CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Aug. 27, 2016) – What turned out to be a wild, up-and-down season of racing for the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda team ended in fitting fashion at the final round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Ind.
The drama started in qualifying for RJ Hampshire, who ran into problems in his first practice and got onto the track late. The track became slower by the lap, and several riders in the first, unseeded group of riders had already logged quick times. Hampshire was only able to log a good lap near the end of the session, which was only 27th fastest of his group. He rebounded for 11th fastest in session two, but the track was even slower, so his best time only registered as 42nd overall. Only the top 36 spots automatically seed into the main motos, so Hampshire had to go to the Last Chance Qualifier to make the race.
“That was my first LCQ; I was super nervous!” said Hampshire, who went on to win that race and make the motos. “First moto, [I] had a terrible start and worked up to 10th but crashed twice the last two laps. Second moto, I got a better start but crashed hard the first lap. [I] worked my way all the way up to 10th. Happy the year is over and I‘m healthy. Looking forward to a productive off-season.”
Hampshire ended up with 14-10 scores and 11th overall, the best on the team for the day. He led the team in the final series standings, also, with 11th in the season rankings.
Rookie Tristan Charboneau took 14th with 16-12 scores. His day was filled with ups and downs, literally.
“Started off the day in the rain in the first practice with P-16, but that ended up only 23rd overall,” said Charboneau. “Bad gate pick, so I lined up on the gate for the first moto and went Glen Helen-style and took the far inside gate, came around the first turn in seventh or so, had a crash on the fourth lap, which put me back to 10th. Then I crashed in the same spot again, which moved me back to 15th. [I] made a minor mistake on the last lap and [Justin] Hill got around me. Finished 16th in moto one.
“For moto two, I lined up three gates from the inside, pulled another good start, about eighth, and decided I wanted to crash in the third corner, so I was back to 32nd,” Charboneau continued. “I put on a hard charge the first lap after I got up and crossed the finish line lap one in 16th. [I] made my way to 12th by lap four, had a crash that put me back to 16th again, then passed the same four guys the next lap back into 12th! I saw [Mitch] Oldenburg in the distance and put my head down and made the pass on him, then saw Hill in the distance and put my head down once again to catch him. I got close to him with three laps to go and gave it all I had, but then I felt like I just hit a freight train head on. Hampshire and [Arnaud] Tonus got around me the last lap, so I ended up 12th in moto two for or 14th overall.”
Jordon Smith had the best individual performance of the day with ninth in moto one, but bike problems for the second-straight week held him to 36th in moto two and 17th overall.
“This weekend was a tough weekend. The track was tough all day starting with the first practice,” said Smith. “It was really just limiting the mistakes. The first moto I got off to a mediocre start, moved my way to ninth and just tried to stay consistent and make as few mistakes as I could. Second moto we had another electrical issue on the line, and on the second lap I had to stop into the mechanic’s area for the mechanics to fix it. By then I was already almost a lap down. It was another rough day to finish the season. I have to give it up to the entire GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda crew. They worked hard all year and I want to thank them for that.”
The Ironman National wraps the 29-race Monster Energy Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross season for GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda, but the team will compete in selected off-season events before the 2017 season begins in January.