CARLSBAD, Calif. – Unbound Energy-backed rookie ESX Lites class sensation Blake Wharton stole the ESX Lites Atlanta show on Saturday – literally – as his main event comeback effort was the focus of CBS television cameras and much commentary from announcers Ralph Shaheen and Jeff Emig.
Round two of the ESX Lites championship chase was a big one – playing out in front of nearly 70,000 fans at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. Wharton started out a bit slow, recording the 10th fastest time in practice (53.172) and then transferred to the main with a so-so 8th place finish in his heat – some 32 seconds off the pace of heat winner Austin Stroupe. And all this after teammate Brett Metcalfe was sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered during the Atlanta practice.
“My team got me fired up before the main and I went in there and raced like I had nothing to lose,” said Wharton, who’s competing in his ESX rookie year. “My Unbound Energy/Geico Powersports/Honda was dialed and I just raced it as fast as I could, almost made the podium there in the end!”
Starting back barely inside the top ten after the first lap, Wharton kicked down about halfway through the race and elevated his pace, getting past Will Hahn first then, a couple lap later, setting up and passing former ESX champion veteran Branden Jesseman and third-year pro Matt Lemoine.
“He (Wharton) looked like a seasoned veteran coming through all those riders,” said Emig of Wharton’s run.
Wharton would come thisclose to making his first-ever AMA Supercross podium, getting past Davalos and into podium position (3rd) on the second-to-last lap, only to get edged by veteran veteran at the wire. Definitely the best race of the night if you go by what the announcers were saying!
As for Metcalfe, who entered Atlanta in 2nd place in the overall points chase (behind Christophe Pourcel), team officials confirmed a collar bone injury – the severity of which will figured out following Metcalfe’s MRI today.
Round nine of the 2009 supercross is scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 28, at Indianapolis’ new Lucas Oil Stadium. For more information on supercross visit www.supercrosssonline.com And for the latest reports and features on the Geico Powersports/Honda Team – fueled by Unbound Energy – check back often to www.unboundenergy.com
Make your own rules…live outside the lines. Unbound Energy, Unbound Lo-Carb Energy and the new Unbound Energy + Juice are available in 16 oz. cans at BP, am/pm retail and CVS locations, with more locations being added every day!
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