Southwick can and usually does present unique issues for the racers on national weekend. It’s the only strictly sand track on the circuit, so fuel is sometimes an issue (as it was last weekend in the 450cc class), and on quite a few occasions, Mitch Payton’s dominant Pro Circuit team has come out with goose eggs because of mechanical failures. Last year’s national at Southwick likely cost Pro Circuit’s Chris Pourcel the championship, as he had a DNF in moto one due to mechanical failure, and then had a horrible moto two to follow that up.
This year’s looked like it was going to end the same for Pourcel after the first moto. Championship rival Trey Canard went out and won that race, pulling in 25 points, while Pourcel finished a lackluster seventh. Pourcel’s 16-point lead turned into a five-point lead going into moto two.
However, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Off the line, Pourcel did his part, cutting in front of Canard and putting him behind, while Pourcel started near the front. Pourcel ended up finishing third in the moto, while Canard struggled back in the pack, and then faded in the last few laps and lost a couple more positions. Canard ended up ninth.
It was a dodged bullet for Pourcel. He went from 16 points up, to only five, then back up to 13 with four motos left.
For Canard, the positive note is that he had such an off moto and still gained three points on Pourcel, but it was an opportunity missed.