Justin Barcia Lites East SX in Houston

East SX Lites

Houston Texas saw AMA Supercross Lites East rider Justin Barcia win a 15-lap duel with Dean Wilson at Reliant Stadium on Saturday night to put the 2011 Geico Honda CRF250R at the top of the podium for the first time this season.

"How was that race to watch?" Barcia asks after the victory. "It must’ve been awesome because it was so intense to race in."

As glorious as Barcia’s night was, the rest of the evening was bittersweet for the GEICO Honda squad. Supercross rider Kevin Windham got the holeshot in his Main Event and led 11 laps before suffering a cartwheeling crash and finished 19th.

Geico Honda’s other Supercross Lites East rider, Blake Wharton, was run off the track while in third place in the Main, but recovered to finish the race sixth.

For Barcia it was a grand way to start the season following a 2010 season that had a lot of ups and downs.

Justin Barcia (2011 Honda CRF 250 R) says: "The bike was putting the power to the ground. It was such an intense battle. When I was riding I was saying, ‘Woah this is gnarly.’ We had to watch our back every corner because we didn’t know what each other was going to do. It was crazy."

Barcia opened the night by easily winning the first Supercross Lites East heat. The start at Reliant Stadium was tight and tricky, but Barcia shot through the hole, avoided a pileup of riders, and just checked out from there. Barcia led wire-to-wire and wasn’t really pressed.

"I don’t think I won a heat all last year, so that was a big confidence booster," Barcia continues. "It’s all about the gate drop. I’m a racer, so it’s tough sometimes in practice, but it turned into a really good night."

Wharton spent most of the SX Lites East race in third place battling for position with Ryan Sipes. Wharton was racing clean and defending his position, but as the laps in the Main were ticking down, Sipes got over-aggressive next to Wharton and pushed them both over the edge of a curve.

"It was looking real good there for a while," said team manager Mike LaRocco. "Blake got an unfair shake with Sipes running him off the track. Everybody was riding good tonight. Kevin led 11 great laps before that wreck took him out of it.

"We got a win, but we feel like we could have had more."

2011 AMA Supercross Lites Results (Houston)
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
2. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki
4. Ryan Sipes, Ekron, Ky., Yamaha
5. Ian Trettel, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
6. Blake Wharton, Aubrey, Texas, Honda
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki
8. Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., Honda
9. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Kawasaki
10. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda

The Monster Energy Supercross Series goes back to the West Coast for a week with a trip to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium on Feb. 19, 2011.

The AMA Supercross Lites West riders Eli Tomac and Jimmy DeCotis will resume their seasons at that venue. Barcia and Wharton won’t race again until the Atlanta stop on Feb. 26.