East Region riders Ricky Renner and Vernon McKiddie make
debut in Houston at Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Third East Region rider, Tevin Tapia, is on the mend after a broken and dislocated wrist
HOUSTON - Team Violation1.com/Shea Racing/Travisa/National Switchgear, powered by Munn Racing KTM, participated in the first round of the East Region Lites series of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, this past Saturday in its hometown of Houston. This was the debut of new team rider Ricky Renner and returning rider Vernon McKiddie who competed in his first race on a KTM 250 SX-F.
Reliant Stadium in Houston is up the road from Shea Racing’s shop. One of the regular stops on the AMA Supercross tour, this round on Saturday, February 12, featured a tough track with limited spots for passing. As was true in all five previous rounds, the athletes competed in front of a capacity crowd.
Team Violation1.com/Shea Racing/Travisa/National Switchgear's Tevin Tapia was not in attendance, as expected, to make his AMA Supercross Lites East Region debut for the team. A few days prior to the race, Tapia of Boney Lake, Wash., broke and dislocated his wrist while preparing for the race. It is not yet clear when he will return to action.
Both Renner of Lakeland, Fla. and McKiddie of Huffman, Texas qualified for their first night program of the season on their KTM 250 SX-F race bikes, outfitted with DR.D Ti/Carbon exhausts. That set the stage for the heat races.
McKiddie on his #129 KTM 250 SX-F was lined up for heat race one decked out in his FLY Racing gear. During qualifying he had shaved more than two seconds off his lap times. Set to go, McKiddie had a solid start. During the six-lap heat he jockeyed for position, running as high as ninth place, which would have been enough to transfer directly to the main event, before he crashed. McKiddie rebounded and finished 13th at the checkers. He would move on to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).
Renner, who was in the top 15 in Supercross Lites qualifying, was ready for action in heat two. On his #94 Munn Racing KTM 250 SX-F, motor breathed by DT-1 Filters, he had a solid start as well. He got mired in traffic on the difficult-to-pass-on track and finished 16th. Renner would head to the LCQ too.
Renner and McKiddie made minor bike set-up changes back in the Shea Racing team pit and rolled to the line for the LCQ. The four-lap race is a dash. Athletes have to ride their bikes like a bullet train to earn one of the two transfer spots. Both Team Violation1.com/Shea Racing/Travisa/National Switchgear riders experienced mediocre starts. When the checkers flew, McKiddie crossed the line in eighth place. Meanwhile, Renner had a more eventful race crashing with another rider. Renner's arm landed on top of the other bike causing enough pain that he could not finish the race. He suffered a few cuts and bruises though he'll be ready for the next Supercross Lites East Region round in Atlanta.
“Each time we have a down weekend we learn something new to make improvements,” said Tim Shea, team manager. “It all started with Tevin [Tapia] being injured. Then, we were pumped when both our riders improved their lap times in qualifying. Ricky [Renner] earned the 12th quickest time, which was the best in our team’s history. The heats and LCQ didn’t go exactly our way, though Vernon [McKiddie] showed in his heat race he could compete for a transfer to the main. There is much more racing ahead – seven rounds for our guys to improve. Our crew and sponsors will do what we can to get them into the main. Ricky and Vernon will have a weekend off to rest then in two weeks we go to the Georgia Dome.”
Shea continued, “We turn the page this weekend back to the West Region for one more round before the East Region stretch. We’re excited for Casey Hinson to continue his streak of transferring out of the heats directly to the main, and make further improvement in his results this Saturday in San Diego. It will be a one-rider show for us at Qualcomm Stadium with Austin Howell recovering from injury until Seattle.”
Team Violation1.com/Shea Racing/Travisa/National Switchgear, powered by Munn Racing KTM, will head to round seven of Monster Energy AMA Supercross on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. This is round six of eight of the Supercross Lites West Region. Fans attend the event to see West Region Lites athlete Casey Hinson #149 on his DeCal Works-emblazoned KTM 250 SX-F race bike with body fueled by PowerBar. During the pit party stop by the cannot-miss team’s purple and yellow semi hauler to meet the riders and the Violation Goggles girls. Keep posted to the team at www.sheamoto.com.