In a fight to the finish, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Timmy “Red Dog” Ferry rode to an amazing second place finish at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. After winning his heat race Red Dog adapted to a tricky track, and with a last lap pass in the sand, earned his second-straight podium finish. His teammate Travis Preston finished 14th. In the AMA Supercross Lites class, Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn raced to a second-place finish. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe battled through the pain of a bad ankle to finish fourth while teammate Austin Stroupe finished seventh.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent
Making the Move
With the laps clicking off quickly Ferry was determined to get into second place. After making the pass for third in an off-camber turn, Ferry saw an opening in the sand area of the track. After his heat race, Team Manager Mike Fisher told Ferry how Stroupe had used an outside line going into the sand to make passes.
“Fisher had been pointing out a line,” said Ferry. “They cut the last whoop out after the finish line and it set you up to turn early. I hit it every lap just because it felt comfortable and it ended up being the money pass.”
Making Changes
The track at Qualcomm Stadium featured a gnarly rhythm section that gave Ferry fits throughout practice and the heat race. It wasn’t until the middle of the main event that he found the fastest way through.
“The rhythm section was tough,” said Ferry. “I was in fourth and saw the guys in front going double, triple, double, triple. I hadn’t done that at all in practice or the heat race and the main event isn’t the time to try new things, but I knew that was the only way I could keep up. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
The Heat is On
Ferry’s night started of with a bang as he earned his first heat race win in years. After nailing the holeshot, he paced the field leading all eight laps.
“The heat was awesome,” said Ferry. “I hit the holeshot from the outside and it has been working for me lately. It felt great. I haven’t won a heat in a while and I need to run that pace. It opened my lungs up and got my hands working which set me up for the end main.”
Two Down
With a full week of riding under his belt, Preston continued to improve as he scored a fourth place finish in his heat race. During the main event he rode a steady race and learned more and more about his bike.
“I felt like I improved,” said Preston. “Instead of getting tired on lap seven, I didn’t get tired until lap 12. It’s tough moving in like this, but I’m having fun and hopefully I get better. My heat race was good. My Kawasaki is ripping it down the start, and that is a key in supercross because when you get out in front it is a lot easier.”
Xtreme Podium
For the second time in California, Hahn rode his Kawasaki KXâ„¢250F to the podium in the AMA Supercross Lites, getting a second place finish in San Diego. In conditions totally different from a muddy San Francisco, Hahn came off the starting line in second and had a clean race on a technical track.
“Everyone was saying I could only do it in the mud,” said Hahn. “I guess I showed them I can do it in the dry as well. I want to thank my team. They did a great job. The track was tough and I need to thank my trainer too. I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Riding Hurt
During the second practice, Metcalfe tweaked his ankle and spent the time before the night program with his foot in a bucket of ice. During his heat race, he went down in the first turn and was unable to make the main event and had to go to the last chance qualifier. In the LCQ, Metcalfe hit the holeshot and led all four laps to get to the main event. In the main, Metcalfe overcame a rough start to work his way up to fourth at the checkered flag, which moves him to third in the series’ standings.
“My ankle is fine, but it is just a little sore,” said Metcalfe. “It is going to be really sore in the morning. It was pretty numb for the races and I just got a bad gate pick for the main. Going to the LCQ probably helped me a little though because it kept my ankle moving and loose and I wasn’t thinking about it too much. I overcame the outside start and finished fourth which salvaged some points.”
Hard Fought
It was an eventful race for Stroupe, as he battled throughout both his heat race and the main event. During both races he found a quick way through the sand and was able to make passes right after the finish line.
“I didn’t get the start I usually get and I’m bummed,” said Stroupe. “Back in the pack you can’t do much, but I passed as many people as I could and ended up with seventh.”
Sizing It Up
With one of the tallest riders in the series, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team made some modifications to the Kawasaki KX™450F to fit Preston’s six-foot frame. The team installed a taller seat to accommodate his long legs and also moved the handlebars forward. To make the bike more comfortable, the team switched from the smaller sub-frame James Stewart rode, to a standard size sub-frame.
Happy Birthday
On the Wednesday leading into the San Diego event, Preston celebrated his 30th birthday. The team surprised him with a cake featuring gold stars and oreo cookies. Although the cake didn’t match the diet recommended by Ferry’s trainer Dean Golich, he says the extra year could help Preston as riders in their 30’s are in their prime.
“Athletes are at there strongest in their early thirties,” said Golich. “Especially in endurance sports like supercross, they can tailor their training to get the most out of their training and they are also more mature and can ride smarter.”
Wardrobe Malfunction
With just one race under his belt in 2008, Preston is still working out all of the kinks. During the first practice Preston’s pants were a little too big, but in between practice sessions Preston and his mechanic Mike Williamson found a solution, using tie-wraps to tighten the pants.
As soon as the race was over, the team went to work stripping the race bikes down to the sub-frame so the engines could go back to the Kawasaki race shop in Irvine. The rest of the bike was loaded into the truck and the mechanics will rebuild it when they get to the next race in Houston on Thursday.