2012 AMA Supercross Lites East Championship
Fourth place never tasted so sweet for GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia.
All Barcia had to do was finish Saturday night’s race in fourth or better at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and a second consecutive Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites East title was his.
The main event was filled with fierce battles and aggressive riding throughout, but Barcia stayed cool and won the title by finishing exactly where he needed.
Justin Barcia (GEICO Honda CRF250R Supercross) says: "It was quite the race," Barcia said. "It was a really crazy race. Finishing in fourth place was good enough to get the championship, and I’ll gladly take it."
It’s the first time in almost two years that Barcia had not finished a race in the top three, but with the stakes so high Saturday, finishing off the podium wasn’t the end of the world. Throughout the intense 15-lap main event, Barcia kept cool and his mind on the big picture.
Justin Barcia says: "I was trying to be as smart as I could. I was trying to block my inside and watching it, because the other guys were putting it in there hard. When I’d watch the inside, I’d get passed on the outside. It was really tough for me for sure."
Barcia said he chalks the 2012 title up to teamwork and a personal rededication to being the best there is on a 250cc motorcycle.
Justin Barcia says: "We all put a lot of hard work into this season. Personally, I’ve put in 100 percent effort, and got 100 percent out of it. The team did its very best to make sure the bike was perfect every weekend. This title and tonight’s celebration is a reward everyone on the GEICO Honda team is sharing tonight."
Barcia leaves New Orleans with five wins in eight events and a 42 point lead over Ken Roczen and Darryn Durham, who are tied for second. All Barcia needed to clinch was to have a 25 point lead at the end of the night.
The GEICO Honda team wasn’t shut out from the podium because the team’s other Lites rider, Justin Bogle, finished third.
Justin Bogle (GEICO Honda CRF250R Supercross) says: "I didn’t have the best gate pick, but I still got off to a pretty decent start (in the main). I’m pumped to get back up on the podium. I had to run down some good guys and made quite a few passes during the night.
"It’s getting toward the end of the season for me and it feels great to be ending the year on a high note."
Bogle, who now has two podium finishes in his rookie season, is in seventh place in the points. He trails sixth place Jake Canada by 11 points with one race left in the season.
Wil Hahn, who has been filling in on a Supercross bike for the Muscle Milk Honda team, used a daring final-lap pass in the Last Chance Qualifier to make the main, then came home ninth in the 450cc main event.
Kevin Windham, who was injured at Houston two weeks ago, made a valiant attempt to race on Saturday in front of his hometown crowd despite bad shoulders and a busted up left wrist. He made one lap during practice but the pain in his wrist was too much to overcome.
Kevin Windham (GEICO Honda CRF450R Supercross) says: "I love what I do and I wanted to try and race," Windham said. "I’m hoping that I’ll heal up enough to race before the season is over, but I’m not optimistic that it will happen. We’ll just have to wait and see."
The AMA Supercross scene shifts back west next week and the Lites West series fires back up for its stretch run on April 21 in Seattle.