Monster Energy Supercross Update: Toronto

CORONA, Calif. – Monster Energy’s Christophe Pourcel (Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) has clinched the overall Eastern Regional Supercross Lites (ESX) championship, winning this past weekend’s Toronto Lites class main event - and giving Mitch Payton’s team its 24th championship - with one ESX Lites race remaining on the 2009 Monster AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, schedule.

Pourcel, who was absolutely masterful in his performance at Toronto’s Rogers Center, topped Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Austin Stroupe – who placed 2nd at Toronto.

“The hook up with Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki and me made for a very good team,” said the Frenchman Pourcel. “Everybody pushed me and Kawasaki was behind me every time. I was able to come back from an injury so yeah, it’s good.”

Entering the first heat race with the third-fastest qualifying practice time (53.476) – which was a second-and-a-half slower than Stroupe’s top Lites class practice time – Pourcel made it very clear right away that he was going to do everything in his power to get the bad luck monkey off his back that had dogged him the past couple weeks.

Getting out in 2nd place in his heat, before you could say “Pro Circuit-tuned KX250F,” Pourcel had passed Kyle Keylon and was in 1st place and haulin’ – bringing home the heat one win by three seconds over former ESX champ Branden Jesseman.

“I’m really happy tonight,” said Pourcel of his third heat race win of the season. “I got up good on the start and I will try to do that in the main as well.”

In the second Lites heat race at Toronto Stroupe got held up at the start, a race that was led momentarily by Monster Energy/Cernic’s/Kawasaki’s #82, Jack Carpenter. Coming back from around 5th place, Stroupe got on his dragon and tripled past rival Nico Izzi in a section where Izzi could only manage to double. Stroupe, now in 2nd place, then got up on heat leader Matt Lemoine and was poised to pass him in the same section where he blitzed past Izzi – but was held up due to yellow flags (downed rider) and had to back off  his charge, settling for 2nd in his heat.

With his mom in from France to cheer him on in the Toronto SX Lites main, Pourcel pulled another great start and passed Broc Tickle for the lead two turns into the contest. Stroupe would get held up a bit and emerged in around 8th place after the first lap.

By the third lap Stroupe had made his way up to 3rd place and was running a 10th –of-a-second faster than Pourcel, but having to deal with traffic. Stroupe would get by Tickle by lap five for 2nd place, but was still some 5.3 seconds behind Pourcel.

From laps eight through 15 Pourcel would keep that five-second lead constant, even lapping Izzi with four laps to go. And while Stroupe would hold strong onto 2nd place, it was Pourcel’s fist that would be thrust into the air when the checkers flew on the finish line jump.

Note: Everyone at Monster Energy would like to send a big congrats not only to Christophe, but also to Pro Circuit boss Payton and his wife, Kristen, on the recent birth of their twin boys – Ty and Tanner!

In the SX class Monster Energy’s Josh Hill (Yamaha) was past due on delivering a podium finish, running into all sorts of bad luck the past few weeks despite posting some of the faster lap times in the entire SX class. Hill would work hard to change that streak and came back from a mid-pack start to pass a series of factory racers to place 3rd at Toronto.

“I’m pumped for the team and my sponsors,” said Hill. “We’ve all worked real hard to pull things together and we were finally able to break through with a podium this weekend. We’ll continue to work hard to try and make a couple more podiums before the year’s up and carry that momentum into the outdoor season.”

Hill opened the Toronto SX class racing with a 4th place finish in the second heat race, passing fellow Yamaha team rider Broc Hepler for the spot. In that same heat Hill’s Monster Energy teammates Jason Lawrence (Boost Mobile/ampm/Monster/Troy Racing) and Paul Carpenter (Monster/Cernic’s/Kawasaki) would place 6th and 8th, respectively, to transfer to the main.

Boost Mobile/ampm/Monster Energy/Troy Racing’s Nick Wey, who would miss the ninth and final transfer spot in the first heat race (placing 10th), put on one of the night’s better battles when he and Heath Voss went bar-to-bar in the LCQ – with Wey winning out over his former Mach 1/Yamaha teammate for 2nd place and the last transfer spot to the Toronto SX main.

In the SX main Lawrence was a curious no-show, the result of taking a rock off the hand in practice and what he felt would be his inability to hold onto the bars for 20 laps. When the gate dropped and the flying debris cleared after the first lap, Wey was the only Monster Energy athlete in the top ten (9th). Hill (11th) and Carpenter (18th) were looking to mount charges early.

By the sixth lap Hill was up to 8th place and flying! A lap later he was in 7th place then, on lap eight, Hill pulled a brilliant move to get past both Hepler and Honda’s Andrew Short and into 5th place – absolutely blowing past both factory-backed racers. Hill would then get past Anaheim 1 SX winner Josh Grant and into 3rd place with eight laps to go – and held strong to that position through the checkers.

Wey, hampered by a practice injury, would place 15th and Carpenter would run a couple seconds ahead of him in 14th.

Next up for Monster Energy’s supercross racers is round 14 of Monster Energy Supercross at Jacksonville’s (Fla.) Municipal Stadium (April 4th). For more information on Monster Energy Supercross check out

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