In front of friends and family Trey Canard grabbed his third win of the season and his second in the Lone Star State.
Honda’s Trey Canard sure pulled out all the stops in Arlington for Round 13 of the 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. After requesting more than 100 passes for friends and family to come see him race at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Canard put on a show for his Texas home crowd by racing to the third win of his rookie season. Even if you’re a die-hard James Stewart or Ryan Villopoto fan it’s hard not to be glad for Canard and his happy-go-lucky nature. The 20-year-old from Elk City, Oklahoma kick-started the day by snagging the third-best time in qualifying behind Stewart and TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed. In his heat race Canard had a go with Stewart, taking second across the finish line by less than three seconds. But for the first time this season Canard scorched the competition by controlling all 20 laps of the main, never giving a shred of hope for riders behind him who made multiple mistakes and crashed.
“I’m just happy to have three wins,” Canard said. “It’s a huge accomplishment and I’m just grateful for it. Thankfully things have kind of turned around. I was 56 points down and now we’re 16. I’m just happy to be here and racing.”
Out of the gates Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi earned another holeshot before Canard swept by. But unlike past races where Alessi quickly fell off the pace, he refused to call it quits while dueling with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey for second.
Chad Reed was put on his back after James Stewart lost control of his bike through the whoops and slammed into him.
“A lot of riders went down tonight and I was able to capitalize on their mistakes by remaining smooth and consistent,” said Alessi, who eventually finished 10th.
Round 13 of the series included more turmoil from some of the usual suspects. Stewart and Reed had a collision on Lap 8 that resulted in both going down. But the incident was far worse for Reed who went over the handlebars and tuff blocks. While Stewart recovered quickly to keep his position in the top-five, Reed struggled getting back up and on the track.
“I’m just frustrated,” said Reed regarding his run-in with Stewart. “More than anything I’m just mad at myself after making a mistake through the rhythm section.”
Reed’s error through the rhythm section before the whoops is what allowed Stewart to make up ground before the accident. Seeing the gap on Reed quickly diminish Stewart charged through the whoops but was unable to control the bucking bike beneath him. Already off the pegs and out of control, Stewart slammed into the back of Reed with no other place to go.
“My thing wasn’t a blatant take-out, so I can’t really fix that,” said Stewart. “I swapped through the whoops and thank god he was there because I would probably have been eating popcorn in the stands.”
James Stewart: “My thing wasn’t a blatant take-out, so I can’t really fix that. I swapped through the whoops and thank god he was there because I would probably have been eating popcorn in the stands.”
Stewart also added: “There have just been some unfortunate incidents here and there, just with the racing; Jacksonville, Daytona, Atlanta… You know, it’s definitely been tough, for sure, but like I said, I think the positive is that I’ve been riding well, and we’ll just keep fighting.”
For the past two weekends the focus in the series has been split between who’s on top of the podium and what’s going on beneath the surface in the championship. At this point with this many players it’s not about race wins as much as it’s about consistency. One rider who experienced a return to this in Dallas was Villopoto. Since last winning at Indy RV seemed to have lost his edge. But that quickly changed with him making the best of a poor start in Arlington to climb into the top-five. Once there, Villopoto held steady and kept the rubber down while major crashes provided a window of opportunity.
“Things really worked out tonight for me,” said Villopoto. “I didn’t get the greatest start but I just snuck around the inside. With the way the track was tonight you just had to be really smooth and calm and try to stay out of trouble.”
By keeping patient Villopoto regained the lead in the championship ahead of Reed by six points. With only four rounds remaining, the net smothering the top-five riders has shrunk even more. Dungey moved one point closer in the standings after earning third in Dallas. At a time when a single point has become a precious commodity, Dungey has drifted into the championship picture thanks to 10 podium finishes in the last 13 rounds.
Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey moved one point closer to the leader in the standings after earning his 10th podium of the season.
“All in all, it was a good day,” said Dungey. “The track was tough; especially the whoop sections were really big and technical. I got off to a good start in the main and was able to work my way up to second in like the 10th lap, but then a couple of laps later I came up on a lapper and just misjudged what he was going do and went down. I got back up in third and made a hard charge for second and got close but just came up a little short.”
For the second time this season Geico Honda’s Kevin Windham posted a top-five finish. After a crash during his heat race that forced him into the LCQ, the veteran kept his cool and dominated the event from start to finish in order to qualify.
“We had the outside gate in the main and I feel like I got the holeshot coming through there in seventh or eighth,” Windham said. “After that I just settled in and rode right up there with all the guys fighting for the championship, so I’m pretty pleased. We’ll get after it again next weekend and try to win another one for GEICO.”
Meanwhile Cole Seely put in his final 450 ride aboard Factory Honda while filling in for the injured Josh Grant. A hard fall in the opening laps forced him out of the contest, but a third-place finish in his heat race was enough to prove that this Lites rider is one to watch in the future.
Despite recording a DNF in his final 450 race with Honda, Cole Seely posted third during his heat race in Dallas.
“I’m just glad I was okay after that,” said Seely. “I wish I could have finished that main event because I think I could have done well. I really want to thank American Honda and my Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil/ Honda team for giving me this opportunity. It’s been such a great experience and the guys at Honda are great. I’m looking forward to getting back on my 250 and going to work up in Seattle in a few weeks.”
In the East Lites division Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson sealed a win ahead of Geico Powersports Honda’s Justin Barcia to make it three wins so far for the Scotsman. Feeling under the weather and trailing Barcia on the final lap, Wilson made a decisive pass that he managed to hold until the finish.
“It wasn’t an easy race,” Wilson said. “I’ve been battling the stomach flu all day. I just kept pushing and didn’t give up. It went all the way to the last lap, which was fun for everyone here. I made a pass on him and he got me back, then I got by again, he stuffed me and I stalled. I had one last chance to get him and I stuck it.”
Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson earned his second consecutive win after a last-lap pass on Honda’s Justin Barcia.
Once again, however, Barcia maintained his podium perfection in 2011 by snagging second in Texas. The result allowed Wilson to move only three points closer in the standings, which Barcia still controls with just two rounds left.
“This was probably the toughest race of the year,” said Barcia. “This track was tough. I struggled in the whoops all day and it cost me the win. Still, we got another second and that kept the streak going. Two rounds left — if we keep it on the (podium) box at both of those races we should be good.”
Barcia’s teammate, Blake Wharton, also had a strong evening in the Lone Star State after clenching third at his home race.
“My home race, for Texas, and it was important for me to do well here,” Wharton said. “I wanted to win, but I’m pretty happy with the way I rode and the pace I kept. The track was tough. Those whoops were gnarly; I’ve never seen whoops that big. But my fans from home with ‘Tracking 21’ lifted me up and I rode hard for them.”