Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Racing News
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki made history on Saturday night by claiming the top four positions in the Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Shootout. Jake Weimer led the train of Kawasaki KX 250Fs at the front of the field with Josh Hansen finishing second, Christophe Pourcel third and Dean Wilson fourth. In the supercross class, Chad Reed earned his first podium of the year finishing second, while Nick Wey battled a stomach flu and still earned a 10th place finish.
For the first time in AMA Supercross Lites history, a single team swept the first four positions in a race. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team all got off to good starts with Weimer earning the holeshot. Wilson and Pourcel battled for second and Hansen had to work his way up from sixth after the first lap. For the final 12 laps of the race, the team battled for position but still managed to pull away from the field. At the checkered flag, the four teammates finished 10 seconds ahead of the fifth-place rider.
Winning with Style
Weimer led all 15 laps of the main event with a large target on his back. After winning the Western Region championship last weekend, Weimer was able to run the red No. 1 plate for the first time in his career.
“I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now,” said Weimer. “This was my last supercross lites race and I wrapped up my career with a win. That No. 1 plate is heavy, and everyone handles it differently. I was fired up to come here. Since there are no points here, I was able to just concentrate on getting the win. I wanted to make a statement.”
Hansen rode an aggressive race throughout the main event making calculated moves to work his way up from sixth to second. Hansen knew he was racing his teammates so he knew they would race him clean.
“Tonight was sick,” said Hansen. “This team is the best team in the pits and we showed everyone that tonight. It was fun racing against my teammates because we all knew we would race each other clean. I battled with Chris (Pourcel) and Willy (Wilson) to get up to second, it was amazing.”
Back on the Podium
After missing last weekend for the birth of his son, Reed returned to the final race with a clear head and rode a strong 20 laps to finish second.
“It feels nice to get back on the podium,” said Reed. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been up there because of everything that has happened this year. Tonight was really good for the team. Our bike development comes when the rider is going as fast as he can and we moved forward this weekend. This was the first time this year I felt I rode appropriately and was fast enough to continue to develop the bike.”
Pourcel came into the event as the defending winner and he showed he had the speed to get another trophy. In his heat race, Pourcel was leading early, but crashed and went over the bars. Despite having a 12th gate pick he was able to get a good start in the main event and race his teammates at the front of the field.
“It was a good night for the team,” said Pourcel. “I really wanted to win my last supercross lites race so I am a little disappointed. I was sitting behind Jake and waiting to make a move to the lead but Dean kept pressuring me too so I had to change my plan.”
Wilson rode strong all day in Vegas, including winning the East Coast heat race. Since the shootout is invitation only event, the top 20 riders from each region make up the heat race, making it a de facto six-lap main event. With his confidence high, Wilson got a great start in the main event and made it up to second place after lap six. He continued to pressure Weimer up front until the final lap when he fell back to fourth in the running order.
After winning both region championships and sweeping the top four spots in the East/West Shootout, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team was the odds-on favorite to earn the Team of the Year Award at the season ending banquet.
Wey came to the Las Vegas finale ready to get another top-five finish, but a stomach bug zapped his energy throughout the day. Wey got a good start in the main event and rode as strong as he could to finish 10th and end the season seventh in the final standings.
“I had a pretty tough time today,” said Wey. “I remember telling my wife a couple of times last night that there was no way I would be able to race. My mechanic (Mike) Williamson had the bike dialed and I was able to ride on cruise control and get a 10th.”
2 is 1
Though Ryan Villopoto was unable to race the final three races of the season, he still led the way with seven supercross class victories. Villopoto’s amazing run in the middle of the season saw him win seven of 10 races from San Francisco to Houston.