Racer X Notebook: Toronto

Racer X Notebook: Toronto

March 27, 2012 10:50am

Notes by Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo

  • We’ve still got a big battle going for “best of the rest” in the SX Class standings, as just 19 points separate fourth-place Davi Millsaps from eighth-place Jake Weimer. Kevin Windham is just three points behind Millsaps, and Justin Brayton is just one point behind Windham. And with James Stewart’s injury, Millsaps is just eight points behind his teammate for third in the standings.


  • Stewart was interviewed on the SPEED television broadcast of the race where he revealed he had not only hit his head last week, but also broke his hand and tweaked a few other old injuries. Based on that, we would expect Stewart to at least miss this weekend’s race in Houston. After that race comes the only off-weekend of the season for Easter, which could provide enough time for some riders to come back into the series.

Brayton (left) and Millsaps (right) continue to battle for "best of the rest" title.
James Lissimore photo

  • Stewart’s brother Malcolm looked fast in qualifying with the fourth-fastest time. But crashes and struggles left him 13th in the Lites main. But Justin Bogle qualified first in the Lites class, and had his share of problems too. More on that later.


  • Wil Hahn took the reigns of the Honda Muscle Milk 450 from Cole Seely, who will return to practicing on his 250 for a run at the Lites West Championship. Hahn started his first 450 SX race ever in the best fashion possible—by grabbing the holeshot in his heat race. Hahn is just coming off of a hip injury, so he certainly had his work cut out for him. He dropped a few spots in his heat, and then finished tenth in the main event.


  • Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Broc Tickle has had an up and down season. He's gone from missing the main in Phoenix to finishing as high as eighth place, but in recent weeks, seems to have leveled off with three eighth place finishes in a row.


  • Struggles continue for Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett—and there is still no explanation. A few weeks ago we asked Blake if he knew what was wrong, or if he was struggling with an injury of some sort, and he didn’t make any excuses, and said he is healthy. After a bad start in Toronto he was fighting into the top ten—still subpar for a rider of Baggett’s stature—but then crashed. He finished 15th.

Inconsistency continues to plauge Blake Baggett.
James Lissimore photos

  • Baggett’s teammate Darryn Durham had troubles as well. He washed out and crashed while battling hard with Blake Wharton for third, and fell back to sixth. A late pass on Shawn Rife put him into fifth.


  • And Rife probably had the heartbreak of the night. A slow start to the season saw Rife miss the three of the first four mains of the year. But he turned the corner in Indy, scoring his first top ten of the year. At Toronto, he was shooting for the top five until Durham put a hard pass on him, putting him on the ground. Although a 19th place finish will show up on the results page, it surely doesn’t tell the story of the great ride Rife put together.


  • MotoConcepts' Jake Canada continues to surge. Canada scored a career best seventh in Dallas, only to top it two weeks later in St. Louis with a 6th. He matched that the next week in Daytona, and topped it once again in Indy with a 5th. In Toronto, Canada continued to climb the Lites food chain besting his previous career high (5th) with a 4th in the Lites main. Canada now sits fifth in points, twelve behind Ken Roczen. Based on these strong rides, we hear Canada has already resigned with the MotoConcepts team for 2013.


  • Canada’s MotoConcepts teammate, Tommy Weeck, also had a career night in Toronto, notching a career high 7th in the Lites main. It was Weeck’s second top-ten in three weeks after making his season debut at Daytona. (Weeck missed the first three rounds of the series with a concussion).

Tommy Weeck had a career night in Toronto.
James Lissimore photo

  • MotoConcepts wasn’t the only team to achieve success North of the Border. The Eleven10 Mods duo of Alex Martin and Jeff Gibson both had a season high finishes in Toronto with a 6th and 10th, respectfully. Martin’s sixth moved him inside the top ten in points (9th), while Gibson’s tenth marked his first top ten of the year.


  • Joining Martin and Gibson with a seasons best was Ohlins/Langston Motorsports KTM’s AJ Cantanzaro who finished a shade outside the top ten in 11th.


  • AX Champ Tyler Bowers was gunning for his first top-five Lites finish of the season after a solid eighth last weekend in Indy. But he came together with Alex Martin late in the main, and both riders went down. Martin recovered but Bower’s bike was bent up, sending him to the mechanics area. He finished 14th.

  • Crazy night for Justin Bogle, who had a bunch of incidents in his heat race, qualified through the LCQ, and then got off to a terrible start in the main. The rookie GEICO Powersports Honda rider finished 8th.

  • Since missing his first main event of 2012 in Daytona, HRT Racing’s Matt Lemoine has gone on a tear, capping off back-to-back top tens with a ninth in Toronto. Lemoine missed the top ten in the first four rounds of the season, but has now shined a ray of light in what has otherwise been a bleak season.

Wil Hahn scored a top ten in his 450 debut.
James Lissimore photo

  • For Team Tedder/Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dakota Tedder, 2012 has been a struggle. After breaking his wrist during off-season training Tedder was relegated to the East Region Lites class. With only a few weeks to prepare for the season, Tedder struggled early – missing the first five main events of the year. Toronto may have proved to be a turning point for the California native, though. Tedder qualified for his first main of the year, out of his heat race, finishing 16th in the main.


  • Canadian fans were hoping for a great homecoming from pro rookie Cole Thompson, but he hit his head in a practice crash and was knocked out of action for the night. He tweeted that he will return in New Orleans.


  • The hits continue to pile up for J-Star/JDR KTM's PJ Larsen. After a disappointing start to the 2012 season, Larsen is staring down the barrel of a gun loaded with yet another injury. Larsen crashed in a rhythm section in practice injuring his knee and foot. Larsen will undergo further tests this week to determine the extent of his injury.