American Honda congratulates the Honda Red Riders for their outstanding performances during the 2011 AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, following a season of great racing—and great drama. A solid contingent of Honda racers vied for championships on their CRF250Rs and CRF450Rs throughout a season that showcased some of the closest racing in years. In the process, they earned a great deal of success including the Supercross Lites East Championship for Justin Barcia, as well as the runner-up spots in Supercross by Chad Reed and Supercross Lites West competition by Eli Tomac.
Early in the season, American Honda Racing's Josh Grant suffered an injury that kept him sidelined, but teammate Trey Canard proved himself one of the hottest riders in the Supercross class by finishing on the podium six times in his rookie season, including winning three Supercross events. Canard was fifth overall in the championship, only 20 points out of the lead, when he suffered a crash during practice that resulted in a non-displaced leg fracture that took him out of the remaining Supercross season. His stellar results in his first full Supercross class season earned him fifth overall for the season as well as the esteemed AMA Rookie of the Year Award.
However, there were still a number of seasoned Honda Red Riders on hand to carry the racing banner forward. Honda newcomer TwoTwo Motorsports' Chad Reed took his first win of the season at San Diego, and he made the most of his opportunities right up to the finale in Las Vegas where he took his second race win this year. Finishing on 11 of 17 podiums, Reed's consistent results were enough to lock down second place in the championship. GEICO Powersports Honda's Kevin Windham also started strong in the Vegas finale, leading the race until a crash took him out while running in second position. Still and all, Windham had a strong season and finished seventh overall.
In the Supercross Lites East Championship, GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia finished on every podium of the nine-round series, including three wins, to clinch his first-ever Supercross Lites crown—despite riding nearly the entire series with a broken wrist. Going into the final Las Vegas round, Barcia had a solid 20-point lead in the series over his nearest rival. While he could have taken the easy way to the title, he grabbed the holeshot and opened up a gap over the rest of the field. However, on lap three he went down and relinquished the lead. Still, Barcia was able to recover to finish third and handily capture the 2011 Supercross Lites East Championship. Barcia's teammate Blake Wharton ended the season with a strong fifth in the standings.
In the Supercross Lites West Championship, GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac had an outstanding rookie season, capturing two wins and finishing on six podiums. Fellow Honda racer Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda's Cole Seely was also a two-time winner. At the final Las Vegas round, Seely led the race while title contender Tomac trailed close behind. Seely lost the lead after a small crash yet still battled within the top five while Tomac continued to fight his way to the front. Tomac's fourth-place finish secured enough points to finish the year in second place.
The Honda Red Riders now turn their efforts toward preparing for the upcoming Motocross Championship. The season gets underway at the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, CA, on May 21.