SX Pre-Race Report
Justin Barcia's rookie season on the AMA Monster Energy circuit has been remarkable. In the first seven races of his pro career on his 250cc GEICO Powersports Honda, the teenage sensation has one win, four podium finishes, and has challenged for the Lites East championship from the start.
As the tour arrives in St. Louis for this Saturday's final race of the Lites East campaign, Barcia is looking to cap his year with another victory, which will assure him of finishing No. 2 in the points to veteran rider Christophe Pourcel, who clinched his second straight title a few days ago in Houston.
Justin Barcia says: "The East championship is decided so we'll push as hard as we can to get second," Barcia said. "We're only four points back of the second-place guy and he got hurt in Houston so I'm not even sure if he'll be racing. No matter what, we want to win another race and get up to second place."
He continues: "It's been a great year. Supercross is everything I expected it to be and more. The riders are great, the tracks are tighter and more challenging, and the fans are crazy. It's so fun to ride in front of 70,000 people. If not for one bad race in Atlanta when I wrecked, we would be pushing for the title until the end, but either way it's been a blast."
Barcia expects a big charge from his GEICO Powersports teammate Brett Metcalfe at the Edwards Jones Dome. Metcalfe, a veteran rider from Australia, is just nine points back in the world rankings and with six finishes of seventh place or higher, including two podium results, he's always a contender.
Brett Metcalfe says: "It's a very important weekend for both Justin and myself," Metcalfe said. "It's the last race of the East season and we all want to go out with a win.
He continues: "The season has been a bit different for me. I expected to race the West series but I got hurt in the off-season so I swapped places with Blake (Wharton). I think I expected more from myself early on but the seat time I missed had me playing catch-up for the first few events. I'm still very proud of this GEICO Powersports Honda team and all we've accomplished. I'd like to get this last win for the boys."
Both Barcia (pronounced bar-sha) and Metcalfe will compete in the 12-race Lucas Oil Motocross series, which begins May 22 in California.
With four races left in 450cc action, legendary rider Kevin Windham doesn't have the same sense of urgency as his younger teammates, but he knows he needs to make a move now to improve on his current fifth-place ranking. A runner-up finisher in Houston, Windham could jump as high as third in the world with another strong outing in St. Louis.