On the victory podium, Trey Canard just couldn’t hold in the emotions any longer; the unflappable Oklahoman riding for GEICO Powersports Honda had just wrapped up the season title in the 250cc class of the Lucas Oil AMA Motorcross Championship on Saturday at the Pala National. It was the culmination of three years ups and downs, and Canard got choked up while thanking everyone who had made his championship possible.
Trey Canard says: “There’s so many emotions going through my head right now. It’s unbelievable, and I’m thankful for every opportunity that’s taken place. It’s been a lifelong goal and a lifelong dream.”
“It’s weird, all those experiences and all those tough times come to you. I try to be a humble guy, and attack each race and use it for what it’s worth.”
Also on Saturday, Geico Powersports’ 450cc rider Brett Metcalfe wrapped up second place in the season 450 standings with a third overall finish at Pala Raceway.
The day of racing at Pala Raceway was tense but ultimately anticlimactic. Canard trailed Christophe Pourcel by seven points in the championship standings to start the day.
Both riders started the first moto strong, but Pourcel suffered a nasty spill, separating his shoulder. Pourcel had a DNF in the first moto and couldn’t answer the call in the second, sealing the title for Canard, who finished third overall on the day.
Trey Canard says: “I might need a couple of days to get my real reaction. This team is getting so awesome. I’m bummed that this is my last ride for these guys. To be a part of this with the Geico Powersports Honda guys is fantastic. They’ve worked year in and year out to reach this level.”
Canard finished the season with 474 points. Tyla Rattray ultimately finished second with 446 points. Next year, Canard is going to ride for Geico Powersports Honda’s sister team, Red Bull Honda.
Metcalfe held on to second in the season standings, but it was no walk in the park. Metcalfe gained two points (for a lead of seven) over his closest pursuer, Andrew Short after the first moto. Metcalfe nearly lost it all following a crash while leading the second moto.
Metcalfe showed the grit and determination to get back on the bike and make up five positions, to finish two spots behind Short in the moto (third place in the moto and on the day) and five points ahead in the standings.
Brett Metcalfe says: “I wanted to win that moto, but I blew it. When I was down, it took me a while to get up and get the bike started again. Once I got going I knew I’d lost a few positions, and knew Shorty was up in the lead.”
“It took me a lap or two to regroup, because the bike was a little bit twisted. I found some good lines on the track, which helped me pass. I tried to ride fast but not out of control, because I knew if I fell again I’d be done for.”
Canard and Metcalfe helped to put a bow on the most outdoor successful season in Geico Powersports Honda history.
Mike LaRocco Geico Powersports Honda team manager) says: “You can’t say we didn’t have a great season. To win a championship and get second in 450s, it’s just awesome.”
All of the team’s 250 riders ended up finishing in the top eight in the season standings.
Justin Barcia was fifth overall on Saturday and fifth in the season standings.
Justin Barcia says: “The whole team did good this year, despite some tough stuff going on out there. I had some good races, some bad ones, too. I’m going to work real hard before Supercross season and shoot for a championship of my own.”
Eli Tomac finished the final race of his rookie season with a fourth place finish at Pala and a sixth place finish in the season standings.
Eli Tomac says: “The first season was up and down. It started with a big up, but after Texas the heat zapped me and got to me more mentally than physically.”
“It took me a few weeks to get used to the whole pro scene. I went down to Florida with Ben Townley and that really helped me a lot, and got me back to my old groove.”
Geico Powersports’ final 250 rider, Blake Wharton had a scary end-over-end crash in the first moto, and was briefly knocked unconscious. He was diagnosed with a concussion by series medical staff and did not race the final moto. He finished eighth in the season standings.
Riding isn’t over for the year for Canard and Metcalfe. Canard will represent the USA and Metcalfe, for Australia, in next week’s Motocross of Nations, Sept. 24-25 from Thunder Valley outside Denver.