Utah Governor Gary Herbert welcomes Chad Reed to Salt Lake City.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert, along with President & CEO of the Utah Sports Commission Jeff Robbins, welcomed the return of Monster Energy AMA Supercross to Utah yesterday in a pre-race conference from Rice-Eccles Stadium. Joining Herbert and Robbins on the stage was TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda's Chad Reed, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton and Trey Canard, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle.
"We are excited to have Monster Energy Supercross back here in the great state of Utah," exclaimed Herbert. "This is an event we look forward to hosting in Utah. There is a tremendous amount of support that goes into the event and this is just another example why Utah is the state of sport. Our sport's segment in Utah is helping our economy grow in a significant way and market Utah as being a great place to live."
"As you look at the economic footprint, now in our eight year hosting this event, it's approaching $75 million towards the economic impact and providing almost over $20 million of media promotional value," said Robbins. "We are simply thrilled to have all the support we do with this event and are excited to have Supercross back in Salt Lake City."
Reed and Canard entered the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season as two of the title favorites after both competitors were part of the five-rider group that made up the most competitive season of all time one year ago. Reed took an early win at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and was going bar-to-bar with eventual champion Ryan Villopoto atop the Supercross class standings before suffering season-ending injuries in an accident at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Despite being forced to step away from competition, Reed has still held a strong presence at the races, primarily by becoming an additional member of the SPEED broadcast team.
"This season was meant to be such an amazing one for us," said Reed. "The season started out great, and I was in good shape for the championship but disaster struck in Dallas, and I had a crash that got me. It's unbelievable to think the top-six guys from last season are on the sideline. I've shared a lot of great memories here in Salt Lake City, so to not be racing here is a bummer."
Canard suffered an injury prior to the opening race of the championship, forcing him to miss the first two weeks of action. Upon returning at Los Angeles, Canard was a victim of yet another crash, ultimately removing him from competition for all of the 2012 season.
"It's really unfortunate what happened earlier in the season," said Canard. "It's amazing to be here right now. You try not to think about injuries, but it happened and I need to move forward from here. Bottom line is that I'm thankful to be here and my doctors are optimistic with my return to racing."
Brayton has been one of the bright spots of the second half of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season. He has garnered four podium finishes in the past six races and is arguably one of the hottest riders in the Supercross class coming into Salt Lake City. With two races remaining, Brayton looks to continue to carry the flag for Team Honda Muscle Milk and potentially break through for his first career win.
"Salt Lake City is one of my favorite stops on the Supercross schedule," said Brayton. "The past couple weeks have been good for me. I've gotten great results and it's exciting to be in shape for locking in second place. I hope I can get it done here."
Tickle is in the midst of his rookie season in the Supercross class, just one year after capturing the Western Regional Supercross Lites class title. While he has experienced some ups and downs, he's began to hit his stride over the second half of the season and is in the midst of a six-race streak of top-10 finishes.
"It's always good to back here in Salt Lake City," said Tickle. "My results this year haven't been as good as I wanted them to be, but I'm hoping to get on the podium and win races. Last year was fun being in contention for the championship, so I want to get back up top again."
The first Monster Energy Supercross race inside Rice-Eccles Stadium took place on April 28, 2001, with 42,135 fans on hand to witness Ricky Carmichael capture his 13th win of the 16-race season en route to the championship. Since then, three other riders have stood atop the podium at Salt Lake City, including Reed, Villopoto and Kevin Windham.