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250 Words: St. Louis

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  • Blake Wharton is the latest first time winner for Honda's powerful satellite team
  • Trey Canard shocked the motocross world when he won the East Coast Lites championship over Villopoto
  • Justin Barcia is getting ready for his pro debut
  • Top amateur Eli Tomac is just a little further down the line
When Blake Wharton took the checkered flag ahead of 19 other Lites riders at the St. Louis Supercross, it was historic: A rider hailing from Texas had finally won a 125/250F main event, something that had not happened since the invention of the Lites class 25 years ago. It also marked the second time a rookie rider in the Factory Connection factory-rider assembly line had earned a victory. Like last’s sensation Trey Canard, who won four mains for what’s now called the GEICO Powersports Honda team, Wharton was picked up by the Honda-backed Factory Connection team before his 16th birthday. He was groomed to be what he’s already become: a supercross/motocross contender. The kid laid down 15 perfect laps to earn his first pro win, then thanked everyone who ever helped him along the way—something that every first-time should do.

Looking ahead, there are two more young prospects on their way up in the Factory Connection farm system. Justin Barcia has already declare his intent to go straight into the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships, rather than wait until after Loretta Lynn’s in August like most do. There’s a lot of buzz building about this kid and the way he’s riding right now, but because he skipped the two big amateur races in Texas over the past fortnight (and was nowhere near the terrible behavior between KTM prospects and their parents). He will be a huge question mark when he shows up at Glen Helen, just like incoming GP riders Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle.

And even further down the road comes Eli Tomac, the next rider on deck in the Factory Connection assembly line. His time to turn pro will come sometime next year.

{LINKS}Will either of these kids make it to the winner’s circle? Based on what we saw of Trey Canard last year and Blake Wharton on Saturday night, chances are pretty good they both will—and sooner than later.

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