Rockstar’s Martin Davalos captures third at Las Vegas season finale
The Rockstar Energy Racing teams closed out the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship season with style at the 17th and final round of the series at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, NV, on Saturday night. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Martin Davalos led the charge by finishing third in the Supercross Lites East-West Shootout and picking up his second-consecutive podium of the year. Overall, the Rockstar teams celebrated two victories and five podium finishes in Supercross Lites this year, as well as multiple top-five and top-10 results in Supercross.
For the SX Lites riders, the Las Vegas event held additional challenges. Instead of the usual heat-races/main-event format, the Las Vegas round eschewed heat races altogether. The evening show consisted of one 15-lap SX Lites East main event and one 15-lap SX Lites West main event. Then, the top finishers of those races moved on to the 10-lap sprint that was the SX Lites East-West Shootout.
Photos by Jake Klingensmith
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davalos blazed onto the scene in the 15-lap SX Lites West main, getting off the gate in second. Davalos continued to run in a podium position for more than half the race before finishing fourth. In the Shootout, Davalos again got off the gate in second and led for several laps before finishing third. This result marks the second podium finish of the season for Davalos, who wrapped up the year in eighth overall.
“Vegas was good,” said Davalos. “We carried the momentum from Salt Lake City into our main event. We got fourth in the heat and that was really positive. From the beginning of the season, we’ve struggled and to come out and get on the podium in the Shootout was so important, we got a good a good start and fought hard and we were able to get third. I’m pretty pumped, the Rockstar Energy Racing team has done such a great job and they believe in me and that means a lot. I’m just looking forward to carrying this momentum into the Outdoors.”
Rockstar Energy Racing SX Lites West teammate Jason Anderson came into the final weekend feeling ill. Despite this, he got a great jump off the gate and ran up front for the entire West main before finishing fifth. In the Shootout, Anderson suffered some fatigue, had a few problems and wound up 19th. Overall, however, he enjoyed a good season, picking up a podium finish and coming in fifth overall in points.
“Las Vegas was all right,” said Anderson. “I got fifth in my main, even though I was sick all day. Now, I’m just pumped to get out of here healthy and in the top five in points, and with a good end to the Supercross season. Now, it’s time to get ready for Motocross in a few weeks.”
Blake Wharton and Hunter Hewitt represented Rockstar Energy Racing’s SX Lites East contingent. In their main event, Wharton finished an impressive fifth and was followed home by Hewitt in seventh. In the Shootout, Wharton picked up a ninth-place result, while Hewitt suffered some bad luck and finished 18th. Overall, Wharton celebrated a rock-solid season, finishing third in points with a win and two additional podiums.
Racing SX Lites West for Star Valli Yamaha was Ryan Sipes. In that main event, Sipes got a good start but then tangled up with another rider on the first lap. Despite this, Sipes bounced back to finish eighth and move on to the Shootout, where he finished seventh. Overall, Sipes finished out the season in seventh, with one win and two top-five results.
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Kyle Cunningham finished the year on a high note in the SX Lites East main event. Running up front, Cunningham made a small mistake and went down, but regrouped to finish sixth. In the Shootout, Cunningham struggled and finished 14th. At season’s end, Cunningham was eighth in points and had accumulated five top-10 results.
“The day started off rough because I crashed twice,” said Cunningham. “But this is the healthiest I’ve felt all year. I rode decent in the main for going down, and I got a bad start in the Shootout. I took a couple rocks to the chest with no chest protector on, and I couldn’t breathe that well, but that’s how it goes. We’re safe and still healthy, and I’m looking forward to getting the Outdoors started.”
Star Valli Yamaha rookie Kyle Peters went into his last SX Lites East main event of the season and gave it his proverbial all. He got a great jump off the gate and was running in a transfer spot for most of the race. With a few laps to go, however, he fell back and had to go to the LCQ. Peters holeshot the final qualifier and led the first lap, but wound up finishing fourth and did not make the main.
Setting the tone for the Supercross class was Star Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi. After getting a great start in his eight-lap heat, Izzi raced in a podium position before a nasty get-off saw him finish fifth. In the 20-lap main event, Izzi again got an excellent launch and was in the top five right off the bat. He put his head down and charged hard and finished sixth, his best Supercross result of the season.
“Las Vegas was awesome,” said Izzi. “I had a good heat. I went down but I managed to get up and salvage fifth. In the main, I wanted to get in the top 10 on the start because I kind of had a bad gate pick, so I managed to do that. And I was running with those guys for the first eight to 10 laps, and then they kind of broke away and I fell out of my pace a little bit. But we got a strong sixth, even though we had to fight the whole time and work hard for 20 laps. Now we’ll get working on the Outdoors and I’m looking forward to racing the 450.”
Star Valli Yamaha’s Weston Peick turned in a solid performance at the final round in Las Vegas. He got a decent start in his heat race and finished sixth. In the main event, Peick rode smooth, consistent laps and worked his way into eighth. Overall, Peick carded five top-10 finishes this year and wound up 15th in points.
“I ended up finishing eighth,” said Peick. “You know how slippery and crazy it gets in Vegas, so it’s just survival out there. I pulled off an eighth and I finished 15th in the points for the season, so I’m kind of pumped on that, and now I’m looking forward to hopefully racing the Outdoors.”
Rounding out the Supercross class for Star Valli Yamaha was Bobby Kiniry. In his heat, Kiniry came up one position short of a transfer spot. But he went on to holeshot the LCQ and was leading the race when he got sideways over a jump. Kiniry’s save was spectacular, but he wound up going down shortly thereafter and was out for the night. Overall, Kiniry carded three solid top-10 results this year and finished the season 16th in points.
Rockstar’s Brett Metcalfe came into Las Vegas still on the mend from a crash last weekend. Adding insult to injury, Metcalfe suffered a practice crash in Las Vegas that resulted in medical evaluation. Although he was released to race, Metcalfe wasn’t 100 percent. Despite this, he carded a solid fourth-place finish in his heat race. In the main event, Metcalfe continued to push hard and ran in a podium position for several laps before some problems resulted in an 18th-place finish. Overall, Metcalfe was eighth in points for the season and had four top-five finishes.
“The last few rounds have been a challenge,” said Metcalfe. “We’ve had some old-fashioned bad luck, but that happens to everyone. I’m just glad to finish the season relatively healthy and in the top 10 in points. Now I’m already focusing on getting ready for the Outdoors in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Rockstar’s Nick Wey struggled with injuries throughout this season, but still brought home an eighth-place finish in his heat race and a 10th-place result in the main event. Overall, Wey picked up five top-10 results in 2012 and finished 14th in points for the season.
“I felt pretty good on the bike all day,” said Wey. “I qualified pretty well but my heat race went poorly, so I had a bad gate pick for the main. In the main, I got a bad start but I felt like I rode decent and I ended up 10th. The season has been tough with the injuries I’ve been riding with, so I have to give a big thanks to the crew at Rockstar for their support.”
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the season-opening round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, May 19th, at the Hangtown National in Sacramento, CA.