Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Pourcel Wins Shootout

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, the 2009 ESX Lites champion, stepped up against the world’s best SX Lites class racers when it counted the most in winning this past weekend’s Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Lites Shoot Out at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium at the 17th and final round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

Pourcel led one of the most dominant performances by a Lites team in recent years as all four Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racers, along with capturing the overall title, finished within the top six positions in the East/West Lites Shoot Out final, including Jake Weimer in 4th, Austin Stroupe in 5th and Ryan Morais in 6th.

Pourcel opened the second heat race with a wild 2nd place finish (Stroupe got 1st), shooting off into the Tuff Blocks early in the race while trying to pass rookie Blake Wharton for 2nd place, then losing traction in another situation and almost going down while trying to catch back up to Stroupe. His (Pourcel’s) lap times, however, were ultra-fast and found the lines he’d need to run in the main by putting it all on the line in the heat.

In the opening Lites heat race Morais got to the first turn before anyone, recording the evening’s first holeshot, then quickly threw the lead away when he bobbled in a tricky jump section of the Vegas course and drove his KX250F into some Tuff Blocks before hitting the ground. Morais was able to remount, but he was well back of a top nine transfer spot and had to charge hard from then on through the heat No. 2 checkers.

Fortunately missing piling in to Morais was his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate, Weimer. The ’09 WSX overall runner-up, Weimer pulled out in 3rd place at the start and worked to hold that position on the lengthy 1:03 lap around the Sam Boyd track. And when the checkers flew on the first heat Weimer was within a few seconds of heat Winner Ryan Dungey, and some 21 seconds out front of 4th place rider Justin Brayton. Morais managed to find consistency to go with his speed and battled all the way back to 5th place.

All four Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders would have good gate picks for the East/West Lites main event – and came out of “Monster Alley” within striking distance of the leaders at the end of the long, grass start straight. Pourcel would get the best jump out of the four and attached himself to the two lead Honda bikes (Trey Canard and Blake Wharton), before flat tracking his way past Wharton on the long left-hander leading into Monster Alley. Pourcel then settled in and began to bang out consistent fast lap after fast lap, keeping leader Canard in site, while also keeping an eye on a charging Dungey.

By lap 13 Pourcel was pressuring Canard and the ’08 ESX champ faltered in the whoops, allowing Pourcel and Dungey to go ripping by. The ensuing final laps brought the fans to their feet as Pourcel put the hammer down on Dungey, beating him to the checkers by .419 seconds to win the overall ’09 Lites class bragging rights - as well as the keys to a new Toyota Tundra 4x4 pick up truck.

“That was a good race – I gave it all I’ve got,” said Pourcel. “Thanks a lot to the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team. I’m so happy right now.”

Next up for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racers is the opening round of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Outdoor National MX Championships at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. (May 23).

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