CARLSBAD, Calif., – The Unbound Energy-backed GEICO Powersports/Honda team kicked off the ’09 Lucas Oil AMA MX Nationals at Glen Helen (Calif.) with a powerful statement from both former ESX champ, Trey Canard, along with heralded rookie racer, Justin Barcia, as the two scored individual moto podiums en route to 5th and 6th place overall Lites class finishes, respectively.
In addition, Canard and Barcia’s Unbound Energy-backed GEICO Powersports/Honda teammates, Brett Metcalfe (7th) and Blake Wharton (10th) also made the top ten at the San Bernardino foothills track – giving the program its best overall four-rider finish in some time.
“GEICO Powersports/Honda was eagerly waiting for this weekend – the professional debut of Justin Barcia. Justin is the latest rider to come out of the team’s amateur program initiated in 2007 and Trey Canard and Blake Wharton have made major impacts early in their careers through this program,” said team owner Rick Zielfelder. “The timing of Justin’s ‘launch’ was different this time around. Typically young riders transitioning from amateur to pro make their debut after Loretta’s. With Justin, a mutual decision was made involving the team, American Honda, Justin, the family and many of the sponsors of GEICO Powersports Honda for that to happen at Glen Helen.
“And we’re very pleased with the outcome.”
After the first Lites moto of the season was red-flagged right after the start – negating a great jump off the gate by Canard – the second start would again be all Canard as he pulled the holeshot on this CRF250R. Hot on Canard’s tail was Barcia, who was able to take the lead from Canard on the back hills of the track. Barcia, up front and seemingly quite comfortable with the lead given his rookie pro status, made a small error that relegated him back a couple of spots. He managed to keep it together enough to hold onto a top ten spot (9th), with the idea of re-grouping for the second moto.
Canard was masterful in the first moto as he held tight to his race position and ended up on the podium in 3rd place. Metcalfe and Wharton joined Canard and Barcia in the first Lites moto top ten, racing to 7th and 8th-place finishes, respectively.
Barcia quickly proved his speed wasn’t a fluke as he up and led the second moto early, with Canard again racing up front with Kawasaki’s world champ veteran, Tyla Rattray, for 3rd. Battling for a top five spot again would be Metcalfe and Wharton, up against Kawasaki’s other Europan world champ recruit, Christophe Pourcel. And when the dust settled on Glen Helen’s final Lites moto, Barcia would grab the 3rd and final podium spot in moto two, joined in the top ten again by all his teammates (Metcalfe 6th, Canard 8th and Wharton 10th).
Also noteworthy, scoring some points in the 450 class was Unbound Energy-backed GEICO Powersports/Honda’s Dan Reardon. The Australian placed 17th overall in two motos, placing 10th in the opening moto (35th in the second moto).
Next up for Unbound Energy’s Barcia, Canard, Wharton, Metcalfe and Reardon is the second of the Lucas Oil AMA MX Nationals at Hangtown (Prairie City, Calif.), May 30. And check out what’s happening with the GEICO Powersports/Honda Team – fueled by Unbound Energy – at www.unboundenergy.com
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