LOS ANGELES -- With 17 seasons in the professional ranks, Kevin Windham is the most tenured rider on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour. But even the 32-year-old veteran from Centerville, Miss., will be exploring new territory this weekend when he rides at historic Dodger Stadium for the first time.
"I'm a huge sports fan and one of the things I love about Supercross is we get to ride at all of the big stadiums," Windham said. "Dodger Stadium is such a cool place and it's going to be wild to see the Dirt Wurx guys get in there and build a track for us. That first track walk is going to be special."
After taking in the new surroundings, the headline rider of the powerful GEICO Honda team knows he'll be anxious to get back on his 450cc machine and make up the ground lost after a rare DNF in Phoenix. Windham was riding strong in the Valley of the Sun but got caught up with a lapped rider, lost his front brakes, and was forced to retire from the race.
"Last weekend was tough for me," Windham said. "Luckily it's only one race and I still have 15 more to make up for it, starting this weekend.
"That's just the way it goes sometimes. I was running a really good race but unfortunately there was someone where my bike landed coming off a jump and I couldn't finish the race. At least no one was hurt."
Windham has done almost everything in his illustrious career, except secure a championship. A podium finish in Los Angeles would go a long way towards that goal.
"I really want to end up on that stage this weekend," Windham said. "If I want to be in the fight for the championship at the end of the season I have to start getting up there every race."
Windham's teammate, rookie Supercross Lites rider Eli Tomac, also is hoping his first podium finish will come at Chávez Ravine.
"The ultimate goal is to get on that box, so you have to end up in the top three," said Tomac, who turned professional last year in time for the outdoor Motocross season. "I'm really hungry to get up there."
The rookie has shown a lot of promise in his first two appearances of 2011, passing several riders in both races, but he knows he needs better starts to have better finishes.
"My starts are definitely hindering my performance," said Tomac, who entered the first turn in the middle of the 20-bike pack in both Anaheim and Phoenix. "You just don't have enough time in Supercross to come from too far back and end up on the podium."
Since Tomac knows exactly where his weakness lies, he has been working hard on his technique. He knows if he can get up front early there's no reason he won't end up in contention.
"I'm still working on my starts," Tomac said. "I was really pumped on my riding last weekend in Phoenix and if I just bring that speed and confidence to L.A. and add a good start, I should do really well."
The GEICO Honda team's newest member, Jimmy DeCotis, made a very impressive showing at his first event filling in for the injured Wil Hahn with an attention-grabbing seventh-place result in Phoenix.
"I'm just want to build on last weekend's performance," DeCotis said. "I want to ride as smooth and solid as I can.
"The goal is to be up on the podium every weekend. That's what the team expects of me and it's what I expect of myself."
The newcomer is happy to be a part of the GEICO team, and he feels his new employers are feeling better about their decision to bring him on board.
"Everyone has been very cool and welcoming," DeCotis said. "I think they are coming to respect how I ride and how seriously I'm taking this after my first race last weekend."
Practice and qualifying begin at 12:30 p.m. PST, Saturday, with the main event starting at 7 p.m.
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