Posted By: James Hanson
Despite gusting winds and severe lightning that were daunting enough to delay some of the racing, the Rockstar Energy Racing teams prevailed at round three of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championships at the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, CO, on Saturday.
Leading the 250 charge for the Star Valli Yamaha team was Kyle Cunningham. Because Cunningham is still nursing an injured ankle, he lacked time on his bike during the week. Even so, Cunningham pushed hard and brought home ninth- and 10th-place moto finishes for ninth overall.
“We had two good motos,” said Cunningham. “In the first, it took me a little bit to get going. I felt like I rode more like myself for the last six laps. In the second moto, I got a decent start but I couldn’t push out of my comfort zone. But I’ll continue to work on getting my ankle better during the week, and then push through it on the weekends. I’m looking forward to High Point. I’ve had some good motos there and it’s another weekend to improve.”
Star Valli Yamaha 250 teammate Gareth Swanepoel saw progress this weekend. After missing the last few rounds of Supercross due to illness, the South African has worked hard to get back on pace. This weekend, he carded his best results yet: 13/13 in the motos for 12th overall.
“It was a tough weekend,” said Swanepoel. “But my results are getting better. I’ve just got to get better starts and be stronger in the first few laps. By the time I get going, the race is pretty much over. I just have to keep working. Now we go to High Point, which is a tough track, but it should be good.”
For Star Valli Yamaha 250 rookie Kyle Peters, the tricky Colorado track took a toll. Peters put in some impressive laps early in the first moto and ran with the top five. He eventually settled into eighth, but crashed with two laps to go and couldn’t re-start his bike. Peters struggled in the second moto and finished 17th, for an overall result of 19th for the day.
“I ran in the top five for a little bit in the first moto,” said Peters. “So I was happy with that. In the second moto, I got a bad start and was working my way through the pack when I had some bad luck and fell over. Now I’m just trying to get ready for High Point. It’s new to me and it should be fun.”
In the premier 450 class, Star Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi celebrated an excellent weekend. Carding his best result of the season so far, Izzi captured fifth-place finishes in both motos to take an outstanding fourth overall for the day.
“Today was a great day for me,” said Izzi. “It couldn’t have been any better. Practice was pretty good and I qualified fifth, then I got about a ninth-place start in the first moto and rode my way into fifth. And then we had some crazy weather between motos and that made things a little nerve-wracking. But I started in the top 10 again for the second moto, and I made some moves and got into fifth. My goal was to complete two solid motos for a good overall, and that’s what I did. Now we go to High Point and I love that track. I grew up racing there, so it’ll be nice to go there and run with the top dogs.”
Star Valli Yamaha 450 teammate Ryan Sipes put in an admirable effort, especially considering he was riding with a broken hand. In spite of the nagging injury, Sipes picked up a solid sixth-place result in the first moto. In the second, however, he tweaked his hand and couldn’t hold on to the bike. He wound up finishing 26th, but still managed to land 15th overall.
“I feel like I’m getting better every weekend,” said Sipes. “I just need to push past my comfort zone, get a little wild and make some mistakes. In the first moto, I started way back and moved all the way up to sixth. I felt strong the whole moto. The second moto started better – I was around 10th – and I was moving up, but I hit a post and went off the track. After that, I was still moving up, but I crashed and tweaked my hand. It was a tough moto. But next we’re at High Point and it’s one of my favorite tracks. I’m ready to break out some more speed, but it put it up there for both motos.”
Star Valli Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry did not race at Thunder Valley because he’s contesting the Canadian Nationals. Kiniry will be back racing stateside at the Red Bud National in July.
The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the fourth round of the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, June 9th, at the High Point National in Mt. Morris, PA.
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June 4th, 2012 | TAGS: Cosworth, Factory Effex, Gareth Swanepoel, GYTR, Kyle Cunningham, Kyle Peters, motocross, MSR MX, MX, Nico Izzi, Rockstar, Rockstar Energy, Rockstar Energy Drink, Ryan SIpes, Scott Motosports, Star Valli Yamaha, Thunder Valley Motocross National