Canard edges Reed for Jacksonville victory

By Paul Harris -

Off road

 21 March 2011 23:40

Just as it seemed like Ryan Villopoto was about to put a lock on the title, the whole thing has been turned upside down and the title race is wide open once more.

I’m not making this up, I swear it… Kawasaki’s Villopoto had an atrocious night from the off, crashing in his heat to go to the LCQ, then crashing twice more in the LCQ and failing to qualify for the main.

The door was open for James Stewart to step up to the plate and mount a serious comeback, but the Yamaha pilot had a poor start and got embroiled in a big crash in the first rhythm section - he was mobile but clearly in some distress after being landed on, and took no further part in the night’s proceedings.

That left Canard, Reed and Dungey to battle it out, after overcoming the fast-starting Mike Alessi.

Reed took half the race to get close enough to make a pass on Canard, but the young Honda pilot struck right back to retake the lead and edged out to safety, taking his second win of the series ahead of Reed, with Dungey unable to run the pace of either of them.

Kevin Windham took a fine fourth ahead of Andrew Short, all of which shenanigans means that Villopoto now leads by just seven from Reed, Dungey third eleven points in arrears to Reed, Stewart five points behind Dungey and Canard four points behind Stewart.

On this form, we’re going to end up with a five-way tie for victory come season’s end…

In the East Coast 250f class, Justin Barcia extended his lead at the top of the championship after a strong performance. Blake Baggett, the current form man of the series, failed to make it out of the LCQ, and Barcia more or less holeshot and cleared off. Blake Wharton ran second before being deposed by Dean Wilson then Ryan Sipes, but no-one seemed able to do anything about the riders ahead of them. Barcia now has seventeen points in hand at the top of the standings.