Monster Energy Kawasaki Heats Up Atlanta2009-02-23 21:11
With chilly temperatures outside in Atlanta, Monster Energy Kawasaki heated up the Georgia Dome Saturday night with Ryan Villopoto finishing third and Timmy Ferry coming home eighth. In the supercross lites class, Christophe Pourcel claimed his second straight East Coast win, while Austin Stroupe finished seventh.
After dominating practice and his heat race, Pourcel rode a flawless main event to claim his second straight win. Pourcel came out of the gate second and rode a strong race riding with the leader Stroupe.
“It was very fast in the beginning so I just rode my pace,” said Pourcel. “The track was difficult and a lot of riders were crashing so I just wanted to ride smart. Just past halfway, I got my speed where I wanted it and Austin (Stroupe) stalled so I just built a big lead.”
Back on the Podium
After getting out of the starting gate in third, Villopoto made a move to get into second place and he held onto it for most of the race.
“It was a good race,” said Villopoto. “I got a good start and ran third for a while. I got past Helper and then ran second for a while. I made a little mistake before the last triple and Chad got by me. I got him right back a short time later. I was leading him for quite a while. Other than that one mistake, it was a good night. I’m making progress, which is what I want to keep doing.”
Ferry continues to improve every week as he moved back into the top 10 this weekend.
“I’m happy with my finish,” said Ferry. “I rode well and I got to the first turn really good. I finished in eighth place, which is better than my 14th last week, so it’s a big improvement. I was also excited because I was able to get by guys who were getting tired at the end of the race.”
After winning his heat race, Stroupe was determined to get the holeshot in the main event and he wanted to set a fast pace for the race. After leading the first nine laps, Stroupe stalled just after the finish line and dropped back to seventh place.
“I wanted to get the holeshot this week and I was able to get it,” said Stroupe. “I was riding really hard and I got to the 10-lap mark and I was getting ready to cruise to the finish when I made that mistake. I felt really good tonight and I think I’m getting better every day. It was a bummer, but I’ll get over it pretty quick.”
Not a Day at the Beach
The track layout in the Georgia Dome featured a sand section separated by a dragon’s back, which added to the difficulty of the race.
“The sand was pretty tough,” said Villopoto. “It went right to that dragon’s back and it was a really short section so you had to hit the sand hard to get setup for it. It was a technical track that was really busy.”
Once he took the lead, Pourcel wanted to make sure he kept his bike on two wheels to bring home another win.
“When I saw I had a 10-second lead, I started riding more careful,” said Pourcel. “I didn’t want to make any big mistakes so I didn’t jump everything on every lap. My mechanic was showing my lead on the pit board and there weren’t a lot of laps left, so I knew it would be okay.”
Stroupe was one of the only riders in the lites class to attempt some of the more tricky jumps in the long rhythm section. The risk/reward ratio was leaning heavily to reward, as he was able to extend his lead on almost every lap.
“My Kawasaki was awesome,” said Stroupe. “In a couple of places I saw a line and I was able to make some jumps that other guys weren’t able to. I felt comfortable doing things like tripling after the tabletop and I was able to build my gap by doing that so it was good.”
Reversal of Fortune
Ferry isn’t known for his speed in the whoops, but on the track with the longest whoops section of the season, he excelled making numerous passes during the main event.
“I’m usually a little slow in the whoops and I make up time in the turns,” said Ferry. “It seems recently that that has flip-flopped. I was pumped about the whoops.”
With the supercross lites season consisting of just eight events, Pourcel is concentrating on getting as many points as he can every week.
“Every week I’m thinking about the championship,” said Pourcel. “Two wins is a good way to start the season. I didn’t try a couple of risky jumps because I saw a lot of guys going down. I didn’t want to crash or do something stupid. Every race I’m just looking to do my best to win the championship.”
Ferry’s ride at Atlanta was filled with traffic as he tried to make his way to the front. The veteran rode steady and smart to earn an eighth place finish.
“I was able to pass a few guys here and there,” said Ferry. “I think I rode a smart race. The track was better than most this year. There were some places to make passes. The track was difficult which you could see by a lot of guys going down. I just wanted to stay on two wheels all race.”
During his heat race, Pourcel was riding so fast he missed the checkered flag the first time he went by. The French rider rode an extra lap just to make sure he got the win
In what has become an annual tradition for Red Dog, Ferry is headed to a local track in Georgia to help out a friend and raise money for A-T Children’s Project.
“The ride day has been going on for a while,” said Ferry. "A good friend of ours that Ricky (Carmichael), Ezra (Lusk) and I have known for a long time, his daughter has A-T and he has a ride day every year after Atlanta. It’s at a local track here in Georgia. I almost wish I had an outdoor bike to ride. I could go out there and play around.”
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