Jacksonville, Fla. – For the last few weeks, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham hasn’t had any problems going fast, it’s just the starts that have been hindering his results. In Jacksonville, he remedied that.
Fast all day through practice and in his heat race, coming from behind to pass a myriad of other top riders, Windham started fourth in the main event, passed Mike Alessi for third, and then pulled away from the rest of the field while the two championship rivals battled out front. The end result was a quiet, but strong, podium finish for the fan-favorite.
“We were struggling at the beginning of the season, and I think that the last few races, I’ve been where I needed to be,” Windham said. “My laptimes have been up on the board, and that’s impressive, and it’s hard to get to, because there are some guys in practice who can do some real glory laps. It’s hard to get up there in this environment, especially when you’re coming from the back. So I know I’ve had the speed. The problem that I’ve been having now is different from the beginning of the year. The GEICO Powersports Honda team has really put their head down and done their homework, and we’re where we need to be. I just needed to get off the line, and tonight was proof of that. The leaders obviously had their own race, but they’re in a category of their own right now. If I can keep getting up there and keep building confidence, I can make a charge up there and be knocking on their door. That’s a tough feat, and it’s almost cocky to say something like that because they’re riding really good, but I’m still building confidence and still getting to where I’m at my most comfortable on the bike. As long as we’re doing that, I’ll continue to build speed.”
Windham has three rounds left to find the additional speed necessary to run with the front two, but he has now moved up to fourth in the points standings.
In the Lites class, St. Louis winner Blake Wharton won his second heat race of the year, and in typical Wharton style, did no celebrating over the finish line.
“It was better than what I did at St. Louis [when he won the main event] – I rolled the thing!” Wharton laughed. “No one’s ever done that before! Maybe I’ll do a fist-pump at Vegas if I win...”
In the main event, though, Wharton got a poor start and was forced to work his way forward. After posting the second-fastest laptime of the race, with only the winner posting a faster one, Wharton was able to battle his way up to fifth.
“My start wasn’t real good, and when you’re back there, everyone’s all over the place, but I made some passes and rode pretty good,” Wharton said. “My laptimes were good, but the track was kind of hard to pass on. But it was a good night. I didn’t crash or anything, and I’m looking forward to Vegas [and the East/West Shootout]. I want to learn from here and go try to win a truck! [Laughs]”
Wharton finished his rookie supercross season fourth in points, only one point out of third (despite missing one main event in the eight-round series), with one win and one additional podium finish.
Daniel Blair had a tough night in Jacksonville. He never felt comfortable all day, but still managed to run near the front much of the night.
“Today was an awkward day for me, just because I wasn’t able to get up to speed as quick as I usually do,” Blair said. “It kind of set me off on the wrong foot. But I was able to make some smart moves during the night, got myself into a good spot in the Heat and got fifth, and in the main, I was able to be smart and stay near the top 10. My experience helped me tonight. On a night when I didn’t feel as good, I was still able to manage to pull around where I normally finish. I’m excited that the season’s over because I’m ready to get to work for the next year, and I know that I have some areas in my program – me, personally – that need to get better. I’m excited because I know what my problems are, and I’m going to fix them.”
Blair will be back with the team for the East/West Shootout in Las Vegas on May 2.
From here, the GEICO Powersports Honda team will get its first weekend off since the beginning of the year before heading to Seattle, Washington, for round 15 of the AMA Supercross Series, and round seven of the Lites Western Regional Supercross Championship, with riders Trey Canard and Dan Reardon scheduled to re-assume racing on April 18 inside Qwest Stadium.
Team Sponsors: GEICO Powersports, Honda, Planet Fitness, Unbound Energy, AM/PM, Factory Connection, Fox, Shoei, Gaerne, DVS, Amsoil Lubricants, Cycra Plastics, Dunlop Tires, EK Chains, Filtron Air Filters, Hinson Clutches, Leatt Brace, One Industries, Pro Circuit, Renthal, Shock Doctor, Showa, TAG Sprockets, Vortex Ignitions, VP Fuels, and Works Connection.
Jacksonville Lites Main:
1. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
2. Wil Hahn KTM
3. Austin Stroupe Kaw
4. Darryn Durham Yam
5. Blake Wharton GEICO Powersports Honda
6. Broc Tickle Yam
7. Branden Jesseman Kaw
8. Matt Lemoine Yam
9. Matt Goerke Suz
10. Steven Clarke Suz
11. Daniel Blair GEICO Powersports Honda
Jacksonville 450cc Main:
1. James Stewart Yam
2. Chad Reed Suz
3. Kevin Windham GEICO Powersports Honda
4. Josh Hill Yam
5. Andrew Short Hon
6. Mike Alessi Suz
7. Tommy Hahn Kaw
8. Kyle Chisholm Yam
9. Heath Voss Hon
10. Billy Laninovich Kaw