The Frenchman has certainly shown consistency in the past, but a bad crash during the week put a chink in Christophe Pourcel's armor, and the defending Lites West champion came into round two in Atlanta with hardly any practice time since last weekend's opener. Still, Pourcel showed he had what it takes and remained focused and consistent enough to take a hard-fought win at the Georgia Dome ahead of Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Austin Stroupe and GEICO Powersports Honda's Brett Metcalfe, who filled out the podium.
It was Pourcel's Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate, Dean Wilson, who grabbed the holeshot and the early lead, followed by GEICO Powersports Honda's Justin Barcia and Stroupe. Pourcel ran an early fourth, but immediately got to work trying to make ground. Coming wide on a turn, Pourcel came in on Barcia and checked him up, forcing him to roll a triple and lose valuable ground in the early running. From there, he began doing battle with Stroupe and the two thrilled the Atlanta crowd with some back-and-forth dicing.
Barcia, meanwhile, had recovered from losing ground and clawed his way back up to fourth. He was now on the heels of Stroupe, who was still all over the rear wheel of Pourcel, who had closed in on his teammate, Wilson, who continued to lead the charge.
Stroupe made another run at Pourcel and this time got a solid pass. Barcia tried to follow suit and get around Pourcel as well, but the Frenchman wasn't about to yeild. Barcia was relentless for several turns and began to pressure Pourcel into some mistakes. The number-one plate holder began to make some small mistakes, but pulled it together and kept things under control. But ultimately, it did not stop Barcia from getting the best of him, and the number 17 Honda moved into third, dropping Pourcel to fourth.
Meanwhile, Stroupe was giving Wilson some fits out front, and eventually got by him cleanly to overtake the lead. Wilson was not about to concede and immediately tried to retaliate, as he had led the charge for over half the race at that point.
All top-five riders remained tight with Stroupe leading the way followed by Wilson, Barcia, Pourcel and now Metcalfe. Barcia was next to advance, making his move on Wilson for second. With Stroupe leading and Barcia in a strong second, teammates Pourcel and Wilson were left to do battle with each other for third, with Metcalfe breathing down their necks.
Pourcel got around Wilson, moving him into third not far off Barcia and Stroupe. Coming out of a turn, Stroupe lost his front end and washed out. Stroupe's mistake was just enough to slow Barcia down and let Pourcel squeeze by both of them for the lead. Barcia hung it out trying to keep pace with Pourcel and get back by him for the lead, but the Honda rider cased a triple and crashed, effectively damaging his controls enough to drop him from the top-five.
From there, Pourcel didn't look back and took his second-straight win in as many races, extending his points lead in the Lites East Championship. Stroupe, who had regrouped quickly enough to limit the damage to his race, moved back into second after Barcia went down and collected another second-place finish. Metcalfe followed him across the line in third to complete the podium.
Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Main Event Results:
1. Christophe Pourcel, Groveland, Fla., Kawasaki
2. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Suzuki
3. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda
4. Dean Wilson, San Jacinto, Calif., Kawasaki
5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki
6. Vince Friese, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Yamaha
7. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Suzuki
8. Jake Moss, Temecula, Calif., Suzuki
9. Levi Kilbarger, Logan, Ohio, Honda
10. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Honda
Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Points Standings:
1. Christophe Pourcel, Groveland, Fla., Kawasaki, 50
2. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Suzuki, 44
3. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda, 36
4. Dean Wilson, San Jacinto, Calif., Kawasaki, 33
5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki, 26
6. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., Yamaha, 24
7. Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Yamaha, 24
8. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 23
9. Jake Moss, Temecula, Calif., Suzuki, 22
10. Nico Izzi, Albany, Ga., Yamaha, 22