Racer X Outstanding Performance: Blake WhartonMonday, February 20, 2012 | 4:30 PM
This week, our award from the Dallas SX goes to a rider who is mounting a comeback in his career, and was also forced to log one on the track. Rockstar Suzuki’s Blake Wharton hadn’t taken a gate drop in race circumstances since the St. Louis Supercross last April, as double shoulder surgeries ended his 2011 season early. He then switched to a new team after several seasons on GEICO Honda. His 2012 tour could be a make-or-break, as Blake knows he’s no longer the young lion of the Lites class.
“You can’t back off,” said Wharton. “This is my fourth year in the Lites class, I need to make a statement.”
Wharton fought back from an early crash to take home fourth in Dallas.
Photo: Simon Cudby
He did well in Dallas. In practice and in the races, he was up front and aggressive. But he got bumped around both times. Riders bumped him from every angle as he battled up front in his heat race. In the main, he quickly turned a good start into the lead, but a bump from Darryn Durham sent Wharton to the ground. He completed lap one in 13th place, but put his head down and tried to salvage something. He ended up fighting back to fourth—a result that looks decent on paper, but even better knowing how far back he was early in the race.
So we present this week’s Outstanding Performance Award to Blake Wharton—although he’ll surely be happier to grab some actual podium hardware this weekend in Atlanta.
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Each of the five major manufacturers had its ups and downs during the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross campaign. Page 118.