Las Vegas, Nev. – The 2009 AMA Supercross finale was highly charged, and the Dave Coombs Sr. Lites East/West Shootout nearly held to the pattern of wins by underdogs, as GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard put on a charge.
“I felt really confident going into that race, because I’d been there before, whereas the rest of the races on the west, I hadn’t,” Canard said of coming into the Las Vegas Supercross, having finished third in the 2008 running of the event. “I felt like I had a little knowledge going into the night. I wasn’t too stoked on my laptimes in practice, but I knew I was fast. It just kind of bummed me out that I wasn’t on the top of the board, but I felt solid with the way I was riding and how everything was going. I felt like I could put in solid laps. That was good. I was behind Dungey the whole time in my heat race, and I stuck it out there.”
In the main event, Canard started just behind teammate Blake Wharton, in second place, took the lead on lap two, and began to pull away slowly from both the East and West champs.
“In the main, I was feeling good going into it, and I got a second-place start behind Wharton, and I tried to get around him as soon as possible, and from there on, everything was great,” Canard said. “I was good, the bike was good, it was all good, and then with about two and a half laps left, I caught a lapper and tried to square up a little too early and lost traction. It ruined a whole section, and that was the race for me. I’m still beating myself up about it, but there’s nothing I can do now except for learn from my mistakes and move on.”
Canard lost two spots with his mistake with barely two laps to go, but he held on for a strong third-place finish, for the second year in a row.
“Those last three races were so vital for me to go show myself that I can still do some damage,” Canard said. “To get those last three rounds, and to feel like I was one of the fastest guys on the track, that was important for me, and I’m glad I ended it like that. Now I get to go to the outdoors with momentum.”
As was previously mentioned, Wharton grabbed the holeshot in the main, but he struggled in the whoops all night, eventually going down in them while running fourth.
“I got the start, which is good,” Wharton said. “I got the holeshot, and I came down that big straightaway in first with a big lead for the start, which is cool, and I did the first lap in the lead, but there was one set of whoops where I was struggling, and on the second lap, they came up on me, and Trey got me in the whoops right there. I struggled in that section the whole race, and when I was running fourth, I got sideways a little bit and went down in there, and that was pretty much the end of it. I got up and couldn’t do much, and I couldn’t catch up too much, and then I had another mistake that cost me quite a bit of time, but it was an interesting night. I learned a lot from it, and next year, I’ll know what to expect a little more than I did this year. Now I’m just looking forward to going back to the outdoors and making it through there healthy. It was a pretty good season for me, and I had some ups and downs, but I’m happy with how it went.”
Wharton finished 11th, just in front of his replacement teammate Daniel Blair. Blair won the LCQ to go to the main, then rode a strong race on his way to 12th.
“I had an unfortunate accident in the heat race, and I wasn’t able to qualify directly from the heat as a result of that, so I had to ride the LCQ,” Blair said. “They’re definitely kind of scary, even if you are the fastest guy. Four laps is pretty short, and sometimes things go crazy, but my rippin’ GEICO Powersports Honda got me to the first turn first in the LCQ and made life easy. I just sprinted four quick laps and got into the main. I’m pretty excited about that, because it was the final round of the series, and I put in a lot of hard work the last month going into the race to try to have a good performance, and it’s hard to have a good performance when you’re in the seats. I was able to win and beat some decently fast guys behind me, and in the main, I got a really bad start, but I had a really aggressive first lap and caught up to the middle of the pack. I was able to ride almost 15 full laps wide-open. I got a little fatigued at the very end and I was riding a faster pace than I normally do, battling with Wil Hahn, Tickle and my teammate Wharton, and usually those guys are just a notch in front of me. I made a big improvement over the last month, and I’m glad. I can see it, and overall, I’m happy with the way the series ended, and I’m happy I was able to finish out reasonably strong.”
In the 450cc class, Kevin Windham put in a charge from a so-so start to grab fourth pretty early in the race, where he would eventually finish.
“The start wasn’t that good, and with Reed and James playing that cat-and-mouse game, I wish I could’ve gotten up to them, but it was just kind of a fitting end to my season, you know?” Windham said. “It was kind of lackluster, which was what we’ve been dealing with. Last year, when it ended, I was kind of relieved because of the stress of the championship. Obviously, I didn’t win it, but still, it was like, ‘Whew, it’s finally over,’ but this year, I felt like we were finally getting to where we needed to be, and I was getting some momentum going, and it all goes back to not having a good off-season going back to the end of 2008. Another thing I found out this weekend was that it’s a lot better to finish a lonely third than a lonely fourth. I missed the podium by one, and I was watching the guys in front of me, and pulling the guys behind me. It was just kind of a thing where I was riding around watching a race go on, and I wasn’t really a part of it. It was a fitting end to the season, though.”
Windham finished out the supercross season fifth in points, one point out of fourth.
From here, the GEICO Powersports Honda team heads out to get its final testing done for the AMA National Motocross Series, which kicks off on May 23 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. There will be four riders underneath the awning, with Canard, Wharton and Brett Metcalfe racing the 250cc class while Dan Reardon tries his hand in the 450cc class.
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.
Las Vegas Lites Main:
1. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
2. Ryan Dungey Suz
3. Trey Canard GEICO Powersports Honda
4. Jake Weimer Kaw
5. Austin Stroupe Kaw
6. Ryan Morais Kaw
7. Justin Brayton KTM
8. Jake Moss Hon
9. Wil Hahn KTM
10. Broc Tickle Yam
11. Blake Wharton GEICO Powersports Honda
12. Daniel Blair GEICO Powersports Honda
Las Vegas 450cc Main:
1. Ryan Villopoto Kaw
2. Chad Reed Suz
3. James Stewart Yam
4. Kevin Windham GEICO Powersports Honda
5. Ivan Tedesco Hon
6. Mike Alessi Suz
7. Josh Grant Yam
8. Andrew Short Hon
9. Nathan Ramsey Yam
10. Davi Millsaps Hon