Phoenix, AZ – CANIDAE / Motosport / Kawasaki Racing Team riders Kyle Cunningham (#36) and P.J. Larsen (#87) were ready for Round 2 of the 2009 AMA West Supercross Lites Series held in Phoenix, AZ at Chase Field. CANIDAE 450cc rider Tommy Hahn (#48) is still on the mend from a broken hand in testing and is scheduled to return at Round 4 in Houston.
Just as he did in Anaheim, Larsen set the fast time in the first practice session with a 56.501 and 11th overall. Cunningham rode in practice session #3 and came out with a solid 56.275 in the first round and a blistering 55.843 in the second practice for 9th overall. CANIDAE / Motosport / Kawasaki was ready to make some noise in the big show!
Heat #1 brought some great racing action that began with CANIDAE rider P.J. Larsen getting pushed wide in the first turn by Honda rider Dan Reardon veering off track. As a result, P.J. had to pass four riders to qualify for the Main Event. By lap 2, P.J. had moved well inside a transfer position to the 7th spot and was still charging hard. By the final lap, Larsen was up to the 6th spot and he held it to finish to qualify for his very first Main Event in his 2nd Supercross race ever - a day he will not soon forget.
CANIDAE / Motosport / Kawasaki rider Kyle Cunningham was 6th across the hole-shot stripe to start Heat 2. Fortunately, Kyle was near the front, because a huge pile up occurred just behind him that took out last year’s west coast champion. Kyle sped into turn two in 5th when another pile up caused Cunningham to go down and stall the bike. After nearly 30 seconds of trying to start the bike, Kyle was back underway but in last place. Never to say “Quit,” the CANIDAE rider, more determined than ever, worked his way up to 11th, just two spots out of a transfer position to the Main Event. After an impressive ride, Kyle would need to qualify in the CANIDAE “Lucky Dog” Last Chance Qualifier.
The CANIDAE “Lucky Dog” L.C.Q. was the final opportunity for Kyle to make it in to the show. The CANIDAE rider was the aggressor from the start and his perseverance paid off as he was in 4th place on his Kawasaki through turn 1. As Kyle entered the second corner (the same corner that took him out in heat race #2), he stayed high on the berm to avoid trouble. Unfortunately, Michael Hall (#164) lost the front end of his Yamaha and crashed hard. As his bike flew across the track, it hit the # 36 Kawasaki of Cunningham sending Kyle over the front of his bike and off the track. The violent impact locked both bikes together in a tangled mess. It took both riders and several track workers to pull the bikes apart. The night was over for Cunningham. Shaun Skinner and Alex Martin would transfer out of the CANIDAE “Lucky Dog” L.C.Q. and finalize the 20-rider field for the main event.
The main event was in the gate and as the gate dropped, it was the CANIDAE / Motosport / Kawasaki # 87 of P.J. Larsen in a side-by-side drag race with last week’s race winner Jake Weimer, also on a Kawasaki. P.J. would settle into the 3rd spot by the end of lap one and he rode extremely well despite being passed on lap 3 by eventual race runner-up Justin Brayton. P.J. fell two more positions, but held 6th place for the rest of the race - a fantastic finish for the young upstart! P.J. accrued enough points for the event to be trailing last year’s west coast champion by only one point.
Next week the CANIDAE / Motosport / Kawasaki Team will be back in Anaheim for the 3rd round of this wild series where we anticipate having both riders inside the top ten!