WORTHAM, Texas – GEICO Honda rider Kevin Windham may be entering his 17th season of professional competition but the 33-year-old superstar can still ride with the best in the sport and he plans to prove that again in this year’s 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series.
Coming off a strong fourth-place result at the outdoor season opener in Hangtown, Windham and teammates Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia are stoked to be heading south for Saturday’s Freestone National in Texas.
“I’m feeling very good right now,” Windham said. “I like my new bike, I feel comfortable on it, and I can’t wait to see what we can do this season. Hangtown was a great start and I’ll be able to tell a lot more about how this season will go after the Texas race.”
Filling in for Trey Canard on a Factory Honda 450cc machine, Windham is feeling very confident after earning a holeshot and leading several laps in Sacramento. The only thing he is worried about in Texas are the elements, which have challenged the veteran rider in the past.
“Texas is always tough,” Windham said. “I’m not going to lie, it puts a toll on the body. Adding extreme heat and humidity to what we do makes it even tougher than it already is. I’m just going to head in there and do what I do. Hopefully since it’s a little bit earlier this year, it won’t be as hot, but you never know until you get there.”
The season opener did not exactly go as planned for GEICO Honda Lites riders Tomac and Barcia, who posted respective finishes of fourth and 13th place in the overall standings at Hangtown. But the slower-than-expected start has only made the two young riders work that much harder to prep for the second round.
“I’ve been working on my endurance,” Barcia said. “The outdoors are so different than Supercross and you need a lot more stamina to do well out here so that’s what I’ve been working on the most.”
Coming off his first Supercross Lites East championship, Barcia has high hopes for this Motocross season. He plans on taking last weekend’s results in stride and riding better in Texas.
“There’s a lot of the season left,” Barcia said. “I still have every intention of being in the championship hunt and I hope to start my charge for it in Texas. It’ll be hot and tough, but I know I’ve got to overcome that and run well if I want to double up this year.”
Sophomore rider Tomac has been looking forward to racing outdoors because that’s where he feels most comfortable. Heading to Texas, Tomac feels exceptionally confident since he has been spending a lot of time there to acclimate to the heat.
“I’m feeling really good,” Tomac said. “I’ve been training at Andrew Short’s house in Texas so I should be able to do really well there. I’ve been practicing there to get my body used to the hot weather so I should be ready.”
Tomac finished as runner-up in the Lites West points in his rookie Supercross season and hopes that he can one-up that finish his second time through the Motocross schedule.
“I know it’s early to be thinking about the championship,” Tomac said, “but if I plan on being in contention I’ve got to start doing well now so I can have the chance to battle it out in the end of the season.”
The Freestone National presented by Rockstar Energy Drink throws open its gates at 7 a.m. CDT, Saturday, in Wortham, Texas.