TORONTO (March 4, 2017) – A week after a crash knocked him out of action in Atlanta, GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda’s Christian Craig bounced back with a solid, safe third-place during a hectic 250SX main event in Toronto. With riders battling and crashing all around him, Craig kept it steady to grab his first podium finish of the season.
“Toronto was definitely an improvement for me,” said Craig. “I qualified second but didn’t feel like I was second, honestly. The track was tricky. Being from California, I’m not used to a track that breaks down like that. For the night show, I was kind of in safe mode, which I shouldn’t have been.”
Craig battled hard with Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis for his heat race win and finished less than half a second behind. “My heat was good. I started in fifth or so and made my way to second. I almost took the lead in the last turn, but I didn’t want to take either of us out.”
“The main was pretty bad, actually. I tightened up on about lap eight and was riding too cautious because of the track conditions. I was in fifth for a while, then [Colt] Nichols and [Joey] Savatgy went down. After they both went down, I knew I needed to get focused to stay in third. I rode my best after those guys crashed to hold onto third—I wanted to hold onto that spot. I got kinda lucky with a podium but it’s where I belong so it felt good to be there after the first two rounds I had.”
Craig, despite being one of the fastest riders the first two rounds of the series, had finishes of 12th and Did Not Qualify coming into Toronto.
Unfortunately, even with Craig’s podium, the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda team’s recent run of bad luck didn’t end entirely. RJ Hampshire finished the race in 14th place, but actually broke his lower leg in the process, and the injury will likely end his supercross season.
“This weekend was for sure not my best,” said Hampshire. “The track got really beat down and it was hard for me to find a flow all day. In the heat, I was running in second and felt the best I had all day. Then I tucked the front end and went down. I was able to work my way back up to eighth. My start in the main wasn’t the best so as always, it makes everything more challenging. I think I was seventh on the last lap when I came up short on the rhythm section and went down. I knew something had happened to my leg but didn’t know how bad, so I got up and was able to finish in 14th. I went to the doctor today and found out I fractured my lower [tibia and fibula]. Looks like I won’t need surgery and should hopefully be back within eight weeks or so.”
Craig will carry the flag for the team at this weekend’s Daytona supercross in Florida, but 250SX West Region rider Jeremy Martin will also be in attendance riding under the factory Honda HRC tent in the 450 class. Martin will be in his traditional GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda Alias gear, riding aboard the injured Ken Roczen’s Honda CRF450R. The Daytona race will mark Martin’s career debut in the 450SX class.