Fresh out of retirement, Jeff Ward takes the lead at the season opener of AMA motocross at Auto Club Speedway.
It was only a month ago that Jeff Ward learned he would be racing Supermoto in 2009. The team was in need of a rider as the season approached and Jeff was called out of retirement to go after yet another title. The nine-time AMA champion didn't disappoint. Wardy pulled the holeshot in the main event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA and never looked back. He faced challenges from Mark Burkhart and Brandon Currie during the final but held on to grab the win and the early points lead in the series.
"I'm just shocked to even be on the podium," said Ward after his victory. "I only had a month to prepare and I hurt my wrist at a motocross race in Argentina a few weeks ago so I had my doubts. I just really want to thank the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / PPG / Honda team for putting together a great program for me again."
Despite fracturing his right hand in practice Joey Pascarella ends up competing for first place with teammate Jeff Ward.
His teammate on the 250, rookie Joey Pascarella, had a rough start on the weekend. During a wet practice session early in the day, Joey hit a water puddle and high-sided in a fast sweeper just after the finish line. The crash resulted in a small fracture in his throttle hand. Initially we thought his day, and his championship hopes, might be over. But Joey taped up his swollen hand, gritted his teeth and went to the start line for the final.
He started third and looked to be settling into that position. At about the halfway point a rider fell in front of him, handing him second. At that point Joey's adrenaline must have kicked in because he started going after the leader. As he closed the gap he lost his front end in a turn but quickly remounted, holding second place to the finish.
Jeff Ward (center) was happy with his performace, making it known on the podium.
"I'm happy to come away from this race with a podium finish," said Pascarella. "I was worried that I had thrown the championship away before the season even got started. I've got time to heal up now and be 100% for the next round. Hopefully I can get a win at the next round and get some points back."
The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/PPG/Honda team now has some time to focus on the second round of the series in Sonoma, CA on May 17th.