If rising GEICO Powersports Honda star Trey Canard could combine his regular Lites West results with the points he earned while filling in for Andrew Short on the AMA Supercross tour, he’d have one of the top average finishes in the sport.
Canard has two victories and an astonishing nine podium finishes in 12 starts this season to lead GEICO Powersports Honda teammates Kevin Windham and Blake Wharton into this weekend’s AMA Monster Energy Supercross event at Qwest Field. The Oklahoman rode a Honda 250cc bike for the first six races of the Lites West schedule then switched to a Honda CRF450R bike for another six events.
He’s currently on a streak of five straight podium finishes, but says that doesn’t guarantee him a thing as he returns to Lites action this weekend.
Trey Canard says: "Just because I made podiums in the 450s doesn’t mean I should automatically win Lites races," Canard said. "The caliber of riders is generally the same. We’re all going about the same speed. It’s not like I’ve raced the 450s and now I’m looking down on the Lites. I don’t see it that way at all.
"The whole thing has been a gift and I’m lucky to have been a part of it. It really boosted my morale about racing and riding. I’m much more comfortable about the races now. It gave me good experience and a chance to stay busy during the break in the Lites West schedule. Plus, I was able to race 20-lap mains, which was good."
Overall, Canard has averaged a third-place result on the year. He’s ranked second in the Lites West standings, 14 behind leader Jake Weimer. The most points a rider can earn at a single event in 25, so with two Lites West events left, Canard knows he needs to stay sharp to have a shot at the title.
"It’s not something that needs to be on my mind," Canard said. "My main focus needs to be racing my own race and doing the best I can. I want to make sure I get a good start and put in a solid 15 laps. The rest will all fall into place.
Rushed into action on the Lites West tour after a late off-season injury to teammate Brett Metcalfe, Wharton’s scheduled build-up to the year was thrown off kilter when he was moved from Lites East to Lites West action. Nevertheless, the young Texan scored a podium finish in Phoenix and has entrenched himself in the top five of the world rankings.
"I’ve been riding more and practicing more for these last two races than I have for anything in my life," Wharton said. "I plan on being on the podium at both events. I’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe the guys in front of me will tighten up and start getting cautious because they’re in the championship chase. Not me; I’m going for it."
Wharton currently is 46 points behind Weimer, with fourth-place Broc Tickle and third-place Wil Hahn representing the hurdles he hopes to clear first.
"I learned so much at the start of the year," Wharton said. "Once we got to the break, I had a real clear picture of what I needed to work on. My practices always include some long motos to get my endurance up and I’ve been studying my lines very carefully to get quicker. I think people will see a different rider in Seattle."
Legend Windham rides a nice streak of his own into the Great Northwest. The sport’s most popular rider has finished second in each of the last two races and is considered a favorite at the 15th of 17 Supercross races on this year’s tour.
Supercross racing begins at 7 p.m. PDT Saturday.