The JDR/J-Star/KTM Team had an unpleasant experience at the second round of the AMA East Lites Supercross Series held at the Georgia Dome after crashes kept Malcolm Stewart out of the main event and PJ Larsen from finishing inside the top ten.
Photos by Hoppenworld
Team rider Malcolm Stewart looked impressive during the early afternoon practice sessions where he qualified 6th fastest. Stewart was placed in the first heat alongside teammate Larsen. Stewart had a great jump off the line and after following Blake Wharton for the first lap he was able to capitalize on Wharton’s second lap crash and take over the lead. On the third lap of the heat, Stewart came up short while tripling into a rhythm section causing him to crash over the bars and not finish the race. Luckily, Stewart was not injured in the crash but it cost him a qualifying position in the heat. Larsen went on to finish 7th to transfer into the main.
Larsen remarked, “The heat race was tough tonight. I had a bad start and just had to watch out for downed riders all over the track and people crossing lines in front of me. Luckily, I was able to avoid any crashes and a got my KTM into a qualifying position.”
While Larsen headed back to the truck to prep for the main event, Stewart headed back down to the track to line up for the LCQ. Unfortunately, right before the gate dropped the team encountered a problem with his bike that appeared to be a result from his earlier crash which caused Stewart to miss the gate drop. He was unable to compete in the LCQ and did not get a chance to qualify for the main event.
“I am bummed out on my night tonight,” remarked Stewart. “I was very happy to not be injured in my crash but to find out that we have a mechanical issue was not what we wanted to hear. Now we just have to move on and regroup and come back stronger and ready to be on the podium for next weekend.”
In the main event, Larsen managed to pull a mid-pack start from a poor gate pick. “I had to start two gates outside of the box on the main event which was not the best place to start,” stated Larsen. “My starts are definitely going to be a high priority in my training this week as I have had two bad starts so far this season.”
On the second lap Larsen had moved into 10th position and by lap eight he had climbed up to 8th and looked to be closing in on the 7th place ride. A crash on the tenth lap cost Larsen four positions but he recovered and completed the lap in 12th place. “After my crash I lost my groove and wasn’t able to make the passes I needed to get back inside the top ten,” remarked Larsen. The JDR/J-Star/KTM rider eventually finished the race in 12th place. “I am definitely not satisfied with my race tonight. I made some small mistakes that cost me a lot of time. I am planning to head back west to work with my team in the next week and feel that with their help I can get where I need to be and hopefully break into the top five.”
Next Round: St. Louis, MO – March 3, 2012