Following an impressive victory at the season opener in Houston on Saturday in his debut with Troy Lee Designs/RedBull GasGas, Justin Barcia entered the second round on Tuesday, also in Houston (2021, man), looking for a repeat performance.
Barcia had troubles in qualifying, finishing just inside the top 10 in ninth. But he came out firing in his heat race, taking a second straight heat race win to begin the season.
Barcia didn’t get a good start in the main event and was shuffled into a group of riders on the first lap. As he was trying to break away, he clipped a Tuff Block and broke his shifter off and was stuck in FIRST GEAR for the remainder of the 20-minute plus one-lap main event. That’s right, Barcia finished NINTH IN FIRST GEAR!
The final results have currently “not been certified due to pending appeals with the AMA and FIM regarding flag rule infractions” but if they hold, Barcia will have salvaged valuable championship points and should enter round three just one point behind Ken Roczen.
“I didn’t get a very good jump in the Main Event and we were outside the top-five pushing each other and I just cross-rutted a little bit, clipped a tuff block and ended up breaking a shifter off. With my luck, it got stuck in first gear, so I did a lap and I was pretty nervous – I missed the triple. I tried the jumps in first gear but it was squirrelly when the dirt is sticky like that so I just salvaged what I could. I’m in it for the long-run so I just have to push through things like that when they happen. All-in-all, it’s not that bad of a spot, obviously would have liked to been out front tonight but it wasn’t my night.”
Main image: GasGas