The Rockstar Energy Racing teams lifted their collective game and picked up a host of impressive results at round 13 of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Series at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX, on Saturday night. Rockstar Energy Racing celebrated a hard-fought top-five finish in Supercross Lites, while Star Valli Yamaha captured multiple top-10 finishes in the Supercross class.
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton started the night with a bang, getting the holeshot in his six-lap heat race and leading the first few laps before suffering a get-off. Undaunted, he rallied and worked his way up to seventh. In the 15-lap main event, Wharton got a good start and made a play for a podium spot before finishing fourth. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Hunter Hewitt remains out from injury but hopes to return for the New Orleans race in two weeks.
“It was a rough night for me,” said Wharton. “But I salvaged fourth, even though I definitely wanted to be on the podium. But I had a crash in my heat race and that put me in a bad position. But that’s racing, you have to go through your good times and your bad times. But I still felt pretty good and I managed to get some points, so I’m happy about that. But I definitely want to get going for Louisiana. New Orleans is going to be a great race, I’ve raced there and I want to win.”
Also in Supercross Lites, Star Valli Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham returned to racing after missing last week’s event due to injury. Cunningham had a strong showing in his heat race and finished an impressive fourth. In the main event, he got caught up in a turn-one pile-up, but still managed to work his way through the field to finish ninth.
“I was riding pretty good,” said Cunningham. “I felt like we made progress from practice to the heat race. Then I got in the first-turn pile-up in the main and had to come from way back to ninth. We’ve just had some bad luck. I’ve ended up on the ground by myself and with other people, but that’s how it goes. We’ll try to come back strong and do something good for New Orleans.”
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Kyle Peters continues to progress and improve as his rookie season plays out. Peters was right there with Cunningham in his heat race and followed his teammate home in fifth. In the main event, Peters turned in consistent laps before fatigue set in and he finished 11th.
“I got a good start and rode decent for a few laps,” said Peters. “But then I got pumped up and that was about it for me. But we finished the race and that’s something to build on, for sure. Now we’ll just get ready for New Orleans and see if we can improve there.”
In the Supercross class, Star Valli Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry enjoyed his best result of the season. Kiniry finished a solid eighth in his eight-lap heat race and then gave it his all in the 20-lap main. Getting a great start, Kiniry was third off the gate and ran in the top five for the first few laps before bringing home a well-deserved sixth place.
“I’m just pumped,” said Kiniry. “This is my best result this year and I feel like we’re building consistently now. I rode smart, I got a good start and I got the Rockstar Yamaha out in front of the pack, right off the bat. Now, I’m really looking forward to New Orleans. I’ve raced there once or twice, and I’m comfortable down there. We’re getting the ball rolling now and I know where I belong, and that’s up front, and I think I’m showing that now.”
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Nico Izzi continues to contest the Supercross class on the East Coast, though officially he’s campaigning West Coast Supercross Lites. In the Supercross class at Houston, Izzi had a remarkable heat race and battled for a podium spot for most of the race before finishing fourth. In the main, Izzi put in a smart ride and turned consistent laps to finish eighth.
“It was a good day,” said Izzi. “We had good practice times and a good heat. In the main, I had a good pace on those first 10 laps but then I got a little tired and I backed it down. But I’m pumped to be in the top 10 again, and the team rode well and everybody took a step forward. Now, I’m looking forward to racing Supercross in New Orleans, and then getting back to the Lites class.”
Once again racing the Supercross class under the Star Valli Yamaha banner was Weston Peick, who finished an impressive sixth in his heat race. Peick went on to card a top-10 finish in the main event, thanks to a ninth-place result.
“It’s good to be back with the Star Valli Yamaha team,” said Peick. “The heat race came around, and I got a decent start and finished sixth and that felt good. In the main, I was off to a good start, but about halfway through I started riding a little tight. I got a little tired but I finished a solid ninth, so it was a pretty good night. I’ve never raced at New Orleans before, so I think it’ll be pretty cool to race someplace new.”
Finally, Rockstar’s Brett Metcalfe suffered some bad luck in Houston. The Australian had a good heat race and finished fourth. But in the main, Metcalfe stalled his bike after getting closed up in the first turn and was recovering from that when another rider crashed in his path and he went down himself. Again, Metcalfe rallied and worked his way through the field from 20th to finish 12th.
“I’ve always done well in Houston,” said Metcalfe. “So this was bit of a bummer. In the heat race, I ended up fourth but I was feeling good on the track and I had a nice rhythm going. In the main, in the first corner, I got pushed off balance and accidentally hit my rear brake and stalled my bike. I should have come out fifth or sixth, but I ended up at the back. So I got going and was putting passes together when someone crashed in front of me and I had nowhere to go. I ran into him and went down and stalled the bike. So I got restarted in complete last, and put my head down and managed to climb back up to 12th. But we’ll keep at it and come back strong for New Orleans and these last few races.”
In the Supercross class, Rockstar’s Nick Wey and Star Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Morais are still out from injury, but hope to be back racing at New Orleans.
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the 14th round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, April 14th, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA.