CORONA, CA – March 24, 2014 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The lone international visit for Monster Energy Supercross in Canada’s largest city of Toronto signified an opportunity for the three-rider 250SX East Region lineup for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki to continue its impressive run towards the championship. A technical and fast track layout inside the Rogers Centre provided one the season’s biggest challenges, which forced all three riders to battle through adversity.
While heartbreak surrounded both Adam Cianciarulo and Blake Baggett, veteran Martin Davalos ensured Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki was at the front of the field and in the mix for victory with an impressive performance on a night that shook up the Eastern Regional Championship.
Davalos Rises to the Occasion
After enduring his most challenging night of the season in Detroit the week prior, Davalos returned to prominence in Toronto. The Ecuador native topped the charts in practice, walking away from a tough crash in the opening session, and carried that momentum into the night show by taking a big win in his heat race to keep that undefeated record intact.
In the main event Davalos position himself in the top five on the opening lap and began his progression towards the front, moving into second by the conclusion of Lap 2. Once in runner-up position, Davalos began closing the gap on the lead until a brief tip over dropped him to third on Lap 9. He quickly recovered and reclaimed second just one lap later to put on an impressive charge in the closing laps and finish just a few seconds behind the leader, securing his fifth podium finish in six races.
“We had our work cut out for us tonight so I’m happy to walk away with a runner-up finish,” said Davalos. “The track got really difficult and I made a mistake late in the race that cost me some time, but we were able to recover and close in on the lead on the final lap. It might have been interesting to see what would have happened with one more lap, but I’m glad to get the Kawasaki KX250F on the box and we’ll look ahead to next week prepared to defend the points lead.”
Davalos overcame a 17-point deficit in the Eastern Regional Standings to take over first place with three races remaining. He holds a four-point lead over Cianciarulo.
Baggett Gets a Bad Break
Momentum was on Baggett’s side coming into Toronto thanks to a win and third-place finish the two weeks prior, and the track conditions were shaping up to work in his favor. A solid practice provided a foundation for Baggett to build off in the night show, where he started things off with a runner-up finish behind Davalos in his heat race.
Baggett didn’t get the start he was hoping for in the main event, but proved to be the fastest rider on the track by climbing from 14th to seventh in the opening five laps, even though contact in the early stages damaged the throttle on his Kawasaki KX250F. Undeterred, Baggett continued his forward progress, moving into the top five by Lap 7, and then into fourth on Lap 10. He quickly closed in on a podium spot the same time Davalos reclaimed second only to lose traction as he attempted to make the pass for third, resulting in hard impact with the ground. While he was able to walk away unscathed, Baggett’s bike suffered further damage and ended his night prematurely in 20th.
“This one is tough to swallow for sure,” said Baggett. “We had a ton of speed and I was right where I wanted to be at the end, but the chaos in the pack on those opening laps kind of left the door open for some bad luck to take place, and it did. I’m glad to walk away from the crash but I know we had a podium locked up before it all went downhill. We’ll regroup and come back stronger next week.”
Baggett fell to fourth in the championship standings, sitting 19 points out of third and 24 points out of the lead.
Admiration for Cianciarulo Continues to Grow
As the hottest rider in Monster Energy Supercross, all eyes were on Cianciarulo as he made his first trip to Toronto. He showed impressive speed in the opening practice of the afternoon but soon faced an uphill battle in the first timed practice. While navigating the whoops, Cianciarulo suffered what seemed to be a minor crash but on his next flying lap in the same section of the track, Cianciarulo’s left shoulder popped out of socket. He received attention from the trackside Asterisk medical crew and had it put back in place, and following another worry free practice he appeared ready for the night show.
Cianciarulo didn’t push the issue in his heat race, safely advancing aboard his Kawasaki KX250F with a third-place finish. He then proceeded to position himself in second out of the gate in the main event and while tracking down the leader on Lap 2, Cianciarulo once again had his shoulder pop out of socket in the whoops, effectively ending his night. While he attempted to finish the race after having it put back in again, the pain was too severe for Cianciarulo to endure and he was forced to pull off for a 22nd-place finish.
“It’s hard to really describe my emotions right now, especially after knowing the significance of this in the championship, but we’re not finished,” said Cianciarulo. “I’ve had this injury before and I know what it will take to come back from it. We might have a challenging road ahead of us, but we’ll do everything we can to come out strong next weekend and get back into the mix with Martin for the title. I’m confident in my team and I’m confident in my program.”
Cianciarulo fell to second in the East Region standings, but faces just a four-point deficit to Davalos.
Photos courtesy Steve Cox
Looking Ahead >>
St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome
Davalos, Baggett, Cianciarulo, and the rest of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad now look ahead to St. Louis and a return to prominence in the East Region. With five wins in six races this season, Davalos, Baggett, and Cianciarulo are a dominant force in the 250SX Class and will look to add to the three wins the team has achieved at the Edward Jones Dome. While the squad’s last St. Louis victory dates back to 2007, the East Region trio is ready to rise to the occasion.
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