Anaheim, CA - What better way to celebrate the first big rain storm of the season than at the opening round of the AMA Supercross FIM Championship Series in Anaheim, CA?
Due to heavy rainstorms, AMA officials paused the regular schedule not allowing riders to practice until 5:00pm. This assured the track would be in the best possible conditions for the night show.
Shortly after practice the MDK KTM riders suited up for their heats. Justin Brayton on the #114 MDK KTM 250SX-F machine was first up in Heat #1. Brayton was in third position after turn one. It was a three way battle around the course the first lap as riders aggressively diced back and forth. Brayton eventually moved up to second behind Suzuki's Ryan Dungey. Brayton settled into second safely qualifying into the main.
Brayton's teammate, MDK KTM Lites rider Billy Laninovich
, was not as fortunate. He got off to an okay start around the first turn but clipped another rider while trying to double the first triple. He remounted from his crash, a lap down, struggling to fight his way through the pack in the thick mud. He was unable to catch back up to the pack in the remaining laps and was sent to the last chance qualifier.
Next up was MDK KTM Factory rider Nick Wey in Heat #1 of the Supercross class. Wey had a mid pack start and charged hard through the mud as he began to catch and pass his competitors. He was able to grab a hold of seventh position by the end of the heat which earned him a direct transfer to the main event.
In the last chance qualifier Laninovich suffered a bad start near the end of the pack. As he began moving forward he bobbled in a section and suffered an unfortunate crash. He was able to remount but by that time the race had ended and he wasn't able to qualify to the main.
After a break for track maintenance the crowd was on their feet ready for the gate drop on the Lites class. Brayton who qualified fourth into the main had a great gate position. When the board turned sideways he flew out of the gate and managed to come out fourth around the first turn. Within the first lap he moved from fourth to second and then back again as he and the other riders battled side by side over each obstacle. It was a six way battle for the lead for the first seven laps. Brayton was able to capitalize on the other riders mistakes and he continued to ride smooth and consistently within the top three. Near the second half of the race the top six began to spread out and Brayton had a solid hold on his third place position. When the checkered flag dropped it was Dungey who took home the win, followed by Jason Lawrence
in second and MDK KTM Lites rider Justin Brayton
rounding out the podium on his orange machine.
"Brayton had a good first race. He has been working hard and it shows. It is no surprise to me that he finished on the podium; it is exactly what I expected of him. Laninovich had a rough ride tonight suffering a couple crashes, but I know it will encourage him to come back harder next week in Phoenix. The support of KTM and their crew has been tremendous so far and we are happy to be a part of this program," commented MDK KTM Team Manager Danny Paladino after the main event.
As the gate dropped for the Supercross main event the 450s charged hard toward the first turn. Nick Wey came around in seventh. He soon passed into the top five. The battle was strong the first few laps as he and the other riders swapped positions back and forth. On lap six Wey accidentally stalled the bike while in 5th place. He got it started again but had dropped back to 11th. For the remainder of the race he continued to push forward moving into the top ten with four laps to go. He managed to get up to ninth when the checkered flag dropped. "I think Nick rode well tonight. It was unfortunate that he stalled the bike and lost a few positions but his speed was there. Now that he has the first race out of the way I believe he will be a top runner next week," stated MDK KTM Factory Team Manager Steve Lamson after the main event.
With two top ten finishes at the opening round it was a good night for KTM. Congratulations to the MDK KTM riders for a great start to the 2008 Supercross season!
Supercross Lites Results:
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Jason Lawrence
3. Justin Brayton - KTM
4. Dan Reardon
5. Austin Stroupe
1. Chad Reed
2. James Stewart
3. Tim Ferry
4. Grant Langston
5. Kevin Windham
6. Mike Alessi
7. Davi Millsaps
8. Andrew Short
9. Nick Wey - KTM
10. David Vuillemin