The GEICO Honda team is gearing up for the second race of the GEICO AMA Endurocross season – except team leader Geoff Aaron, who will be making his 2012 debut in Saturday’s event at Power Balance Pavilion after missing the Las Vegas opener with a separated shoulder.
“It was excruciating to sit there and watch everybody ride in Vegas,” Aaron said. “I’ve been doing all my physical therapy and everything I could possibly do to get my shoulder back in shape. It only feels about 75 percent, but hopefully I’ll be able to power through this weekend. I couldn’t miss another race.”
Aaron injured his shoulder in a crash while practicing at his private Endurocross track seven weeks ago, and is chomping at the bit to get back on his GEICO Honda. The 10-time AMA Trials champion finished fourth in the Endurocross points standings last year after being runner-up in 2009-10.
Sacramento is a new venue on the Endurocross schedule so Aaron is keeping an open mind about the layout.
“I try to keep it simple,” Aasron said. “The same guys work on all these tracks, so although each one’s different, it’s going to be consistent with the rest of the racetracks. Nobody really knows what to expect. They release these track maps but they’re only a loose guideline. You have to see what you got when you get there. Everyone’s in the same boat. We’ll see how it rides in the first practice session.”
Aaron has examined at the track map extensively but knows it only gives riders an idea of what the track looks like, not how it’s going to ride.
“I looked at it but somebody like me, it’s not worth worrying about,” Aaron said. “They start building it and then they realize, ‘Oh, this needs to be shaped a little different, this log needs to be lower,’ and they make the track rideable.”
GEICO Honda rider Keith Wineland has check out of the track map, too, looking for any advantage he can get heading into Saturday’s race.
“I look at the track map and stuff,” Wineland said. “I really haven’t ridden a track that has an open section like this one has, if they are going to have it. From the track map, it looks to be a little bit faster than the last round in Vegas. Vegas was pretty short and technical, and this one looks a little more open and fast.
“I do like to go a little bit faster. Hopefully I’ll do well on it. I’m hoping my trials skills will come through. It looks like there’s going to be a matrix right before the finish line.”
After missing the main event in the season-opener, Wineland has modest goals for Sacramento.
“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but I really want to make X-Games, so I need to make the main event here in Sacramento,” Wineland said. “That’s my main goal.”
Kevin Rookstool, who finished a team-best ninth in Las Vegas, will try to improve on that mark this time through.