The Rockstar Energy Racing teams continue to get fired up and make ongoing improvements as the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross season progresses. And this was particularly true this past Fourth of July weekend as several Rockstar riders carded their season’s best results at round six, the fan-favorite RedBud National in Buchanan, MI, on what turned out to be an extremely hot and humid Saturday afternoon.
Star Valli Yamaha’s Gareth Swanepoel was one of the riders who celebrated his greatest results this season in the 250 class. Feeling right at home in RedBud’s triple-digit temps, the South African brought home seventh place overall, thanks to ninth- and seventh-place moto results.
“Today was obviously a good day for me,” said Swanepoel. “In the first moto, I got a decent start and managed to keep out of trouble the first few laps. I got through to 10th and was there most of the race, but then I got up to ninth. In the second moto, I finally got the start I’ve needed all year. But then I came into a corner a little bit hot and lost the front end. I lost a couple of spots but I managed to get them back and finished seventh, for seventh overall. Next week, Millville’s one of my favorite tracks so I just need to get a good start and keep pushing toward the top five and a podium spot.”
Likewise, Rockstar Energy teammate Kyle Peters captured his best results of the season thus far in the 250 class. In the first moto, Peters got a great start and ran in a podium position for several laps before finishing eighth. In the second moto, he wound up13th. These combined results were good enough to hand him 11th overall for the day.
“I felt pretty good in the first moto,” said Peters. “I got a good start and had some good battles, and I finished eighth. In the second moto, though, I just really struggled. But now, I’m ready to come out swinging at Millville.”
Because Rockstar Energy Star Valli Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham is out due to injury, new rider Tommy Weeck is racing the 250 class in his place. Making his debut with the Rockstar team, Weeck carded an impressive 12th overall after finishing 19th in his first moto and a solid eighth in the second.
“Today was an awesome experience,” said Weeck. “Learning with the new Star Valli Yamaha team and adjusting to the new bike and everything, I felt like we handled it well. I had a few bumps in my races with bad starts and a first-lap crash, but I felt like I rode solid, charged hard and gave it my all. I can’t wait for Millville next weekend, to make even more improvements and work for a top-10 overall.”
Also in the 250 class, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton started out strong by picking up a seventh-place result in his first moto. In the second moto, Wharton had some bad luck but recovered to finish 12th. Altogether, Wharton finished eighth overall for the day.
“Overall, it was not a bad day,” said Wharton. “I had a few falls that I’d rather not have happened, but that’s racing. Now, I’m just looking forward to Millville and having some good battles.”
Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Hunter Hewitt put in a strong effort but struggled with the heat and humidity. Although Hewitt got really good starts in both 250 motos, he had several crashes and succumbed to the heat.
“It was hot and really humid,” said Hewitt. “Today was just a tough day for me. I had a great start in the first moto, but I went down and hit my head a little bit and the heat just got to me. In the second moto, I got another good start but I crashed. I’ve never raced at Millville before, so I’ll come back the best I can next weekend and stay positive.”
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson picked up a top-10 finish in his first 250 moto, but wound up 17th in the second. Still, he finished the day 13th overall. And Rockstar Energy Racing’s Martin Davalos is still out due to injury but hopes to return to racing before the season’s end.
Also flying the Rockstar Energy Racing flag was Jessica Patterson in the WMX class. Unfortunately, Patterson broke her hand prior to the weekend and only raced RedBud to gain points before undergoing surgery next week. Patterson will miss the next round but will be back for the Washougal National at the end of the month. Despite racing with a broken hand, she went 15/14 for 14th overall.
“Today was very tough for me,” said Patterson. “But I did what I came to do and that was to salvage points. I’m still in the points lead and I have surgery scheduled for Monday. I’ll be ready for Washougal and to be on the box again.”
In the 450 class, Star Valli Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry returned briefly to U.S. racing while on hiatus from contesting the Canadian Nationals. At RedBud, he carded his best moto finish of the season with an eighth-place result in the first moto. In the second, he had several get-offs and wound up 23rd. Overall, Kiniry finished the day in 14th.
“RedBud was pretty decent,” said Kiniry. “I passed my way up to eighth in the first moto. I was looking for the top five, so it was a step in the right direction. In the second moto, I got a terrible start but I passed a lot of guys on the first lap and got myself up to about 10th but then I took a pretty good digger – laid myself on the ground and got up about 20th. Then, I went down again and ended up finishing 23rd. But I salvaged the day and I beat some good guys who’ve been in the top five, and that’s where I’m looking to be.”
Also in the 450 class, Rockstar Energy Star Valli Yamaha teammates Nico Izzi and Ryan Sipes both suffered horrible luck. During practice, Sipes cased the infamous LaRocco’s Leap and bruised the soles of his feet. He attempted to race the first moto but had to pull off on lap one. Izzi got a good start in moto one but crashed while running seventh and couldn’t get back in the race. Neither rider raced the second moto.
Also representing Rockstar was Nick Wey, though only at select events. A native Michigander, he was on hand for RedBud and finished the day in 15th overall after picking up 17th- and 14-th place moto finishes.
“It’s always good to race at RedBud,” said Wey. “In the first moto, I crashed and got run over a couple of times. I got up super-far back and got up to 17th. In the second moto, I got a terrible start but I rode a lot better. Overall my speed was good, I just didn’t get the starts I needed. It’s tough when you’re not racing every weekend. But I’ll be at Millville and I’ve won there, so it’s a good track for me.”
Finally, Rockstar’s Brett Metcalfe suffered a broken tibia and fibula in a recent practice crash. Although Metcalfe underwent successful surgery and is on the road to recovery, he will most likely be out for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the seventh round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, July 14th, at the Spring Creek National in Millville, MN.