Wortham, Tex. – The GEICO Powersports Honda team headed down to Wortham, Texas, for round three of the AMA Pro Motocross Championships, and it was the closest thing to a hometown race for Blake Wharton (from Texas) and Trey Canard (from Oklahoma).
Canard has been up front all year, and as the team left Texas, he still only has one moto finish outside of the top three. At Freestone County Raceway, he got the holeshot in the first moto, but fell, and in probably his best ride of the year (following the crash), he fought his way all the way back up to a strong third-place finish. In moto two, he led for quite a while before finishing second.
“I had the holeshot in the first moto and was leading, and then I crashed, but I got up and I thought I rode with a lot of heart and came back up to third, which I thought was awesome,” Canard said. “Then, in moto two, I got the holeshot again, which was great. I led until nearly halfway before Dungey got around me, and I tried to shadow him for a little bit, and I thought I was actually making time on him, and the [laptime] sheet shows that I was, but then I went off the track and lost big. After that, I never got it back together, and there was only a lap left, so that was the end.”
Still, it was good enough for third overall, and he’s still third in points.
His teammate Brett Metcalfe had a good weekend as he continues to improve physically, racing himself into shape.
“Coming into this weekend, I think I improved physically by maybe 10 percent, but I think just getting the two first nationals out of the way, each weekend is getting better for me,” Metcalfe said. “With Texas being pretty hot and humid, I was pretty happy with the way I handled it, and I felt like at the first two nationals, I’d get to the 15-20-minute mark, and I’d be fatigued, but this weekend I felt a lot better and improved on that. It’s not going to be much longer and I’ll be where I need to be. Also, with the bike setup, we’re improving that each weekend, and I’m getting more comfortable. With it being only the fourth race I’ve had on the Honda, and working with these new people, it takes a little bit of time to adapt and understand the bike and how everything works.”
Metcalfe started near the front in the first moto and stayed there for most of the moto before Canard got him at the end of the moto for third. Then, in moto two, Metcalfe was working his way forward before coming together with another rider and going down.
“The first moto, I got another good start, and I didn’t get the best of jumps, but I just kept it on a little bit and actually came out second, which was cool,” Metcalfe said. “I was right behind Trey and I really wanted to get a good start in that moto and try to run a good pace early and break away from the pack a little bit, and I did exactly that. Then Trey went down, and I was running third and I was happy with the way I was riding, and I think Searle was all over me, and Blake, and Trey as well, but I just stayed focused and didn’t make any mistakes, which was all I needed to do. Then Trey got on me and actually passed me with two laps to go, so I ended up fourth. It was a good moto for me, and after that moto, I felt like we could make a bike change to help me in my turns a little bit, so for the second moto, we did that. I got a really bad start that time, though – but it was my first bad start of the whole year, so I can’t complain. But I think I was ninth on the first lap, and I picked off a guy every lap until I was fifth, and I was behind Searle, and I wanted to keep that momentum going, and I made a move around the outside of him in a turn, and the lines crossed, and we raced to the intersection there, and I lost. I went down and dropped back to 10th and had to make my way back through the guys I’d just passed. I got back to seventh, and that’s where I finished.”
Metcalfe was fourth overall on the day.
Wharton was hampered by a fall just like Canard, but it also didn’t stop him from being near the front of the pack.
“The first moto was good. I had a decent start – about sixth – and it was a pretty good battle with everyone, and I got up to fourth, which was pretty good,” Wharton said. “But then I went down toward the end of the moto in the back section, but I kept the bike running and got up for seventh in that moto, which was pretty good for a fall. The second moto, I got an even better start, and I was right there with the top three, and I passed into third and just rode my own race. I had a pretty big lead on the rest, and I was a ways behind the other guys, so I was kind of in no-man’s land, but I rode a good race. It was tough. The track was tough, and it was hot, and it was pretty difficult, so I’m happy.”
Wharton was fifth overall. Three of GEICO Powersports Honda’s four 250cc riders were in the top five at the event. Who was missing? Rookie sensation Justin Barcia, who fell on the opening lap of the first moto and got going again absolutely last – by a large margin – and then caught up from 40th to 14th before he went down hard, dropping out of the moto. He hit his head and bit his lip, but made a go of it in moto two anyway. But it was a bit too much for him and he eventually finished 26th.
In the 450 class, Dan Reardon had another good day overall, with only a couple minor issues.
“It was a big improvement, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing,” Reardon said. “We finished today off good, but the second practice, we had to make a last-minute change and I only got like two laps worth of practice in. The first moto didn’t go so good. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I got a bad start, and then I kept twisting my grip and the wire started coming off and was digging into my fingers, and then it got stuck in my glove and I couldn’t take my hand off the grip, and then I crashed with a half-lap to go. I finished about 11th or 12th or something. Then, the second moto, I turned it all around, got a good start for once, and I think I was in second for over half of the race. It felt really good to be up there, and the start makes the difference. So far, I just want to keep improving every round, and that’s what I’ve done this weekend, and hopefully you’ll see that red machine further and further up front.”
Reardon went 12-4 for sixth overall. After moto two, he looked exhausted, but it was mainly because he got so excited running up front in the beginning of the race.
“It was hot out here, but I think I worked myself up just being in the position I was in, and I was just revving bad the last few laps, and it hurt me really bad,” Reardon said. “But I feel all right now, and at least I tried my hardest, so hopefully I can keep it rolling along.”
From here, the GEICO Powersports Honda team heads east to Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, for round four of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at High Point Raceway.
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.
Freestone 250cc Overall:
1. Ryan Dungey Suz
2. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
3. Trey Canard GEICO Powersports Honda
4. Blake Wharton GEICO Powersports Honda
5. Brett Metcalfe GEICO Powersports Honda
6. Tommy Searle KTM
7. Tyla Rattray Kaw
8. Broc Tickle Yam
9. Darryn Durham Yam
10. Kyle Cunningham Kaw
Freestone 450cc Overall:
1. Mike Alessi Suz
2. Andrew Short Hon
3. Chad Reed Suz
4. Ivan Tedesco Hon
5. Ricky Dietrich Kaw
6. Dan Reardon GEICO Powersports Honda
7. Michael Byrne Suz
8. Cody Cooper Yam
9. Weston Peick Hon
10. Justin Brayton Kaw