450SX class newbie Justin Barcia clutched his first AMA Supercross win on Saturday at Chase Field, Arizona in the second race of the season.
Following up from a very successful Monster Energy Cup day last year in Las Vegas, Barcia came to Arizona with a goal in his sights – redemption – from his late lap crash in California the previous week.
It was “definitely” about redemption, Barcia told Erin Bates post-race.
“I came in here strong and the track was really difficult today,” the Muscle Milk Honda rider said.
Holding off Ryan Villopoto (2nd, Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Anaheim 1 winner Davi Millsaps (3rd, Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki), the 20-year-old from Georgia made light work of the fast-paced track.
Oddly, both Villopoto and James ‘Bubba’ Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki) both experienced traction and stability difficulties in the 450 Main Event, both giving away places at times as their front ends snaked dangerously out of control on the Arizona surface.
Villopoto crashed on the second lap, making way for Stewart to zip past him for 8th place, before nipping in front of him again a few laps later.
The 250SX race didn’t go down lightly, either.
MotoConcepts rider Jake Canada failed to get his chin strap fastened correctly before the race started; his mechanic rushed to the start line moments before the gate dropped, only to be restrained by officials.
Canada was black-flagged a few laps into the race for safety reasons.
It appeared the quick-release device for Canada’s helmet was not properly fitted, leaving the Californian with little choice but to make do and hope for the best.
Fellow California rider Eli Tomac made it two in a row as he took out the 250SX final, riding at a blistering pace with several far-extending whips in what was a dominant show of force.
“To do this in front of my friends and family is as good as it gets,” the GEICO Powersports Honda rider said.
“It seems like everything’s really clicking this year, and man, it doesn’t get much better right now!”
The defending champion beat Ken Roczen (2nd, Red Bull KTM) and Martin Davalos ( 3rd, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) to claim the number one spot.
Next Saturday, it’s back to California for Anaheim 2.
Content by TSM Guest Editor, Paul Savage