Team Rockstar/WBR/Suzuki – Working it out North of the Border – Byrne OK after Crash
Chino, CA – December 12, 2006 – The first two rounds of the Amp'd Mobile World Supercross Championship found the newly formed Team Rockstar/WBR/Suzuki working out the kinks and getting comfortable with their new Suzuki bikes. With Andrew McFarlane out with an injury he sustained in practice last month, the Canadian events were left to teammates Michael Byrne and Troy Adams. Kelly Smith, who will be riding the East Coast division, remained in California for practice.
In Toronto, Byrne's first out on the RM-Z450 was strong and aggressive in the qualifying heat finishing third behind Carmichael and Reed. At the start of the main, he came out in 6th place but got cross rutted and jumped off the track into the Tuff Blocks and went down. Getting the bike started again proved to be a challenge and he got back on track a lap down. A subsequent crash sealed the deal and Byrner was only able to pull a 15th in the main.
Troy Adams tore out of the gates in his heat race, overtaking the leaders before he got a rock stuck in his brake and couldn't stop at the corner. Luckily, he was able to get back up to pull a 7th - good enough for a ticket to the main. Adams began the main in third place but was taken out in the sixth lap by another rider. By the time he got back going, he was in 17th place. A strong march through the pack got him up to finish a respectable 5th.
"I was happy to get the fastest lap of the weekend but bad luck kept me from the podium," Adams said. "This was my first Supercross race from breaking my leg two years ago. I felt the bike was working for me but found out how tough those Tuff Blocks are!"
The Vancouver event proved even more challenging. The course was basically concrete covered by silt-like dirt and a lot of big boulders interspersed with loose rocks. Byrne spent most of his heat race battling with Wey for third place behind Reed and Vuillemin but dropped back making it to the main from the fourth position. Byrne exploded out of the gates trailing Stewart at the first turn. RC and Reed got past him by the third lap and a one on one battle with Ferry settled in.
Unfortunately, Byrne's push was halted by an out of place Tuff Block. "I just came over a jump and it was kind of like a blind jump," the Australian recalls. "I jumped over it and there was this hay bale sticking out just a little bit. When I landed, it caught my footpeg and pulled me off the bike. I let go of my bike and kind of slammed into the face, landing on my shoulder." Although the injury ended the race for Byrner, it looks as though there is no real damage and just going to be sore for awhile.
In the Supercross Lites heat race, Troy salvaged a first turn pile-up coming in fifth, but had his own tough luck in the main. After a good start, the Floridian had just moved into third place when his bike developed an unknown mechanical problem that ended any chance for podium.
"Overall, that's what these Canadian rounds are for," Team Manager Tony Sulek explained. "It's mainly to get the bumps and bruises out of the way. We still have a lot of testing to do between now and Anaheim One to get it dialed in right."