Going for the W: Darryn DurhamThursday, March 29, 2012 | 6:00 AM
GEICO Honda’s strength in Lites SX has garnered a lot of attention this season, with Justin Barcia dominating the East points and Eli Tomac coming within one errant front-wheel drop in the San Diego whoops of doing the same thing out west. In all, Barcia and Tomac have combined for seven wins in 12 Lites races so far. Meanwhile, the mighty Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has just two wins, courtesy of Dean Wilson.
So, Factory Connection Honda’s strength and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s struggles take the most headlines, but that story does overshadow an impressive season for the newest member of the PC team: Darryn Durham.
Sure, Darryn looked like a deserving candidate of a PC ride based on the tremendous speed he showed in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship last summer. But the reality was Durham presented a big risk to the PC team. Speed and talent where there, but Durham had yet to really prove himself with actual results.
With three podiums thus far in 2012, Durham has proven he can handle the pressure of riding for Pro Circuit.
James Lissimore photo
For example, leading into 2012, Durham had raced for three pro seasons but had never even finished on the podium at a supercross or a national. He had also never won an SX heat race, let alone won an outdoor moto. Even his breakout ride last year, where he led at High Point, ended with a fourth-place finish.
Durham’s SX record pre-2012 included just one top-five finish ever (fourth at Jacksonville in 2009), and he missed most of last season’s indoor tour with a broken foot. Then Darryn broke his wrist during the off-season, setting his training back.
Durham certainly has talent, and jumping from full privateer status last year with the Eleven10 Mods team to the most successful Lites team ever is a huge jump. His equipment would be better, but would the pressure get to him? And with consistency dogging him throughout his career, would he be able to become a solid podium finisher?
So far, so good. DD admitted the nerves got him at the East Region Lites opener in Dallas, but he hung on for a second-place finish, his first career podium. Since then, he’s reeled off finishes of 5-4-3-2-5, and his Toronto fifth contained a crash while battling with Blake Wharton for third. Durham has now proven he can handle the pressure and ride with consistency, case closed.
The Nationals loom, and that’s where Darryn will be expected to really do damage. But based on his strong supercross rides this year, it’s certainly possible that Durham can deliver something that the Pro Circuit team really needs right now: a win.
Can Durham get a much needed win for PC this weekend in Houston?
James Lissimore photo
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Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.