East Main Event
Justin Barcia showed why he’s the Eastern Region SX Lites champ with a dominating win in the opening main event.
Prior to the night’s racing action, Erik Kehoe, Team Manager of Muscle Milk Honda announced that Justin Barcia will join Team Honda next year. The Geico Honda champion will make his factory 450 debut at the Monster Energy Cup on October 20 in Las Vegas.
Barcia looked to have an extra dose of incentive as he jumped out early on his Geico Honda CRF250R and immediately started putting time on Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen and Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett. Roczen was the fastest overall qualifier but he couldn’t match the pace of the Honda in the early going. Malcolm Stewart circled in fourth aboard his JDR KTM. Noticeably absent was Monster PC’s Darryn Durham who is out due to a practice crash earlier this week.
As the laps clicked off the German started finding his rhythm, but so did the golden-haired American. They swapped honors for fastest lap, each of them laying down times that would best many in the 450 class. Ten laps in, the KTM pilot was a second off the leader’s rear wheel, but the Honda rider was able to pull another couple seconds and collect the win.
“I was really stoked on that ride. We really struggled in practice… It’s going to be aggressive,” he said of the East/West shootout.
East Main Event Results:
1. Justin Barcia, Honda
2. Ken Roczen, KTM
3. Blake Baggett, Kawasaki
4. Malcolm Stewart, KTM
5. Blake Wharton, Suzuki
6. Kyle Cunningham, Yamaha
7. Hunter Hewitt, Suzuki
8. Jake Canada, Honda
9. Matt Lemoine, Kawasaki
10. Kyle Peters, Yamaha
West Main Event
Not to be outdone, Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac nailed the holeshot with a pair of Rockstar Suzukis in tow. Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson slid his rear end into the Star Valli Yamaha of Ryan Sipes as they entered the left-hander following Monster Alley. Sipes went down and collected TLD Honda replacement rider Billy Laninovich in the process. Lano is filling in for the injured Cole Seely and he will also be making select appearances in the 450 outdoor races this summer for the TLD squad. He failed to transfer from the main but would go on to win the LCQ.
Wilson moved past Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin on Lap 3 to claim fourth while Jason Anderson took over second place from his Rockstar Suzuki teammate Martin Davalos. The Ecuadorian rider returned the favor when Anderson failed to jump a triple, and then Wilson also took advantage. Shortly after, Wilson seat-bounced a triple and took over second place.
Wil Hahn put his Geico Honda into third with an aggressive inside pass on Davalos in a left-hander. Musquin dropped to sixth at the checkers but was able to hold a transfer spot to the shootout despite riding with a broken hand. Sipes recovered for a transfer spot in eighth.
Following the race, Tomac was comfortable and confident heading into the shootout, despite having to face off against his teammate. “If he goes bam-bam then I’m going bam-bam,” he said regarding his aggressive Honda stable mate.
West Main Event Results:
1. Eli Tomac, Honda
2. Dean Wilson, Kawasaki
3. Wil Hahn, Honda
4. Martin Davalos, Suzuki
5. Jason Anderson, Suzuki
6. Marvin Musquin, KTM
7. Matt Moss, KTM
8. Ryan Sipes, Yamaha
9. Scott Champion, Honda
10. Landen Powell, Honda
Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout Results
Ken Roczen (top) looked like he might challenge early, but Barcia (above) ran consistent laps to the checkers and took the shootout victory to close out his Lites racing career.
Barcia took the holeshot with Davalos and Tomac on his heels. Hunter Hewitt held down fourth while Roczen and Musquin made hairball pass attempts to move toward the podium. Wilson crossed the first lap in seventh but then jumped off the track and slipped outside the top-10.
Davalos powered his Suzuki into the lead around the long outdoor sweeper as Roczen was laying down the fastest lap times. The top four were all close enough to be on the same straight at the halfway point, but time was limited in the shortened 10-lap shootout. Davalos made a timing mistake in a rhythm section which allowed the East Coast champ into the point position and the West Coast champ also took advantage in the next corner. The two Geico Hondas were running wide open as the battle everyone was waiting for finally came to the front of the pack.
Roczen fell off the pace a tad which left him to battle with his Red Bull KTM teammate, Musquin, for fourth. The Frenchman was unable to overtake the German, however as they ran out of time.
With a lap to go, Barcia got sideways in the whoops and gave Tomac exactly the opportunity he needed, but apparently the Colorado native hit the same nasty bump and his Honda swapped in exactly the same manner. Barcia recovered and took his CRF250R to the checkers – the final victory in his impressive Lites career.
“That was such a good race,” he said. “Eli was trailing me so hard the whole race and I was just pushing as hard as I can. Glad I didn’t have to do no bam-bam on my last race in Supercross on a Lites bike. Can’t go out any better. I’m so happy.”
Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout Results:
1. Justin Barcia, Honda
2. Eli Tomac, Honda
3. Martin Davalos, Suzuki
4. Ken Roczen, KTM
5. Marvin Musquin, KTM
6. Wil Hahn, Honda
7. Ryan Sipes, Yamaha
8. Malcolm Stewart, KTM
9. Blake Wharton, Suzuki
10. Matt Moss, KTM