Houston, TX - While it was cold outside Reliant Stadium in Houston, it was blistering hot inside as the 1st round of the Monster Supercross Lites, East Series got underway. The CANIDAE Motosport Kawasaki team has a great shot at a championship this year with a perfect combination of youth and experience. Rookie sensation Hunter Hewitt (#126) kicked off his Supercross career at this event with the help of his veteran teammate Branden Jesseman (#74). Jesseman was the series champion in 2003 and hopes to repeat that performance this year.
The night started as planned for Jesseman, as he easily qualified for the main event with a great, late race charge from 11th to 8th place in Heat #1. Hewitt was pushed off the track in Heat #2 into a huge sponsor sign at the end of the start at full speed! The impact was brutal, but Hunter picked himself up quickly and remounted. His charge through the pack was impressive, ending up in 12th. Hewitt would have to try to qualify through the CANIDAE "Lucky Dog" Last Chance Qualifier.
The CANIDAE "Lucky Dog" L.C.Q. is a short 4-lap dash that sends only 2 of the 22 remaining riders to the Main Event. Hewitt had a good start and found himself within striking distance at the end of lap 1 in 4th place. He quickly moved up into 3rd place behind the #552 bike of Fred Karrel, in the final transfer position. On the last lap, Hewitt had set up Karrel perfectly for a pass in the tricky "step on" timing section of the track. The pass worked to perfection as Hunter slid by with ease and went on to finish 2nd and qualify for the Main Event in his first ever Supercross!
The Main Event featured the 20 best East Coast "Lites" riders. Off the start line, the riders battled down the long straightaway, through the tricky chicane section, and into the first set of jumps. By lap 6, Hunter Hewitt worked himself inside the top ten, into 9th place while Branden Jesseman was in 12th. On lap 8, Jacob Saylor tried to keep Jesseman from passing just before the backside triple, and Jesseman went down hard. The next lap, in the same corner, Hewitt went down as he lost the front end in the loose Texas soil moving him back to 12th. Jesseman put on a terrific charge as he moved up six positions in just a few laps. Hunter was in still in 12th when his bike stalled in a tricky corner. Fortunately, this only set him back one position. On lap 13, the CANIDAE Motosport Kawasaki teammates would swap positions, as the #126 rookie succumbed to the crafty veteran on the #74 Kawasaki moving Hewitt back to 14th where he would finish the night. It was a great start to what will be a fantastic career for this young standout. Jesseman, however, was not quite finished as he would gain one more position before the checkered flags flew, ending his night in 12th. Jesseman put on a great effort to stay in the Championship points fight.
Look for the CANIDAE Motosport Kawasaki Race team next week in San Francisco at AT&T Park as round 4 of the West Coast Series resumes for P.J. Larsen and Kyle Cunningham.
About CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods
Founded out of love for pets and animals, CANIDAE Pet Food, Inc. manufactures and distributes a complete line of healthy meat based, holistic all natural dog food, cat food, and gourmet pet treats sold world wide through independent pet food retailers including over 6000 locations throughout the United States and Canada. For more information visit http://www.canidae.com/.