Rookstool finds podium for GEICO Honda Endurocross team
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 10) – The GEICO Honda team battled various obstacles in the second round of the 2012 GEICO AMA Endurocross Series at Power Balance Pavilion but still managed to put two drivers in the Main event and one on the podium, as Keith Rookstool finished third and Geoff Aaron 11th.
The third GEICO Honda rider, Keith Wineland, bowed out with a sixth-place finish in his semifinal race.
Rookstool, meanwhile, had his best result of the season after finishing ninth in the Main event in Las Vegas. Rookstool won his heat race to advance directly to the Main, where he led the first three laps before falling three times. He still battled back to challenge for second place before ending up third overall.
"It was awesome," Rookstool said of leading the first three laps in the Main. "It's amazing what a good gate pick will do for you. I knew I could do it, but I had to get out of the heat. I couldn't be the last gate pick from the LCQ.
"Right off the bat (in the main), it was going well. The track just suited my style real well. I rode my own calm race, rode the track and didn't worry about who was behind me."
Winning his heat race set Rookstool up nicely for a solid night.
"That was nice. I didn't have to go to the semis or LCQs so I was able to stay fresh," Rookstool said. "I had a good gate pick, and I was on the very inside – inside of Taddy (Blazusiak, race winner). He left the inside gate open, so I got a good start in the main and ended up leading the race the first three or four laps."
On Lap 4, Rookstool bobbled in the rock section and went down, falling to third. He got back up to second before going down again, this time slipping to fourth. He rallied to third place and was fighting with Mike (Brown) on the last lap when they went down together.
"We both went down at the same time and I got up first," Rookstool said. "The race was good. I was battling for second for a while. My speed was really good but I just made a few bobbles. If it wasn't for them, I definitely could've been second, for sure. I just had a few little mishaps but it all worked out."
Aaron was racing for the first time this year after suffering a separated shoulder in preseason workouts. He said before the Sacramento race he thought his shoulder was about 75 percent, but he fought through his heat race, the semifinal and LCQ before coming home 11th in the Main.
"I made the Main but did it the hard way," Aaron said. "I had trouble stalling the bike. I'd get good starts and be out there dicing it up and then it would stall. I went through my heat race, the semifinals and finally the LCQ before I earned a spot.
"It felt great to be back at a race and I was happy to make the Main and earn some points. I feel pretty good and I know what I need to do to get ready for the X-Games. The Honda guys are helping me with the ignition map so we should be able to fix this stalling issue. It's just running a little peaky right now."
Aaron finished second in the LCQ to make the Main, where he had a good start but stumbled when he mixed it up with some other riders and stalled the bike.
"Once again in the Main I got a good start," Aaron said. "The Honda is a real rocket out of the gate, and that's something I struggled with a bit last year so it was good to see. I was riding along pretty well but got tangled up with a group about halfway through. I couldn't get restarted for a while and by the time I did the best I could do was 11th place."
Wineland finished fourth in his heat race, with the top two advancing to the Main, and then made a solid start in his semi before going down.
"It was a pretty good race," Wineland said. "The track's fast, and it wasn't too technical. I went to my semi and had a really good start, but going into the first turn, I either washed the front end or somebody bumped me, and I went down. I picked it back up and tried to get back to the front, and I ended up finishing sixth."