Canard leads GEICO Powersports Honda team to historic motocross podium sweep
Trey Canard led the GEICO Powersports Honda team in a historic sweep of the podium Saturday in the first 250cc moto of the AMA Unadilla National Motocross while simultaneously closing in on the wheel of points leader Christophe Pourcel.
The team earned industry-wide accolades after claiming the top four spots in the first moto. Canard was victorious, with teammates Blake Wharton, Justin Barcia, and Eli Tomac close behind.
“Sweeping the podium with my teammates was awesome,” Canard said. “I am so excited for everyone, and it was a great day for our team. Hopefully we can keep this going.”
Canard has bolstered his status as a crowd favorite after winning the overall title at the last three tour stops, and he gained even more fanfare in Unadilla when his runner-up finish in the second moto earned him a fourth-straight overall title.
“I feel like I’m on right now,” Canard said. “I try not to think too much and just go out to do my thing. I see what I can do at each race, and I’m so happy I’ve been able to keep this momentum. Hopefully I’m a contender for the overall title.”
Pourcel crashed in the first moto and finished 38th, allowing Canard to gain a lot of ground in points. Pourcel rebounded to win the second moto, but is now just 16 points ahead of the hungry Canard.
New York native Barcia raced in front of a sea of friends, family and fans, and finished second in the event after finishing third and fifth.
“I have so much support here,” Barcia said. “Not only do I have my family and friends around, but there are so many fans cheering for me. Unadilla is such a great track, but it really wouldn’t matter where we were racing because I’ve been working so hard and want to keep posting top results each race.”
Barcia maintained fifth place in points and is eager to continue improving until he is consistently on the podium with Canard. The wild rider was aggressive on the course, crashing twice, but still pulled out his overall podium finish.
“The first moto was huge for me,” Barcia said. “I was so excited to be a part of the sweep. Being here and racing with this team is great. I know I still have a lot to improve on, and I even crashed twice today, but I was able to make up some spots and I’m really happy.”
Wharton wrapped up the day in fifth after contributing to the sweep by finishing second in the first moto and ninth in the second.
“First moto was really good,” Wharton said. “I felt great, although I would have liked to have won. I felt really comfortable.”
Wharton struggled in the second moto and was tangled in a pileup before hitting a hay bail and breaking his front brake.
“My brake was locking up on me but even so I think I could have caught up better,” he said. “I need to focus on the next race now because I know I can keep getting better.”
Rookie sensation Tomac could taste the podium as he battled teammate Wharton for third in the first moto, but finished on his wheel to finish just out of the top three in fourth.
“I had a lot of fun,” Tomac said. “It was awesome to get fourth in that first moto. I need to keep improving because next time I actually want to be on the podium. I was so close.”
Tomac was a close sixth in the second moto, and wrapped up the event sixth overall in points.
Brett Metcalfe finished third overall in the 450cc after putting together fifth and third place performances. Metcalfe spun his wheel out of the start in the first moto and had difficulty out of the start in the second moto but rode aggressively through the speedy course to move into podium position.
“Those were definitely tight races,” Metcalfe said. “I was able to make up some time in the first couple of corners and move up in both motos but I made some mistakes. A few guys almost caught me but I was able to hold on. I was disappointed because I knew I could have ridden better but it was still a good finish.”
Kevin Windham made his return to motocross last season at Unadilla, but was unable to finish the first moto this time through after encountering trouble on the course.
“I spun out of the gate, so I didn’t start the race well,” Windham said. “I was fighting to make some passes and then had one of the craziest falls I’ve ever had. When you crash, time stands still. I knew I was about to take a hard hit but I managed to come out pretty well with just some road rash and a hurt elbow. I felt well enough to come out and perform again and I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity to be racing right now.”
Windham was able to recoup during the break and powered through the course for a fifth-place finish in the second moto.
“I’m glad I was able to redeem myself,” Windham said. “I still didn’t have the start I wanted but I was able to make some passes and stay strong.”
The 32-year-old legend is one of the most respected riders in the field and a mentor to the team. Despite not having his best result, Windham was ecstatic about the 250cc podium sweep.
“That was unbelievable,” Windham said. “That doesn’t happen often. The entire team is strong, and it takes a good program like GEICO Powersports Honda to create that kind of result.”
The GEICO Powersports Honda team will continue their quest for the podium on August 28th at Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass., for round 11 of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motorcross Championship.