CORONA, Calif. (April 7, 2014) – Following a seven-week break in action, the Monster Energy Supercross 250SX West Region made its return to action last Saturday in Houston. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Dean Wilson and Justin Hill entered the seventh stop of the West Region Championship with arguably the most momentum in the division, following wins by both riders at the previous two rounds of the West season.
Both Wilson and Hill made their presence felt at the front of the field all afternoon and evening in Houston which presented what many riders considered to be the best dirt of the 2014 season, but also one of the most technically challenging tracks thus far. In the end, Wilson emerged mere bike lengths short of his second victory in three races while Hill fought valiantly to earn a top-10 result in the midst of a challenging main event.
Wilson Fights Through the Pain
Wilson entered Houston with a simple game plan: winning. Coming into the race facing a 33-point deficit in the West Region standings, he knew that coming out on top would be the best way to keep his title hopes alive. However, adversity struck in the form of injury for the Scotsman during his heat race, ultimately adding another element to the challenge he already faced in the main event. Nevertheless, Wilson's toughness was on full display and he endured the pain to nearly pull off the win.
The second-fastest lap of practice set the tone for a promising night for Wilson. In the heat race, he moved into the front of the field early but then went down in the extremely difficult whoop section on the Houston track. While he was able to quickly remount and post a fifth-place finish to transfer into the main event, impact on Wilson's right shoulder in the crash left him banged up and in some pain. Nothing was going to keep him from a shot at victory and he quickly asserted himself into second as the gate dropped on the main event. Wilson patiently logged consistent lap times and then made a push on his Kawasaki KX250F over the second half of the 15-lap race to close in on the lead. He was just a few bike lengths from making the pass in the closing laps, and crossed the line with a hard-earned runner-up finish that tested his pain threshold. Wilson was in obvious discomfort following the race, but was proud of his resilient ride.
"That was one of the toughest races I've ever had," said Wilson. "I tried to stay focused on tracking down the leader but as the laps built up, so did the pain in my shoulder. I came here to win and I told myself nothing would stop me from doing that, so in the end I just didn't care about how much it hurt. I knew in the end it would be worth it and it is. There are probably a few things here and there that I could have done differently to possibly make a pass for the lead, but considering everything that went down and how I'm feeling, a second place is pretty rewarding."
Wilson moved into third in the West Region standings, 36 points out of the lead with two races remaining.
No Quit in Hill
Heading into the West Region break Hill emerged as one of the sport's most exciting young riders, which was capped off with his first career win at the sixth round from San Diego in February. When he and his counterparts returned in Houston, Hill's confidence was still high and it showed with impressive speed and a fun-loving approach. While Hill's resiliency was tested in the main event, his refusal to give in to adversity added depth to his mental game and he still walked away with a solid finish that came as a direct result of his will to succeed.
While relatively quiet for the bulk of practice, Hill ended the afternoon with a surge to post the fourth-fastest lap and give him some momentum heading into the night show. In his heat race, Hill rode consistent laps to finish second and secure a strong gate pick for the main event. Out of the gate in the main event, Hill followed Wilson to the front of the pack and moved into podium position on the opening lap. He kept pace with his teammate until a crash in the whoops dropped him deep inside the top 10. Hill returned to action and began to work his way back up the standings until another hiccup in the whoops in the closing laps ultimately resulted in a ninth-place finish. While it wasn't necessarily the result Hill was hoping for, he learned from the experience.
"The whoops were my enemy tonight (laughs)," joked Hill. "You really needed to commit to them and a couple times I just lost my rhythm a little bit and it put me on the ground. We came away unscathed though and I just kept fighting. Sometimes you're going to have nights like this but I felt good and the Kawasaki KX250F was working great. My speed was where I want to be; I just had a little bit of a tough night. We'll come back strong next week to put on a show for all my Pacific Northwest fans."
Hill now sits fourth in the West Region standings, 37 points out of the lead and one point behind Wilson for third.
Looking Ahead Seattle's CenturyLink Field
The Monster Energy Supercross season always presents what riders might consider to be "wild card" rounds where Mother Nature has a tendency to take center stage and add a twist to an already challenging task. Seattle is one of those stops and CenturyLink Field has been known to produce some of the wildest races in recent memory. Rain is almost always a factor in the Pacific Northwest but Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki knows how to be successful at CenturyLink Field with two wins at the venue and six total wins in Seattle over the years. Both Wilson and Hill will look to put the team back on top of the box next weekend.
NRG Stadium – 250SX West Region
1. Jason Anderson
2. Dean Wilson
3. Malcolm Stewart
9. Justin Hill
DNS Darryn Durham
CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS
250SX West Region
1. Jason Anderson – 156 points
2. Cole Seely – 145 points
3. Dean Wilson – 120 points
4. Justin Hill – 119 points
19. Darryn Durham – 21 points
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About Pro Circuit
Based in Corona, Calif., Pro Circuit Products, Inc. is a leader in off-road motorcycle and ATV exhausts and aftermarket performance parts. Started in 1978, Pro Circuit is the go to shop for recreational riders and professionals for everything from suspension work to complete engine packages, and everything in between.
Created by former desert racer Mitch Payton, Pro Circuit proves its products and services week-in and week-out through its tagline "We Race." Every product that dons the Pro Circuit stamp stems from the legendary Pro Circuit race team. A staple in the professional paddock, Pro Circuit Racing has earned 29 AMA championships and more than 200 race wins in more than 30 years of competition.