H.O.T. Jacksonville Race Report
Honda of Troy once again raised the bar in Jacksonville, qualifying all 4 riders directly into the main from the heat races and The Troy Team owned 1/5 of the field in the lites main event. The Team invited veteran Kelly Smith to fill in for the injured Darryn Durham. Kelly was recovering from his own injury-a broken leg he obtained at the third round of the arenacross series nearly 9 weeks ago. So, with only 20 minutes of seat time, Kelly was willing to step-up and fill the shoes of Durham for the weekend. Also on the mend and not quite sure if he was going to be able to pull the trigger to race, was Levi Kilbarger. Last week he was on his way to securing the main event holeshot when he was devoured by the field in a first turn crash. Levi could barely complete the Jacksonville track walk due to a severe hematoma and deep thigh bruise but his “never say die” attitude led him to ride practice to see how he felt. With a lot of ice, massage, and heart he pushed on and would ride through the night and into the main.
Fill-in rider Kelly Smith, Levi Kilbarger, and Sean Lipanovich all stormed out of the gate and put themselves in the top 4 spots at the end of lap one. #412 Kilbarger put together a solid ride to secure a 4th place finish and a 7th pick at the main event gate. #107 Kelly Smith shook off the rust and netted a 6th place heat finish . In one of the more exciting races of the night was Sean Lipanovich securing the final transfer spot.
#92 Michael Willard was the lone HOT rider in heat 2. Michael had an inside gate pick and when they rounded the first corner he fought his way into 5th place. #92 battled his way to a 4th place heat finish and a 8th gate pick in the main. The team was on a high putting all 4 guys in the main, straight out of the heat races – thankfully no LCQ for the HOT Team.
The long 110 yard start allowed the Eleven 10 mods horsepower to shine. The team netted great starts all night long and the main was no different. Kelly Smith rocketed out of the gate from the outside and nabbed the $1000 holeshot prize. With Sean Lipanovich a very close second and Kilbarger and Willard back mid pack. The tight technical track took a toll on the team in the main claiming Willard first on lap 5. One of the long table top sections spit the #92 to the dirt and out of the race with a tender wrist and forearm. One straight away later the whoop section claimed Lipanovich-ejecting him off of his bike-but Sean regrouped and rejoined the race. That same whoop section would claim Kilbarger as well, he also was able to remount and continue the race. With his very limited time back on a bike Kelly Smith admitted that he paced himself a little too much because he was unsure how much he had in the tank. At the end of the night, the Troy Team finished with Kelly Smith 14th, Kilbarger 16th, Lipanovich 17th, and Willard 18th. Winning the Holeshot award allowed Kelly Smith an interview and chance to thank all of our Team Sponsors. As the weeks roll on each Honda of Troy rider brings a little more to the table. Everyone is looking forward to a weekend off to allow the guys to recover and gear up for Houston.
The Honda of Troy/Kilbarger Racing Team would like to acknowledge the sponsors who make this effort possible.
Honda of Troy, Kilbarger Racing LLC, Eleven 10 Mods, WAR – We All Ride, Fox Racing Shox, Cycra Racing, Motorex, TAG Metals, Yoshimura, Motion Pro, Renegade Race Fuel, Faction Mx, N-Style, Dunlop, DP Brake Pads, QTM, G2 Ergonomics, ARC, Boyesen, Light Speed, Hinson, RK/Excel, Ride Eng., Hammerhead, Straight Shot Air Filters, Bell Helmets, Hot Hedz Designs, Von Zipper, Total Image AutoSport, Kicker, ICW, Rock’s Racing Services, Injectioneering, IMS Foot Pegs, Franklin Equipment, and Gabriel Logan