Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Pourcel Takes Home the Title in Toronto

March 31, 2009

Christophe Pourcel claimed the 2009 AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region Championship after winning his fourth race of the season at Rogers Centre in Toronto on his Kawasaki KX250F.

Christophe Pourcel clinched the championship with one race remaining and was joined on the podium by his teammate Austin Stroupe. Stroupe finished second in the main event with Canidae Motosport Kawasaki’s Branden Jesseman fourth. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Billy Laninovich did not advance to the main event.

Carrying a 25-point lead into the penultimate race of the East Coast season, Pourcel knew if he won the race, he would claim the championship with one race remaining. Though the season consists of eight races, the Frenchman’s road to the title was much longer. Nearly two years ago Pourcel suffered serious injuries and was forced to miss more than a year of racing. With his return this season, the former MX2 World Motocross champion relied on his past championship experience to ride smart and earn consistent finishes.

With the track at the Rogers Centre deteriorating lap by lap in practice, Pourcel realized he would want to be in the first heat race to ensure a smoother and more than likely faster racetrack. Knowing the fastest rider in practice would go to the second heat, Pourcel made sure he didn’t put in the fastest practice time so he could get in the preferred heat.

Stroupe knew if he wanted to extend his chance at the championship, he would have to beat his teammate. The 18-year-old rider posted the fastest time in practice and worked his way to second in his heat race. In the main event, Stroupe was deep in the field, but he made his way up to second place. He was unable to catch Pourcel, but he did get a tighter hold on second place in the points standings.

After setting the 14th fastest time during the afternoon practice session, Laninovich was set for his heat race. At the start he came out in 12th place and quickly moved up to tenth, just one spot away from a transfer position. With two laps to go, Laninovich dropped a spot to 11th. In the last chance qualifier he came out of the gate deep in the field, but worked his way up to seventh at the finish.

Quote Pourcel: "It feels great to win the championship," said Pourcel. "It was awesome to win the race and the championship at the same time. I was really focused on the start and when I got it I knew I was going to be okay. It wasn’t easy to come back from my injury, but it was worth it. To be a champion, you have to be consistent and that is what I’ve tried to do this whole season.” “We wanted to be in the first heat,” said Pourcel. “I was happy not to be fastest in practice. I knew the track would be a lot better in the first heat because of the ruts. I put in some laps so I knew how the track would be and then we worked on starts.”

“In Jacksonville I’m going to be safe,” said Pourcel. “I want to win for the team, but we have the outdoors season coming up. I want to get the holeshot and then stay up front. Getting on the podium is very good.”

Quote Stroupe: “Finishing second isn’t what I wanted this weekend,” said Stroupe. “It wasn’t good enough to stay in the championship. It’s all right though. We’ll just go back and work harder. I’ll go for the win next week. We now are starting to focus on the outdoor title, which is something that I really want.”

Quote Laninovich:“Everybody is riding really good,” said Laninovich. “I’m just as fast, but I’m not prepared right now. I took six months off of riding and just started again about a month ago. You can’t do that and expect to be ready. I’m working on my fitness and I feel I rode better this weekend than I did in St. Louis. It just didn’t show in the results.”

East lites results round 7
1. C Pourcel, Kawasaki
2. Austin Stroupe, Kawasaki
3. Broc Tickle, Yamaha
4. B Jessemen, Kawasaki
5. M Lemoine, Yamaha
East lites Point standings after round 7
1. C Pourcel, Kawasaki, 156
2. Austin Stroupe, Kawasak, 128
3. Nico Izzi, Suzuki, 112
4. B Wharton, Honda, 102
5. B Jesseman, Kawasaki, 91

Supercross results round 13
1. James Stewart, Yamaha
2. Chad Reed, Suzuki
3. Josh Hill, Yamaha
4. Josh Grant, Yamaha
5. Ivan Tedesco, Honda
DNS. Ryan Villopoto, Kawasaki
DNS. Laninovich, Kawasaki
DNS. Tim Ferry, Kawasaki
Supercross Point standings after round 13
1. Chad Reed, Suzuki, 293
2. James Stewart, Yamaha, 285
3. Andrew Short, Honda 209
4. Josh Grant, Yamaha, 190
5. Ivan Tedesco, Honda, 179
9. Ryan Villopoto, Kawasaki, 165
11. Tim Ferry, Kawasaki, 100