AURORA, Ill. (February 1, 2008) – Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence, of Carlsbad, Calif., said he is going to Anaheim this weekend to revenge himself. After winning the first Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class race of his career, Lawrence believes that he should have won the previous two races held at Angel Stadium, but mistakes prevented him from capturing the victory. This weekend the third and final Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, race takes place in Anaheim.
“It is a monkey off our back,” said Lawrence’s mechanic, Cory Shea. “It’s awesome to get this win. We all try hard and are at the shop until midnight or 1:00 a.m. every night. This is not just for me; it’s for the whole team.”
Yamaha Team Manager Jim Perry is proud of the New Jersey native and Yamaha support rider. “Jason has been very fast every weekend, and we are glad to have him on a blue bike. Yamaha of Troy has done a great job this season, and we are glad to see Jason put it together.”
Team San Manuel’s Chad Reed, of Tampa, Fla., won his third AMA Supercross class race of the season. Reed’s win, the 29th of his career, pushed him past Rick Johnson on the all-time win list and in third place. With 77-career podium finishes and 84 consecutive starts, Reed is quickly on his way to winning his second AMA Supercross championship.
Red Bull Honda’s Davi Millsaps, of Cairo, Ga., earned his first podium finish of the year last weekend in San Francisco, scoring a third-place finish behind Torco Fuels Honda’s Kevin Windham. Millsaps, a former AMA Supercross Lites champion, led part of the race before jumping off the track.
JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s Josh Hansen missed last weekend’s race in San Francisco due to injuries sustained in a crash suffered while practicing in Georgia. Prior to the crash, Hansen was 10th in AMA Supercross class points. According to a press release issued by JGRMX, the team’s trainer, Tim Gearhart, was with Hansen when the crash occurred. It happened during a rhythm section causing Hansen to be pitched off his motorcycle into the face of an oncoming jump, with the bike then landing on him. Gearhart took Josh to a nearby hospital where he was checked out and released, and then to one of the team’s doctors for further evaluation. While it appears there is no serious injury, the deep internal bruising Josh sustained during the impact has him in considerable pain, rendering him unable to ride.
Hansen, who moved from southern California to North Carolina to train full time with the new team, led the privateer points race after Anaheim 2, but missing San Francisco dropped him to third place behind his teammate Heath Voss and Josh Summey, who sit first and second, respectively.
In privateer rankings, Voss and Paul Carpenter, who is fourth, are the only riders to make the AMA Supercross class main event at all four races.
Yamaha’s Broc Hepler, of Kittanning, Pa., dropped to fourth place in the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class’ season standings after struggling in the San Francisco mud last weekend. Hepler, who was in second place overall coming to the race, failed to finish inside the top 10. Jim Perry is optimistic about Hepler’s 2008 campaign. “He’s missed a few seasons of supercross racing, but has put in some good rides this season; he just needs to put it together for 15 laps,” said Perry. “At Anaheim 2, he made up a lot of time on (Ryan) Dungey, and it was a should-have-could-have-won race.”
Reigning U.S. Open champion Grant Langston came into the 2008 Monster Energy® Supercross season as the field’s dark horse but has not lived up to the expectations, finishing 4th, 20th, 18th and 5th at the first four races. “He led a few laps of the opener and ended up fourth, he was in third place in Phoenix and had a shock problem,” said Perry. “At Anaheim 2, he was fast in practice, crashed on the first lap in the main event, worked his way into the top 10 and got a flat tire.”
Torco Fuels Honda’s Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho is the only rider in both classes to win the Progressive Holeshot Award and the main event (Phoenix). Suzuki’s Mike Alessi is the only rider to win two Progressive Holeshot Awards (Phoenix/Anaheim 2).
Coming out of San Francisco all anyone on the Monster Energy® Kawasaki team wanted to do was to get away from the mud. Timmy Ferry scored the Progressive holeshot in the main event, but a hard crash midway through the race sent him to the back of the pack. Ferry’s bike flew across the on-coming lane, and he quickly regrouped and rode hard to finish 10th. The difficult conditions played a major factor in the crash and Ferry hopes the weather in Anaheim will be more cooperative.
“Those were probably the worst conditions I’ve ever ridden in,” said Ferry about the San Francisco race. “Hopefully the weather will be better at Anaheim, and we can finish our three races there with a great event. I had my best start of the season last week and I’m riding well, so it is time to get back up on the podium.”
In the AMA Supercross Lites class, Kawasaki put three bikes in the top five with Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn earning a season-best second-place finish. Hahn rocketed to the holeshot in the main event and rode steady, passing Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe on the last lap. For Metcalfe it was a bitter-sweet result.
“All year I’ve been trying to be more aggressive,” said Metcalfe. “It looked like we had put everything together last week, but I was only able to finish third. It’s time to keep the pressure on and keep riding strong and try to get a win at Anaheim.”
Metcalfe’s teammate Austin Stroupe had an eventful race as well. Stroupe took the lead on the first lap but then went off the track. It was a battle all night for the 17-year-old rider who finished fifth, and he summed up everyone’s feeling after the event.
“I just hope it’s dry in Anaheim,” said Stroupe. “I’m getting sick of the mud. We are doing a good job but I want to run a dry race.”
Rockstar Makita Suzuki Factory Racing returns yet again to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, for the final time in 2008. All three of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki riders are looking forward to this third Anaheim AMA Supercross race on Saturday night.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Supercross Lites contender Ryan Dungey is particularly eager for this weekend’s event. The 2007 AMA Supercross/Motocross Rookie of the Year currently leads the championship points in the Lites, having won both the Anaheim I and Anaheim II races. Dungey is looking to capture his third victory at Angel Stadium.
“I didn’t get the best result in San Francisco with the mud and everything,” said Dungey. “The weather kind of threw all of our plans up in the air. As far as I’m concerned, nothing has changed because of San Francisco. Everything is good. I’m not sitting around and thinking of San Francisco. Looking at Anaheim III, I know what I’m capable of doing; I’m just preparing this week as usual and I’ll go in with a good attitude. To pull off a win would be great, but I’ll also be happy to just get as many points as possible. I’m ready and I know I can do this.”
Dungey’s teammate and AMA Supercross class rider Mike Alessi is also looking forward to the third Anaheim race. So far, Alessi picked up sixth and fourth place finishes at Angel Stadium this year, and he is hoping for his first 2008 podium position this weekend.
“Because the weather in southern California is so cold – it’s been in the 40s – I’ll be riding at our facility in Victorville all week to get ready for Anaheim,” said Alessi, who is currently fourth overall in the championship points. “I’m training the same as always, though this week some of the other factory riders are coming here to ride because so many of the factory tracks are flooded. That always adds speed and confidence for race weekends and this weekend is no different – I know I have my start down, and I just have to be aggressive on the track and stay focused.”
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s David Vuillemin, meanwhile, has been in France for the last week. The Frenchman had problems with his knee in last week’s San Francisco race and flew home to consult his personal physician about the problem. Fortunately, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health and Vuillemin is looking forward to a good race this weekend.
“I went to see my osteopath, who has known me since 1991, to get my knee back in the right spot,” said Vuillemin. “He put my knee back together and he worked on my thumb, too. I just need a few days of rest to heal the inflammation and then I should be ready to race this Saturday.”
MDK KTM Factory rider Nick Wey earned his best finish of the season last week in San Francisco when he placed seventh overall in the muddy 15 lap main. “We’ve been making a lot of changes to the bike lately, and it’s definitely showing a difference in my results,” commented Wey on last weekend’s performance. He continued, “The team and I have been working really hard to get the bike dialed to fit my riding style. I know my results will only improve from here.”
MDK KTM Lites Team Manager, Danny Paladino stated, “The Lites team is excited for the circuit to return to Anaheim this weekend. The team has been busily preparing and looks to do well at Anaheim to make up points we have lost the last couple weekends.” MDK KTM Lites rider Justin Brayton is still recovering from a head cold he has had since Phoenix. “I’ve just been taking it slow this week, practicing as close to home as I can,” reported Brayton. “I want to turn the seat around and get back on the podium this weekend.”
Brayton’s teammate Billy Laninovich is also eager to land a good ride. “Every rider makes his own luck, and I wasn’t so lucky at San Francisco,” commented Laninovich. He went on to say, “I like the Anaheim events because it brings out a lot of my family and friends. I have been working my tail off this week to show that I can run up front and that my weaker results this season have just been a fluke.”
KTM’s Director of Racing Kurt Nicoll mentioned, “The whole team is looking forward to the last Anaheim because the track should be dry and typically we have done well in drier conditions. I look forward to watching Nick (Wey) ride this weekend. Coming off of a solid result in San Francisco he should be able to carry that positive momentum with him to do well in Anaheim.”
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