honda race team, with the aid of new team manager and renowned Supercross ...

Two to the podium for GEICO Powersports Honda team

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 9) -- After months of eager anticipation and plenty of intense training, the GEICO Powersports Honda race team, with the aid of new team manager and renowned Supercross multi-time champion Mike LaRocco, cashed in at the 2010 AMA Supercross season-opener Saturday at Angel Stadium in Southern California when two of its three riders made their way to the podium at the end of the day.

Veteran rider and team leader Kevin Windham rode his Honda CRF450R to a third-place finish in the main event after finishing fourth in his heat. By the end of the first lap of the main event, Windham had secured the fifth position and held on until he was able to capitalize on his opponent's mistakes and move into fourth in lap 11 and finally into 3rd several laps later.

"It was a great day," Windham said. "The GEICO Powersports Honda team has done a lot of work in the off-season, and we've got another year under our belt on the new Honda. Things are going great. I was actually pretty content through the race with where I was and how it was going; I thought fifth was going to be respectable and all of a sudden I saw the guys in front of me start making mistakes and I realized that I could do it. I didn't make it about them; I just made it about riding the best I could. Luckily, for me, it worked out to be a podium so I was really excited.

"I finally, after 16 years, I feel like I have a program that works. For the first time, coming into this race, I wasn't nervous. That was a good feeling. I realize it's going to be a tough series. There will be a lot of bumps and bangs along the road. There will be some good guys that don't finish where they think they should, but I'm going to keep my sights on the podium. Sometimes I'll achieve it and sometimes I'll fall short, but I just want to keep that as my goal and keep charging. It's a tough field this year, but what a way to start out. I felt like I was a little bit of an underdog with my age, and new guys keep coming in wanting it more and more. To achieve this tonight has been awesome."

After a wrist injury at the High Point Nationals last year, Trey Canard is finally back in the running in Supercross Lites West class. In an impressive heat, Canard inched out ahead, nearly claiming the lead, when he crashed in the second turn. He quickly recovered, only losing one position and finishing the six laps in third. In the main event, Canard again shined, moving from fifth at the end of the first lap to third by the end of the second and crossing the finish line aboard his CRF250R in the same position, earning a coveted spot on the podium.

"This is definitely a way better start than last year," Canard said. "I was thankful to leave here with second and I look forward to finishing out the season. I was so nervous. I didn't have a really good week, I was just nervous the whole week. It's just been such a long time since I've raced so to end up with a second is a good thing for me.

"I'll get in my practice time before next week, but you can't improve too much right now. I feel good about my speed and good about my fitness. Today I just tried to stay calm because I was so nervous, and it was a tough race, but I'm thankful to be back in the swing of things."

With Brett Metcalfe injured, the team brought Supercross Lites East competitor Blake Wharton out west. The St. Louis Supercross winner nearly missed the show when he had a bit of bad luck in his heat, got jammed, and crashed at the first curve. After recovering, Wharton was temporarily relegated to the back of the pack and was 10th until right before the finish line, when he edged into the ninth position to earn his spot in the main event, in which he finished a respectable 4th.

"It was a good night for our team," Wharton said. "Trey and Windham got on the podium, and I came close. For the first round and for the circumstances -- I got a bad gate pick because I had a bad heat race -- I thought I did good. It's the first one but now you know what to work on and what you can do. You have to be consistent, especially if you want to win the championship. There are a lot of fast guys out there, but we'll be racing those guys for the next six weeks.

"I got a good start and ended up being in fourth and I was surprised I was in fourth. Once I got there, I had some company from behind the whole race. I saw those guys in front of me and they weren't too far in front, just enough to where it was a little bit of a tease. I need to work on that, and when I'm in this position next week or the following, I need to charge up to the front and just keep going."

The team will be back on track for the second round at Chase Field in Phoenix.

-source: powersports honda

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Series AMA
Drivers Kevin Windham , Trey Canard , Mike LaRocco