Championship points leader Justin Barcia has no plans of slowing down when the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series heads north of the border this Saturday for another round of high-flying action at the Rogers Centre.
Atop his GEICO Honda 250cc machine, Barcia has been unstoppable this year in the Lites East bracket, winning twice and racking up three runner-up results in the first five races of the season to fashion a fairly comfortable 17-point lead. But just because he’s out front doesn’t mean he’ll be taking it easy in laidback Canada.
“I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing all season and that will keep me up there,” Barcia said. “I want this thing bad. It’s all I’ve ever thought about since as far back as I can remember. I’m not going to let off until it’s over. I feel like I’m riding the best I ever have and I’m riding smart and it’s turning into podium finishes every weekend. It’s an exciting time for the GEICO Honda team and we want to stay after it.”
Barcia, who won last year’s Toronto race, will be joined this weekend by teammates Kevin Windham and Blake Wharton. After overcoming a couple of early-season spills, Windham is hanging tough in the top 10 of the Supercross standings, while Wharton is tied for fifth behind Barcia in the Supercross Lites East rankings.
But at this event all eyes will be on Barcia, who was born and raised in Monroe, N.Y., assuring him of extra fan support.
“I like Toronto a lot,” Barcia said. “It’s a fun little trip for my family because we’re from New York. All my old friends get a bus and they make the trip up there together and just get crazy. It’s always a good atmosphere. Hopefully, we can show them a good race.”
Like Barcia, Windham enjoys the jaunt into Canada, and coming off a solid fourth-place result in Jacksonville, Fla., the 32-year-old crowd favorite is hoping the good vibes of the Toronto faithful will lift him to a podium finish.
“It’s always a lot of fun to go to Canada,” Windham said. “It’s a cool city and a cool track. The fans are awesome. It’s just another round, but it’s got a real international feel to it, even though Canada is just across the border from us. It’s a great that we can bring our style of motocross racing to Canada. This race also kind of signals the start of the homestretch. That seems impossible but the races are winding down. I really want to finish strong and it all starts now.”
Windham was quick to applaud the local race officials for making this particular race one of the best on tour.
“The first few years up there were tough because even though it’s an indoor race, the dirt they brought in had been sitting outside and it was covered in snow so you ended up with a really muddy track,” Windham said. “But now they’re stockpiling it in a better place and we don’t have that problem so we’re able to race harder and put on a better show for the Canadian fans. They deserve the best and we want to give it to them.”
Wharton arrives slightly beat up after wicked crash in Florida that knocked the wind out of him and left him on the sidelines. But he’s still within striking distance of a top-three finish and after winning his heat in Jacksonville, he has shown the capacity to lead the way in any given race.
Action starts at 7 p.m. Saturday night.