Millville, Minn. – For round seven of the AMA Pro Motocross Championships, the GEICO Powersports Honda team rolled into Millville, Minnesota, with four riders – Justin Barcia, Brett Metcalfe, Blake Wharton and fill-in rider Alex Martin.
Martin’s family owns the track, and he had an opportunity to race as a full-on team rider for the weekend.
After quite a struggle, the leader and second-place finisher found their way by Barcia, and he settled in for another third place.
“It was nice to bring my consistency back, and I think a lot of that had to do with my starts,” Barcia said. “I haven’t been getting very good starts lately, and working my way through the pack hasn’t been working for me. It makes it a lot easier when you get the holeshot and run in the top couple spots. I was in the lead in the second moto and Dungey and Pourcel got around me, so that wasn’t too bad. It was a good weekend, and I was really happy with two thirds and third overall.”
He credits some of the recent improvement in his racing to his team testing with him after the last round in Michigan.
“We did a little bit of testing after RedBud, at RedBud, and we found a few things with the motor and things like that which help me a little better and deliver the power a little better,” Barcia said. “The team has been working really hard, and it all helps a lot.”
His teammate Metcalfe duked it out with Barcia in moto one, but finished fourth. In the second moto, he was never that close to the top three, but finished with a consistent 4-4 on the day.
“My weekend went good,” Metcalfe said. “I got good starts in both motos, and I came into the races feeling pretty confident and comfortable. I definitely wanted to get a top-three finish and run up front. I fell short of that by one spot in each moto, but I felt like I rode pretty good. Everything went well, and a 4-4 is solid for the championship. I couldn’t complain too much. Each moto, we had some good racing going on, and Justin and I had a great battle in the first one. It was good racing.”
Fill-in rider Alex Martin had his best national performance ever. In the first moto, he turned a good start into a strong eighth-place finish.
“It was definitely pretty cool to be on the GEICO Powersports Honda team for the whole weekend,” Martin said. “I had good practice laptimes – ninth-fastest in the first one, and sixth-fastest in the second one, but somehow that made me 12th-fastest overall. I don’t know how that works. But I had a good gate pick coming into the motos, and in the first moto, I got a decent start – the first good start I’ve had all year – and I came out of the first turn in seventh or eight. I made a couple passes in the whoops and got up to sixth and I stayed there for about 15 minutes in sixth. But then Tickle, Weimer and Cunningham caught and passed me, but then I ended up catching Tommy Searle and passing him, and we had a cool little battle there. That was pretty cool.”
In the second moto, Martin was still a little fatigued from the first one, but still managed a 12th-place finish – still far better than any other moto finish this year, with the exception of the previous one.
“About 20-25 minutes into the first moto, my arms started to get kind of tight,” Martin said. “That bike’s got so much damned power that I was sliding back on the seat a lot and kept having to pull myself forward. I think that was a contributing factor.”
He finished a strong 11th overall.
Blake Wharton had a tough weekend, with a fluke electrical problem costing him on the line in moto one. In the second moto, though, he was up front until a fall on the second lap saw him come through from dead last to 19th.
“In the second moto, I got a pretty good start, and I was fourth, and on the second lap I crashed going down a downhill,” Wharton said. “I took a line I shouldn’t have taken, and I thought maybe I would’ve known about that had I raced the first moto. I wasn’t that familiar with the track. So then I had to play catch-up, and I caught up to like 19th from dead last. I got some points, but it was a disappointing weekend for me.”
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.
Millville 250cc Overall:
1. Ryan Dungey Suz
2. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
3. Justin Barcia GEICO Powersports Honda
4. Brett Metcalfe GEICO Powersports Honda
5. Broc Tickle Yam
6. Jake Weimer Kaw
7. Kyle Cunningham Kaw
8. Matt Lemoine Yam
9. Darryn Durham Yam
10. Tommy Searle KTM
11. Alex Martin GEICO Powersports Honda