Rockstar’s Blake Wharton brings home third in Supercross Lites
The Rockstar Energy Racing teams gave it their all, and then some, at round 12 of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Series at Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON, on Saturday night. The Canadian round marked the series’ only international stop and the Rockstar Energy Racing teams announced their presence with authority by picking up a podium finish in Supercross Lites.
Coming off his first Supercross Lites win since 2009 at last week’s Indy race, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton was on fire at Toronto. The feisty, young rider held nothing back, finishing second in his six-lap heat race and then putting in an aggressive ride to take the final podium position in the 15-lap main event. Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt sat out the Toronto Supercross after injuring his knee earlier in the week. Hewitt will have the injury treated this week and hopes to race next weekend in Texas.
“Tonight was a great race,” said Wharton. “The track was very technical, with ruts yet hard-packed, and I felt like I made the most of it. Yes, I would’ve liked to win, especially after winning last weekend, and I want to get back on top at Houston. I was born there and I’ve spent a lot of time there, and my first Supercross was in Houston. At the same time, it’s another race and I need to work on some stuff because I wasn’t on top tonight. It’s unfortunate, but it’ll make it that much better when I get back on top.”
Also in Supercross Lites, Star Valli Yamaha rookie Kyle Peters looked good in his heat race, finishing a solid sixth and transferring to the main event. In the main, however, Peters suffered a run-in with another rider and wound up finishing 18th. “I came out of a corner and another rider was there,” said Peters. “I hit him going wide open and that was it, game over.”
In the Supercross class, Star Valli Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry celebrated his first top-10 result of the season. Although Kiniry made it to the Supercross main via the LCQ, he pulled out all the stops in the 20-lap main event and rode his best race so far this season and brought home a well-earned ninth.
“Ultimately, we just had a good day,” said Kiniry. “I was in the second-turn pile-up in my heat race, so I got into the main through the LCQ. I ended up getting a pretty decent start in the main and rode 20 hard laps. I put myself in a good position in the first 10, and kind of cruised those last 10 to a solid ninth. I’ve been really striving to make the top 10. I’ve been a top-10 guy all my career, and it’s been really frustrating these last few weeks, knowing I belong in the top 10. Now it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, so I’m really excited to move forward next week in Houston and keep getting up there.”
Star Valli teammate Nico Izzi is also racing the Supercross class, but only on the East Coast, because officially he’s campaigning West Coast Supercross Lites. But in the Supercross class at Toronto, Izzi started the evening strong with a fifth-place finish in his heat race. In the main, Izzi was trying to break into the top 10 when he had contact with another rider and aggravated his still-healing wrist. In an effort to remain healthy, he retired for the evening.
“I was having a great day and felt great,” said Izzi. “Then, I got tangled up with another rider and hit my wrist, and then a big rock hit my wrist and made my whole hand go numb. I pulled in because I couldn’t feel my hand and I was getting squirrelly in the ruts, and almost went down harder. I’m a little frustrated that it ended like that, but I’m healthy and we’ll be back next week for Houston and start plugging away again.”
Also in Supercross, Rockstar’s Brett Metcalfe notched a solid fourth-place result in his heat race and was running seventh in the main when he went down. With just a few laps left in the race, the Australian struggled to get back into the fray but had difficulty restarting his bike. He eventually finished 18th.
Finally, Rockstar’s Nick Wey and Star Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Morais, Austin Stroupe and Kyle Cunningham were all out due to injury.
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the 13th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, March 31st, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX. You can meet the Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki and Yoshimura Suzuki riders on Friday, March 30th from 6 to 7 PM, at County Line North, 9650 North Freeway (I-45), Houston, TX 77037.