The final stop of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, took place Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium. It was an exciting night for Honda, with GEICO Honda teammates Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac topping the podium in both Lites East and West main events, as well as going one-two in the East/West shootout. Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton put in an impressive performance aboard his CRF450R, finishing third overall. Brayton also scored Bret Michaels’ Rock Hard-Ride Hard Award for the season after overcoming incredible odds and finishing strong despite fracturing his leg in San Diego.
Posting the quickest qualifying time in practice, Brayton seemed to have found his groove on the challenging Las Vegas track. After grabbing a good start in his heat, Brayton put together a solid ride to win, giving him a good gate pick heading into the main. In the main event, he got away to a midpack start but quickly started working his way through the field. Brayton put together a great ride to make his way to the podium in third.
“Getting a good start is key in Supercross,” said Brayton. “I got a great start in my heat race, and was able to come out with the win, but unfortunately, in the main I wasn’t so lucky. I didn’t get the greatest start and was forced to work my way through the pack. I made my way up to third, which is pretty good, but I have been really itching to get on that top podium position and grab my first win. The entire Team Honda Muscle Milk crew worked really hard all season with me, and although I’m a little bummed to be taking fourth in the championship, this is my best season finish yet, and I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.”
In the 15-lap East and West main events, GEICO Honda teammates Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia dominated the night. The pressure was off for the two, who had already wrapped up both titles; however, they came out strong reminding everyone of how they won those titles in the first place. Both riders grabbed the holeshot in their mains and quickly checked out from the rest of the pack. In the shootout, Barcia ran up front for a majority of the race followed closely by Tomac. Tomac charged hard and was able to catch Barcia, but never got close enough to make the pass.
“What a crazy night,” stated Tomac. “Being able to come into Vegas this year and not have to worry about the championship was really nice. I felt really good today and am glad to take the win in the West main and second behind Justin in the shootout. It was great to race with my teammate and be able to put the GEICO Hondas on top.”
“This is such an amazing feeling, it’s almost unreal,” said Barcia. “Even though the championship title is already wrapped up, I still wanted to come to Vegas and win, which is exactly what I did. The shootout was a lot of fun and everyone was riding really strong. The GEICO Honda team did a great job setting up my bike, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support. I am looking forward to moving up next season and riding with a new group of guys on the 450.”
Teammate Wil Hahn rode a respectable race, finishing third-place overall in the Supercross Lites West main event and sixth in the East/West shootout.