CORONA, Calif. - Monster Energy's Jason Lawrence (Boost/ampm/Troy Racing) fought back from an early race crash to place 5th in the opening round of his WSX Lites title defense - round one of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship - this past Saturday night at Anaheim's (Calif.) Angel Stadium.
Lawrence, running a Monster Energy decaled Yamaha YZ250F, opened the WSX season in a huge way - winning the second of two Lites class heat races by two seconds over Australian Dan Reardon. With a prime gate pick for the main, Lawrence dumped the clutch as the gate dropped and looked for a moment like he'd grab the holeshot, settling instead on about 4th place coming out of the first turn.
On the gas and up into 3rd place heading into turn two, Lawrence had it pinned all the way into the corner. But in the tacky dirt his rear tire hooked up more than he'd expected and, instead of kicking around, it ended up taking out ESX champ Trey Canard - and Lawrence in the process.
"Canard, man, I saw him and there was nothing I could do - totally my fault," said Lawrence. "Honestly he's the last person on the track I wanted to do something to. So it's unfortunate."
Lawrence got up and was able to get going again (as did Canard), but was well back in the pack - not to mention having to get back into race mode after taking some time off. Given all that, Lawrence's lap times got faster as the race progressed and he was within less than a half second of the contest's fastest lap time by Ryan Dungey (1:02.0 to 1:02.4). Lawrence would get by Jeff Alessi and Justin Brayton before catching and passing a fast Ryan Sipes with two laps to go for some valuable WSX championship points with the 5th place finish.
"Luckily I was able to get those guys - that was huge," added Lawrence.
Flying the Monster Energy colors in the premier SX class to top ten success were Nick Wey (Boost/ampm/Monster Energy/Troy Racing) and Monster Energy/Cernic's/Kawasaki's Paul Carpenter. Neither rider pulled that great of the start (both outside the top 15), but used their veteran experience to make up time quick and consistently. Wey, who was in 14th after the first lap, would reach the top ten midway through the 20-lap contest. He'd hold that position and end up 9th.
Carpenter would have to fight his way to the top ten from even further back in the pack (17th out of 20 racers after the first lap), but did so quite well as the defending Monster Energy Supercross top privateer. "My bike worked awesome," said Carpenter. "I just couldn't get my starts down all night, which is something I need to work on. I felt really good going into the main event and I know I should have finished better. There are a lot of races left, though, and I know we'll be up there."
Next up on the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross tour is round two at Phoenix's Chase Field this Saturday.
Monster Energy supports the sport. Be it SX, rally, insane distance jumping, MX, MotoGP, road racing, supermoto, off-road, FMX, skate, MTB, wake, mini bikes, surf, snow, BMX - name it - the athletes are rockin' Monster Energy more than anything these days. Check out all the types - Original Monster Energy, Monster Lo-Carb, Monster Assault, Monster Khaos, Monster's fruit juice hybrid dubbed "M-80," the party- friendly MIXXD, the ground-breaking Java Monster premium coffee & cream drink line supercharged with our Monster Energy blend, along with the new Monster Energy "Hitman" energy shot. JLaw, Wey, Carpenter, Hill & Kiniry dig 'em - so will you. On the 'Net at www.monsterarmy.com and www.monsterenergy.com