Perhaps the most interesting race of the weekend was in Houston (and it was one that I was at), where Honda rider Trey Canard got the first 450-class Supercross win of his career. It was a big one, too. And while the Oklahoma rider benefitted from a gnarly first-turn crash, which took James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed out of the equation, Canard still had to deal with defending series champ Ryan Dungey (among others), who is starting to get things turned around in the Suzuki camp. Dungey moved in on Canard near the end of the race and made a pass for the lead when Canard made a bobble. Canard came back on Dungey, however, and made a bold move to retake the lead. Canard is one of the riders who is quickly moving up the Supercross order and I expect this to be the first of many wins on the year.Little has been said about Villopoto’s ride from back of the pack to third, but it was impressive. The Houston track was tight and difficult to pass on. It was hard-packed with loose dirt on top and Ivan Tedesco told me it was the worst track he’s ridden in his entire career. Despite the conditions, Villopoto found ways to make passes and moved from way outside the top 10 to third at the end of the race, salvaging valuable points. In the end, this race may have won a championship for RV, but there is still a lot of racing to go… and don’t count out Canard.
Another “Biggie” this weekend was in Il Ciocco, Italy, where trials rider Graham Jarvis won Hell’s Gate ahead of another trials rider Dougie Lampkin. The big story as far as I’m concerned was American Cody Webb, who just so happens to be the defending U.S. National Trials Champion (trials guys kicked butt!). Webb posted the fastest time in one of the tests on his Beta 350RR, although his results suffered because he made a rookie mistake and, “went to the wrong check because I didn’t know what I was doing.” According to Webb, the race amounted to going up a lot of slippery, wet creek beds with no run at all. “It’s like a guy went up the gnarliest creek bed and put arrows everywhere,” Webb said. Due to getting lost, Webb showed up at his start check late and instead of being the eighth person to leave, he was in the 20s. After turning the fastest time in one of the tests Webb would have started the main event in second, but instead he started 29th out of 30 riders.”All-in-all it went well,” Webb said in a phone interview. “I wasn’t getting arm-pump, but the very last creek (of the loop) was my downfall. Every time I went through there my forearms would cramp up and I’d have to beat the cramp out of my arms. It wasn’t that long of a creek, but when you’re stuck in first gear and pushing, it was so brutal. Second-place finisher Dougie Lampkin said he was dying in there. I heard spectators say that they climbed down and helped Lampkin through, but they say Jarvis was just riding through like he was on a trials bike. Jarvis rode really well; he’s definitely proven himself!”Kyle Redmond, also on a Beta, ended up scoring a 10th place finish, which was an awesome ride, while Jarvis (Husaberg) and Lampkin (Gas Gas) were the only official finishers of the race in first and second.
Wrapping things up, I spoke with Michael Lafferty today and he’s in Florida all this week getting ready for next week’s opener of the Rekluse/AMA National Enduro series in Salley, South Carolina. Lafferty has eight national enduro titles to his credit and an amazing 68 national wins under his belt. After 15 years on a KTM, “Junior” switched to Husaberg last year and he told me he feels he’s fully adapted to the bike and ready for the new season. Mike will also be racing a few of the GNCC rounds this year, which he thinks will help with his speed.