With the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites East and West titles already in hand, this Saturday’s season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium is going to be as much celebration as business trip for the riders of GEICO Honda.
“Eli (Tomac) and I were fighting for our championships until the last race before Vegas,” said Justin Barcia, who successfully defended his Lites East title in 2012. “Now the pressure is off of both of us, we can just go in, race and have fun.”
Still, with a few more trophies to be won and the prestigious East/West Shootout on the table, the team’s riders know that there’s still opportunity for further glory.
“Vegas is going to be a lot of fun,” said newly-crowned Lites West champion Eli Tomac. “We’ll have two GEICO Honda guys running with No. 1 plates, so it’s going to be a blast.”
The format for the Lites riders will be a little different than a normal race. Instead of heat races, the Top 20 riders from each class will go head-to-head in the final points race of the season. Then, the top riders from the East and West “heats” will square off in the East/West Shootout to cap the night and the season.
“It’s going to be a great race and I’m going there to win,” Barcia said. “I’m going to put my full effort into it, especially since there’s no pressure with this race.”
For Wil Hahn, who has been battling back from an early season injury, Las Vegas will serve more as a springboard for greater things in the outdoor season, which starts in two weeks.
“Las Vegas is a race where you are going to see a lot of wild cards go all in, and that’s going to be what I want to do,” Hahn said. “I really want to taste that podium again. It’s the next step in rebuilding myself. The track is more open, more hard-pack and a lot faster. It’s still challenging because the stadium is a lot bigger so the rhythm lanes are pretty long. It’ll be wild.”
Rookie Justin Bogle is looking to end the Supercross season with back-to-back podium finishes, and has a shot to move up a spot or two in the final season standings.
“There’s a lot of motivation there to get back up on the podium,” Bogle said. “I’ve got one or two more chances at it to see what I can do. Ending Supercross on a high note and building momentum going into outdoors would be huge for me.”
GEICO Honda’s Supercross rider Kevin Windham will be in Las Vegas, but it is still doubtful he well race because as he recovers from injuries to his shoulders and hand.
However, Windham and the rest of the members of the GEICO Honda Supercross team will sign autographs on Friday night at the GEICO AMA Endurocross race from 7-7:45 p.m. inside Orleans Arena.
Practice for the Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at Sam Boyd Stadium gets under way at 12:30 p.m. PDT on Saturday with opening ceremonies getting starting at 7 p.m. SPEED TV will carry the race live starting at 10 p.m. EDT.