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Hooters-Moto XXX Tamer Race Report

Detroit, MI. & San Diego, CA. 04/12/08 – 04/13/08
For only the third time in history the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series rolled into Ford Field in downtown Detroit, Michigan.  The Detroit round marks the 14th of the series and with the Las Vegas finale drawing closer and closer the Hooters/Moto XXX Tamer team was looking to get some more top finishes. 

Antonio Balbi Jr. stayed back in California in order to prepare for ESPN’s Motocross World Championships taking place on Sunday inside Qualcomm Stadium in sunny San Diego, California.  Eric Sorby would jump on a flight early Sunday morning in order to join his teammate in San Diego but more on that later. 

Alongside Sorby in Detroit was Lites rider Mitch Dougherty.  Following practice Dougherty was seeded into the second qualifier of the evening.  When the gate dropped on the heat race Dougherty got a decent jump but would round the first turn right around 10th position.  Mitch rode well the first few laps and was battling for a qualifying position until a slight bobble on the fifth lap bumped him down to 11th where he would ultimately finish. 

In the second Supercross class heat race Eric Sorby got off to a solid top 10 start and began working his way up.  Sorby rode well throughout the heat race and by the end of the final lap had moved all the way up to fifth place and a spot on the line in the main event.

The Lites class LCQ saw Mitch Dougherty get off to slow start but he immediately started moving toward a qualifying position.  With the laps winding down Dougherty moved into fifth place, one spot away from qualifying, but would be unable to get that final transfer position before receiving the checkered flag.  Mitch would receive the Asterisk Medic Card and a trip to the podium for his efforts.

When the gate dropped on the Supercross class main event Eric Sorby shot out of the gate like a rocket on his Moto XXX Performance engine, Honda 450 nabbing the Progressive Direct Holeshot award and enjoying a clear track in front of him.  Sorby took advantage of that fact and led the entire first lap to get his name amongst some fast company in the “laps lead” category.  Unfortunately for Sorby he was unable to hang onto the top spot for long as other riders slipped by.  After five laps Sorby had fallen back to 10th place and at the half way point was all the way down to 15th.  At this point he settled into a pace and would ride the final half of the race in the same position before taking the checkered flag. 

ESPN Motocross World Championships:

Only hours after taking the checkered flag in Detroit Eric Sorby was on a plane headed to San Diego, California for the first annual Motocross World Championships.  Upon arrival Sorby met up with his Hooters/Moto XXX Tamer teammate Antonio Balbi and the two headed out for some practice.  Both Balbi and Sorby rode well throughout practice and were placed into the first and third qualifiers, respectively.       

The first four rider qualifier found Antonio Balbi starting in third place, one spot outside of qualifying position.  After battling with Troy Adams for much of the race Travis Pastrana, coming back from a first lap crash, came through the pack passing both riders and bumping Balbi down to the fourth position and into the LCQ.  

Eric Sorby continued his holeshoting ways with a big time jump off the line in the third qualifying race.  Once out front Sorby never relinquished the lead as he held off charges from the other three riders on his way to his first ever MXWC heat race win.

Eric Sorby, MXWC Holeshot      Photo: Vital MX

After taking the checkered flag, Sorby was interviewed by ESPN about his trip to Qualcomm stadium, "I caught an early flight this morning. I woke up at 4 in the morning, and I got here a few minutes ago. I got a little bit of sleep. It's all right."  When asked about his expectations for the day Sorby commented, "When I go to a race, I always want to do well. I want to get a holeshot, and I want to finish in front.”  

In the final qualifying race of the day Antonio Balbi got off to a second place start and tried everything in his power to stay inside the top two.  Balbi was riding well holding off the other riders until going wide just after the finish line jump and sliding out on the hard packed track, Antonio remounted but the distance was too great to make up and he would miss the main event.

The first MXWC main event got under way with Eric Sorby holding down a top five start.  Things were looking good for Sorby before suffering the same fate as his teammate and sliding out on the dusty track.  Shortly after going down Sorby would pull off and in the end be credited with 10th place.

Overall the inaugural Motocross World Championship was a hit with both the riders and fans and here’s hoping we will see it again in the years to come. 

This coming weekend will find the scheduling back to normal as Eric Sorby, Antonio Balbi, and Mitch Dougherty all line up for the second to last round of the series taking place in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Edward Jones Dome offers some of the most fan-friendly pit areas so be sure to make it over to the Hooters/Moto XXX Tamer rig and show your support for the team.  See you there!

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