Lites Title Chase Heats Up

Jean Turner | March 13, 2010

Even for those who ended the night on top, Toronto proved to be a rough ride. Many agreed that the typically rocky terrain of the Canadian venue was much improved this year, but the tight and technical layout still presented a considerable challenge to racers.

GEICO Powersports Honda rider Justin Barcia by no means had a flawless ride in the Lites main event, but it didn’t stop him from taking a wire-to-wire victory at the Rogers Centre – the first of his pro career. Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Austin Stroupe and defending Lites East champion Christophe Pourcel joined him on the podium at the Rogers Centre Dome.

Barcia’s night started off on a mediocre note. After taking the holeshot in his heat race, a forceful pass by Pourcel for the lead nearly put Barcia into the Tuff Blocks. He slid back to third behind Pourcel and Stroupe after the fumble, but moved back into second when Pourcel mishandled a rhythm section and hit the ground. Stroupe took the heat race win ahead of Barcia, and Pourcel rallied back to a fifth-place finish.

In the Lites main event, Barcia again grabbed the holeshot with Stroupe, Pourcel and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson not far off. As the pack thinned out, Barcia was off and running with the lead while Stroupe and Pourcel followed, patiently waiting for a mistake from the rookie, it seemed. Several mistakes came, but none of them big enough to relinquish the lead.

In the sand section, Barcia picked up a banner on his footpeg which threatened to throw off his game, but he was able to free himself of it a half lap later. In another close call, Barcia fumbled a technical 90-degree left turn which he was doubling through all night. Barcia ended up off the track, but kept things under control and was back on track still in the lead.

Lappers also complicated things later in the race and at one point, Stroupe was able to close the gap on Barcia. But the rookie would not be denied tonight. He kept a firm grip on the lead and took the first win of his pro career in only his fourth Supercross race.

Stroupe finished a strong second over Pourcel, and though it wasn’t an improvement in his solid string of second-place finishes, he was able to gain points in the championship over Pourcel for the first time this season.

Like Stroupe, Pourcel also picked up a banner on his footpeg, which slowed him down a few seconds. The Frenchman was also hindered by a “wardrobe malfunction” in the main event, and was hiking up his pants in midair whenever he could.

Moto Concepts Yamaha rider Ryan Sipes had a strong showing in Toronto, and gave Pourcel’s teammate, Wilson, a stiff challenge in the main. Sipes delivered a solid whack to Wilson as he passed him for fourth in the early laps, but two laps later, Wilson returned the favor and regained the point. Wilson went on to finish fourth followed by Sipes, Brett Metcalfe and Kyle Cunningham. Troy Adams, Michael Willard and Nico Izzi rounded out the top-ten.

LITES HEAT 1: 1. Dean Wilson (Kaw); 2. Martin Davalos (Yam); 3. Kyle Cunningham (Yam); 4. Ryan Sipes (Yam); 5. Nico Izzi (Yam); 6. Levi Kilbarger (Hon); 7. Blake Baggett (Suz); 8. Vince Friese (Yam); 9. Michael Willard (Hon); 10. Jason Hussey (Kaw); 11. Tony Gallo (Hon); 12. Les Smith (Yam); 13. Steve Roman (Kaw); 14. Aaron Gulley (Kaw); 15. Vernon Mckiddie (Kaw); 16. Adam Gulley (Kaw); 17. Drew Yenerich (Yam); 18. Dean Dyess (Suz); 19. Gared Steinke (Yam); 20. Lucas Crespi (Suz).

Race Time: 5 min., 59.089 sec.

Margin of Victory: 4.256 sec.

LITES HEAT 2: 1. Austin Stroupe (Suz); 2. Justin Barcia (Hon); 3. Matthew Lemoine (Suz); 4. Troy Adams (Suz); 5. Christophe Pourcel (Kaw); 6. Taylor Futrell (KTM); 7. James Decotis (Hon); 8. Steven Clarke (Suz); 9. Adam Chatfield (Kaw); 10. Kyle Keylon (Suz); 11. Brett Metcalfe (Hon); 12. Sean Lipanovich (Hon); 13. Michael Adaydin (Kaw); 14. Jake Moss (Suz); 15. Kyle Hussey (Kaw); 16. Topher Ingalls (Yam); 17. Michael Joe Thacker (Hon); 18. Tevin Tapia (KTM); 19. Darryn Durham (Hon); 20. Devon Pilkington (Kaw).

Race Time: 5 min., 55.229 sec.

Margin of Victory: 2.682 sec.

LITES MAIN: 1. Justin Barcia (Hon); 2. Austin Stroupe (Suz); 3. Christophe Pourcel (Kaw); 4. Dean Wilson (Kaw); 5. Ryan Sipes (Yam); 6. Brett Metcalfe (Hon); 7. Kyle Cunningham (Yam); 8. Troy Adams (Suz); 9. Michael Willard (Hon); 10. Nico Izzi (Yam); 11. Vince Friese (Yam); 12. Adam Chatfield (Kaw); 13. Taylor Futrell (KTM); 14. Levi Kilbarger (Hon); 15. Martin Davalos (Yam); 16. James Decotis (Hon); 17. Steven Clarke (Suz); 18. Jake Moss (Suz); 19. Blake Baggett (Suz); 20. Matt Lemoine (Suz).

Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.