MECHANICSVILLE, Md. (June 12) – With four races completed in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, the GEICO Honda team already has surpassed its 2011 success.
Heading into Saturday’s Red Bull Budds Creek National, Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia have combined to win three of the four overall 250cc crowns and are in the thick of the championship hunt. It appears that last year’s frustration has produced a new resolve for everyone on the GEICO Honda team.
“It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing we’re doing differently,” said team manager Mike LaRocco. “Just like last year, we’re doing all we can, putting in a lot of time and work to give these guys everything they need to win races. I think we’re achieving that so far. We’re also carrying over the success we had in Supercross, and confidence is high.
“Our riders have tasted success early in the outdoor season and I think they’ve realized some of the mistakes that were made in the past. Now they are doing the right things to keep that success coming.”
Tomac has two overall races wins this season after going winless in 2011, and he said that in addition to the personal changes he’s made, having a teammate of Barcia’s talent level to push him has been a valuable asset.
“It good to have a teammate there battling with you, and if it comes down to the end of the year, we can help each other out,” Tomac said. “As far as what is different this season, I think I’m a better rider this year, and the bikes are just super good. All the Supercross wins this year gave me a lot of confidence to know I’ve got the speed to beat anyone, indoors or out.
“The whole package is just awesome.”
Barcia, who finished second overall last week and is second in points, said he also feels like a different person this year.
“I think I’ve grown up a little bit,” Barcia said. “I’ve got a new trainer and just feel a lot stronger now. My bike is a lot better than in the past and everyone is working really well together. We struggled with stupid things in the past, but now we’re all working good.”
Barcia is especially confident heading into Budds Creek, one of his favorite tracks.
“It’s got good dirt with a lot of uphill and downhill runs,” Barcia said. “It normally gets some good ruts, and we’ve had to deal with some serious rain occasionally, but hey, that’s racing outdoors.
“There’s always good fans and lots of good places for them to watch the race.”
With one overall title, Barcia trails points leader Blake Baggett by seven points with Tomac in third 11 points behind the leader.
In recent weeks, GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn has been making big strides towards joining Tomac and Barcia as a podium regular.
“I love Budds Creek. It’s got lots of rolling hills and gets super rough,” Hahn said. “It’s demanding, but I like racing there. I’ve been doing the right things during the week to make me fresh every weekend. I feel like I’m still building and getting stronger every race. I’m ready to keep it rolling.”
Practice for the Red Bull Budds Creek National gets under way at 8:30 a.m. EDT Saturday with opening ceremonies starting at 12:40 p.m. FUEL TV will carry the first 250 cc moto live stating at 1 p.m. EDT with the NBA Sports Network carrying the second moto at 3 p.m.
Please visit www.geicohonda.com for more information.