The 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship season came to a well-earned, celebratory close for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams in Lake Elsinore, CA, a city known for helping launch the sport of dirt bike racing. Despite overwhelming heat, all the Rockstar athletes gave 100 percent at Saturday’s inaugural Lake Elsinore National, which was held at an all-new facility and a completely revamped racetrack.
Leading the 250 class for Rockstar Energy Racing was Blake Wharton, who finished the day in a solid eighth overall. Wharton got good starts in both motos, riding smart and consistent races to finish eighth in both events. Additionally, Wharton finished seventh in the overall championship points.
“The track was good,” said Wharton of the new course. “It was technical and I’m glad to finish the last round healthy. I’m already thinking about what I can do better next year. I’m looking forward to a break and then getting back to it. I learned a lot this year, and hopefully I can build off of this. I had some ups and downs this season, but that happens. I look forward to next year and will try to keep my head up.”
Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Jason Anderson also had a good weekend at the new track, getting a great start in the second 250 moto and running in a podium position for more than half the race before finishing fifth. At the end of the day, Anderson finished 12th overall at Elsinore, and eighth overall in the end-of-season championship points.
“The weekend ended up pretty good,” said Anderson. “My first moto was rough, I didn’t even finish. But in the second moto, I got a good start and ended up fifth. That was a good, strong moto to end the season with, and I’m happy with it. I’m making progress and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Rockstar Energy Racing’s 250 class rider Martin Davalos was also on hand for the Lake Elsinore National, but only to cheer on his teammates. Unfortunately, Davalos was injured at the previous round and unable to race.
“I couldn’t race this weekend because I broke a rib in a couple of places at Steel City,” said Davalos. “But I’m excited to be here for the team. It’s my last race with them, and I’m just enjoying hanging out and spending time with them. It’s been an up-and-down kind of year and I can’t thank the Rockstar Energy Racing team enough for being supportive during these tough times.”
In the WMX class, Rockstar’s Jessica Patterson rebounded from a mid-week foot injury to finish the season with a very impressive third in the overall championship points. At Elsinore, she finished fourth in the first moto, but tweaked her hurt foot in the second and didn’t finish. Despite this, she was still 11th overall for the day.
“This year was really tough for me,” said Patterson. “I had a lot of bad luck with injuries. I tried to make it through this weekend, put the pain out of my mind and focus on the championship. The first moto went OK, but in the second moto, I landed off a jump and it tweaked my bad foot and I had so much pain I couldn’t take it. Overall, it was an awesome year, and I can’t thank the Rockstar Energy Racing team enough. They’ve been really supportive and I wish I could’ve won the championship for them, but we’ll keep working for it.”
Rockstar-sponsored Star Valli Yamaha rider Jeremy Martin continued to turn heads in the 250 class after recently swapping his amateur status for Pro. Martin celebrated a ninth-place overall result, thanks to two 10th-place moto finishes.
“I had a great time at Elsinore,” said Martin. “I went 10/10 for ninth overall and I’m happy with that. I know I have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to this off-season. I want to win and I’m going to take all the steps necessary to come out next year and have a really strong, full rookie season.”
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Kyle Cunningham also put in two solid rides in the 250 class, and continues to recover from injuries that caused him to miss much of the 2012 season. Cunningham made more progress at this round, finishing 14th in the first moto and ninth in the second for 11th overall.
“The track was pretty brutal,” said Cunningham. “It got hard-packed and really slick. I just wanted to come out and put in two solid motos. Unfortunately, in the first moto, I just ran out of gas and it was a bit of a bummer. I went back out in the second moto and I was a little fatigued, but I gutted through it and survived. Now I’ll just focus on getting stronger for next year.”
Like Rockstar’s Cunningham, Star Valli Yamaha’s Kyle Peters also missed a number of races due to injury, but made significant progress at the Lake Elsinore National. Peters got good starts and ran in the top 10 before picking up 13th- and 16th-place 250 moto finishes for 16th overall.
“I got one really good start and a pretty good start, but I had some issues,” said Peters. “I had really bad stomach cramps in the second moto and finished 16th. In the first moto, I didn’t feel good until the last few laps, but by then it was too late. Now, I’m ready to regroup and get ready for next year.”
Also racing for the Star Valli Yamaha 250 team was Cole Thompson, who put in a valiant effort but suffered in the intense heat. In the first moto, Thompson got a great start but faded to 12th. In the second, the Rockstar rider succumbed to the high temps and didn’t finish, but still ended up 18th overall for the day.
“In the first moto, I got a good start and was running in the top 10,” said Thompson. “But the heat got to me and I went back to 12th. In the second moto, I got a decent start, but I just started feeling sick and I pulled off and couldn’t finish.”
Finally, Star Valli Yamaha 250 teammate Ryan Sipes tried to race the first moto but wasn’t feeling well and retired for the day before the race’s end.
In the 450 class, Star Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi finished the 2012 season with a solid performance. In the first moto, unfortunately, the Rockstar rider went down in a turn-one pile-up and couldn’t rejoin the race. In the second moto, however, Izzi bounced back with a great start and finished an impressive seventh. He wound up 14th overall for the day.
“In the first moto, I was in that turn-one pile-up and broke my throttle housing and I couldn’t finish,” said Izzi. “But I was excited to go out and burn some laps on the new track in the second moto. So I went out and came through the pack, charged my way through to the top 10 and finished it out strong in seventh.”
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Bobby Kiniry also had a good showing in the 450 class despite some bad luck. In the first moto, Kiniry suffered several get-offs and didn’t finish the moto. In the second race, he got a good start but fell again. In spite of this, he still managed to rally and finish 15th in the second moto and 20th overall.
“All in all, it was an OK day,” said Kiniry. “In the first moto, I got a good start but I fell in that big turn-one pile-up. But I got back on my bike and got up to 21st pretty quick. Then I ended up falling again and twisting my leg pretty good and bending my bike up, so I went back to the truck to regroup. I went out for the second moto and got a great start and was trying to move up when I fell on my face and had to start from dead last again. But I worked my way up to 15th on the last lap and I can’t complain about that.”
Finally, Star Valli Yamaha welcomed an additional rider to their Rockstar fold this weekend, 450 class racer Scott Champion. Champion raced to 26th- and 21st-place moto finishes for an overall result of 28th for the day.
“This opportunity was a last-minute deal,” said Champion. “We put this thing together and I came out to race Elsinore just to have some fun and so the team could see where I was at. I had a lot of fun and I appreciate the opportunity to race with the Star Valli Yamaha team.”
Rockstar athletes Hunter Hewitt, Gareth Swanepoel, Tommy Weeck, Nick Wey and Brett Metcalfe did not race at the season-ending round due to illness and injury.