Houston, Tex. – The Houston Supercross brought the excitement of the start of a new series, as the Lites Eastern Regional Supercross Championship kicked off inside Reliant Stadium, and the GEICO Powersports Honda team brought Brett Metcalfe and rookie Blake Wharton along for the ride.
For Metcalfe, it was his first race with the team, and he came in as one of the favorites. After being near the top in times during qualifying, he went out and won his Heat race, setting him up for a good gate pick in the main event.
In the main, he got a decent, but not great, start and worked his way through the pack, eventually finishing a very close to the race winner in second place.
“It was exciting for me,” Metcalfe said. “I was a little bit nervous at first in the practices, but I was really happy with how the two practices went, and times were pretty decent. I was happy with my start in the Heat race, and I came out with a win, and that was really cool, so I kind of had the feeling that I could ride well tonight, and if everything goes well, we could be on the box. We pulled that off with a win in the Heat race and second in the main.”
His rookie teammate had to run in the unseeded practices during the day, but then came out in the races ready to do battle. In his Heat, he finished a strong fourth, and then in the main, he started at the tail end of the top five, and after some jostling of positions, he finished there as well.
“It was new, and I didn’t really know what to expect, but overall, it went good,” Wharton said. “I stayed off the ground, and I felt like I rode good, and now I have three weeks to work on some stuff and get ready for Atlanta. But I’m happy how it ended up.”
It took him a while to adjust to the track, and the dirt, but he adjusted well for his very first supercross.
“I don’t think most of the obstacles were very tricky,” Wharton said. “There were tricky sections, for sure. There was technical stuff, but nothing that I think would be too hard. Obviously, people were crashing, but I stayed off the ground, so I think I did pretty good. The Honda track has some technical stuff, so when you go the races, sometimes it’s good that you ride on some of the hard stuff, because it can make the races seem easy. The track was tricky because it was tight and had some sections that I don’t think I’ve ever seen – but then again, I don’t really know, because this was my first supercross...”
In the 450cc class, Kevin Windham had a tough day. After finishing third in his Heat, he went into the main event optimistic, but the start was key, and he didn’t get it. He started outside of the top 15 and had to work his way through the field on the tight, one-lined circuit. He finished ninth.
“It was nice to be back home, and I was home this week and around my friends and family here at the race,” Windham said. “I felt like I had some good sections in practice, and I’m never really a strong rider in practice. But once the night program and the main came, I never gave myself a chance with the poor start... People last week said the track was one-lined, but I think this one kind of took the cake, so it was tough to make passes, and to be honest, it was the hardest I ever rode for ninth place. It was pretty disappointing to come across ninth.”
From here, the GEICO Powersports Honda team heads San Francisco, California, for round five of the AMA Supercross Series, and round four of the Lites Western Regional Supercross Championship, on January 31st inside AT&T Park.
Team Sponsors: GEICO Powersports, Honda, Planet Fitness, Unbound Energy, AM/PM, Factory Connection, Fox, Shoei, Gaerne, DVS, Amsoil Lubricants, Cycra Plastics, Dunlop Tires, EK Chains, Filtron Air Filters, Hinson Clutches, Leatt Brace, One Industries, Pro Circuit, Renthal, Shock Doctor, Showa, TAG Sprockets, Vortex Ignitions, VP Fuels, and Works Connection.
Houston Lites Main:
1. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
2. Brett Metcalfe GEICO Powersports Honda
3. Nico Izzi Suz
4. Austin Stroupe Kaw
5. Blake Wharton GEICO Powersports Honda
6. Wil Hahn KTM
7. Martin Davalos KTM
8. Darryn Durham Yam
9. Daniel Blair Hon
10. Matt Goerke Suz
Houston 450cc Main:
1. James Stewart Yam
2. Chad Reed Suz
3. Ryan Villopoto Kaw
4. Andrew Short Hon
5. Josh Grant Yam
6. Ivan Tedesco Hon
7. Mike Alessi Suz
8. Timmy Ferry Kaw
9. Kevin Windham GEICO Powersports Honda
10. Davi Millsaps Hon