Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Stroupe Charges to Second in St. Louis Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Austin Stroupe earned a runner-up finish at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, securing himself second place in the season ...
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Stroupe Charges to Second in St. Louis
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Austin Stroupe earned a runner-up finish at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, securing himself second place in the season standings. With just two AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region races remaining, Stroupe's teammate Christophe Pourcel continues to lead the series standings with a 25-point advantage. In the supercross class, Billy Laninovich made his Monster Energy Kawasaki debut finishing 18th.
On the Podium
After winning his heat race, Stroupe flew out of the gate and grabbed the holeshot in the main event. As the track tightened after the first corner, Stroupe felt like a pinball as he was hit from both sides and he slipped back to fifth. He quickly made his way up to third and then methodically cut into the big lead built by the top two riders. On the final lap, Stroupe caught up to, and passed Nico Izzi for second.
"It felt good out there," said Stroupe. "I got a good start, but I got hit just past the first corner. It took me a while to get back into a rhythm. I'm happy to come away with second. The leaders got away so quick at the start. When I was jumping the finish they were almost through the whoops. I just put my head down and rode hard. I glanced up and saw it was lap 12 so I knew I had to go. I'm happy I got by Izzi on the last lap."
The series points leader Pourcel also ran into trouble on the first lap, or more correctly trouble landed on him. In a difficult rhythm section just after the first turn, another rider landed on Pourcel and took him down. After crossing the line in 17th after the first lap, the French rider showed a champion's demeanor passing 12 riders to finish fifth at the checkered flag.
"Someone landed on me after the first turn and I went down," said Pourcel. "It is difficult to race with some of the guys in the back so I was patient when I was trying to get by them. I'm happy I ran some fast laps and I still have the lead in the championship."
Making the Main
After more than six months off the track, Laninovich showed little rust as he got a great jump out of the starting gate in his heat race. After the great start he battled to stay in a transfer spot and was able to make it straight to the main event after finishing eighth.
"I had an awesome start in the heat race," said Laninovich. "My jump really surprised me and I was in the lead. I made a couple of mistakes on the first lap and fell back a little. I got back into a groove and finished eighth. I was excited to make it to the main event."
Getting the Call -Coming Back
With the heat race behind him, Laninovich knew the 20-lap main event would be difficult. While he knew the pace would be fast, he underestimated his competition. As he gains more race experience in the supercross class, the 26-year-old looks to remain competitive.
"It is harder than I thought it would be," said Laninovich. "Everybody is going really fast. I took six months off of riding after the outdoor season. This is only my seventh time on a supercross track this year. It's hard out there, really hard."
The tight track at St. Louis was unlike any Stroupe had ever seen. In only his second year of professional racing, the 18-year-old compared the track layout to something more familiar to him, a video game.
"It was chaos out there," said Stroupe. "I've never ridden when it is like this. The track was tight and there were guys all around me. I was getting slammed. It felt like I was playing a video game."
With Laninovich making his debut for the team, he had more to deal with than just getting comfortable under the tent. Laninovich's 2009 debut came at what most riders would say was the most difficult tracks of the season.
"The track was pretty technical," said Laninovich. "It was tacky and it got choppy where the bikes were landing. There were holes on the jumps, which also made for a difficult track. I'm hoping to see a more traditional track next week."