Houston, TX. (February 12, 2011) The AMA Supercross series went to the mid west over the weekend, and a huge crowd of 45,859 fans filled Houston, Texas’ Reliant Stadium. DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha came in and showcased their three East coast contingents for the first time this season, consisting of #25 Ryan Sipes, #387 Gareth Swanepoel, and rookie #533 Gannon Audette. The day started out fairly well for the Yamaha backed riders, with Sipes putting down an impressive lap time as 1st fastest, followed by Audette 4th, and Swanepoel netted 12th in timed qualifying.
Slated into Heat #1, Audette had been feeling confident all day and it showed when he reeled off a great start and settled into the 5th spot. Swanepoel bulldogged his way through the tight turn one and established himself inside of the top ten. Both riders maintained impressive showings through the race, but unfortunately Swanepoel swapped out in the whoop section and that ended his race. Audette went on to comfortably gain experience, qualifying 7th. In Heat #2, Sipes nearly got knocked down in the first turn. Immediately, Sipes started to apply pressure to move forward with raw speed, and even closed in on the race leaders. After filing back into the 4th position following a few mistakes, Sipes regained his composure and had some luck on his side for sure. The #25 machine riding solidly continued to the finish in the 4th spot. Swanepoel’s night progressively got worse as a crash in the LCQ’s first turn, resulted in harsh close to his debut.
When the gate dropped in the main event, this time Sipes was forced to sneak around the inside of the first turn in order to come out near the front of the field, meanwhile Audette was mired back in 13th. Upfront, holding down 5th on lap one, Sipes wasted no time in getting out front and near the top three. Racing with the lead group, Ryan was once again establishing himself as a contender by holding his own and challenging for the 3rd place position. Lap eight saw a minor setback after he missed his timing in a rhythm section, causing a slip of a little time. Not backing down one bit; he began to put his fitness to use and with only a handful of laps remaining until the checkers Sipes continued with lots of effort and drove in a hard pass for 3rd, a collision ensued and both of them went down. Jumping back on the still running machine, Sipes would go on to a stellar finish of 4th. Audette hung tough avoiding any huge mishaps, going to place 13th at the conclusion of his first ever professional race.
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