Trey Canard’s cool, calm, collected run to the East Region Lites title ended by the second turn of the main event on Saturday night in Detroit. At the last two rounds of the tour, the Torco Racing Fuels Honda rider has had to mount come-from-behind charges to grab fourth place, and as such he hasn’t even seen title rival Ryan Villopoto out on the track. But he got a good start in Detroit, and Villopoto was right in front of him. Canard got a good drive into a treacherous section of whoops and looked ready to drive to the inside and make a pass for the lead. But he hooked a rut at the end of that whoop section, got sideways, hit a tuff block, and nearly threw it all away. Canard saved it and backed it down, perhaps realizing then that he shouldn’t have even been trying to pass Villopoto.
After that near miss on the first lap, though, it would no longer be that easy. Canard made plenty more mistakes on a very difficult track—one that combined deep ruts with challenging rhythm jump sections. Eventually Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Nico Izzi caught Canard and started pressuring him, which only made the situation worse. Canard got sideways a few more times, and then finally crashed at the end of a rhythm section. His crash looked a lot like Ryan Dungey’s crash in the whoops in Houston. He was sideways, he tried to save it, he held on to the bitter end, but in the end he went down with his ship and may have lost the title because of it.
Now Villopoto just needs to win one more to claim the title, and with the way he’s riding that doesn’t look that difficult. Canard will have to beat Villopoto straight up in St. Louis, and it will be hard to stay cool, calm, and collected with so much hanging on the line.