250 Words: Phoenix SX Lites

January 15, 2007 10:43am | by:
There are good nights and great nights. For the French, Phoenix was a very good night, as Christophe Pourcel and Steve Boniface shared heat-race wins, marking the first time in memory that French riders swept both heats of an AMA supercross. And for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, it was a great night, as Mitch Payton’s boys swept the Phoenix podium, marking the first time in the team’s fabled supercross history that they’ve pulled that off.

  • It was a great night for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team!
  • Pourcel and Steve Boniface (pictured) each won their heat races, making it two-for-two for Kawasaki-mounted French riders.
Pourcel led the way, cementing his cred as the real deal and a JMB heir-apparent. He showed marked improvement from even his Anaheim debut, where he reeled off a solid second. This time he was on the gas from the get-go, and his smooth effort was as alarming as it was impressive. Ryan Villopoto, who struggled Saturday night but still scored 22 points, now has a real challenger for the West Region title. And when the MX2 champ moves here for good after one more summer in Europe, it’s on.

And some credit goes to Chris Gosselaar, the quiet veteran of the team. He came through the pack to clinch that third spot on the box, then maybe lost a bet and had to wear a white cowboy hat on the podium. Either way, his smile was as big as Pourcel’s.

For KTM and Honda, it’s back to the drawing board. Red Bull riders Martin Davalos and Josh Hansen had their fair share of problems in the main, with Martin going backward in a hurry toward the end and Hansen not holding on to a top-five finish. As for SoBe/Samsung Honda, Josh Grant had an awful night, and Jake Weimer could not match last week’s fine effort.

Finally, a nod to Matt Lemoine. This kid is going to be good—really good. His fourth-place ride in Phoenix is a sign of things to come. His Star Racing Yamaha was the only non-green bike in the top five.