MECHANICSVILLE, Md. - Rising motocross star Justin Barcia recorded a pair of podium finishes Saturday at the AMA Budds Creek Nationals to lead the five-man GEICO Powersports Honda team. Barcia took home a third and a second place trophy in the day's two 250cc motos and pocketed the second most points of the event.
"I wish I was first, but in this heat to come out of here second overall, I'll take it," Barcia said, referring to the hot and muggy conditions that sidelined several riders. "It was hot and gnarly and I'm just drained right now. I have zero energy left. I put it all out there.
"I've been working really hard on my stamina back home in Georgia and I'm staying in the best shape possible. That's my job. I've won a race and I want to win more. I just have a few more things I want to make better and it'll happen."
All five GEICO Powersports riders finished the day in the top 10. Brett Metcalfe was sixth overall in the 450cc class, while 250cc pros Trey Canard (seventh), Blake Wharton (ninth), and Eli Tomac (10th) all did their best to represent the team.
Atop the team's sole 450cc entry, Metcalfe had a pair of sixth-place finishes. The Australian stayed with the top riders in both motos and had chances to lead at various points but, like many riders, was eventually worn down by the heat. Nevertheless, his effort resulted in him holding onto the No. 3 position in the championship points.
"I kind of died in the heat again," Metcalfe said. "I just didn't have the juice to hang on towards the end. Your vision gets a bit blurry and your energy goes way down. You reach a point where you're just hanging on.
"I was pleased to have two good starts and overall I rode okay, I just never got comfortable on the bike. To have two decent finishes and stay third in the points on a day when I was a bit off is pretty good."
Canard logged seventh and eight place results on his machine, a good result considering a dubious start to the action.
"We blew a head gasket just before the first moto and the guys were thrashing to fix it," Canard said. "I missed my gate pick and ended up getting the last position, which threw my start off. I rode hard, I rode strong, but it was kind of like we were behind all day.
"The heat wasn't as bad for me. I think I'm getting more and more used to it and my body is getting stronger. Going 7-8 isn't what we wanted so we'll have to come back next weekend and do better."
Continuing his trend of showing flashes of brilliance, Wharton was as high as second place in Moto 2 but an unfortunate spill cost him valuable positions and he ended up ninth. Coupled with an earlier 11th-place result, he finished up as the day's ninth-best rider.
"The first moto didn't go so good, a had a bad start and went off the track twice, so I really wanted make it up in the second," Wharton said. "I got a good start and was third but I cased a jump and it was muddy right there and I went down. I'm not even sure how. I'm not riding as good as I can right now and I need to fix it."
Rookie sensation Tomac continues to figure out life at the top of the motocross world. He started with an 11th-place finish in Moto 1 and improved to ninth place in Moto 2.
"The guys at this level are the best in the world and Eli is figuring things out," team manager Mike LaRocco said. "The speed we saw from him when he won Hangtown, that was real. But it takes more than speed to win consistently at this level. You have to learn the strategy of dealing with the heat, of riding against other guys that are really good every weekend; these things take time. He's going to be fine. He's got the talent to be a world champion for many years."
The Lucas Oil Motocross Championship Series now shifts to Denver for next Saturday's event.