Forkner Back On Top At Daytona Supercross

Austin Forkner left little doubt who’s in charge of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class when the rider of Pro Circuit Racing’s JE Pistons powered No. 24 Kawasaki KX250 picked up his fourth win over the last five races at the Daytona Supercross Saturday night.

Forkner was consistently fast throughout the afternoon’s practice and qualifying sessions and went on to win his heat race by over 17 seconds before a massive and energetic crowd on a chamber-of-commerce evening at Daytona International Speedway.

The Richards, Mo., native snared the holeshot for the main event before yielding the point in the sand section and slipping back to third. It didn’t take long for Forkner to reel in the top two and by Lap 3, he was back out front.

As the laps clicked off and the night wore on, Forkner continued to hold down the top spot, but not without pressure from GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton. While Sexton turned in a formidable effort to track down the leader, it was Forkner who took the checkers and treated the raucous crowd to smoke plumes following a post-race burnout on the pavement in the middle of Daytona’s famed tri-oval.

To put Forkner’s dominance in perspective, the 21-year-old phenom has led 62 of the 64 main event laps raced this season in Eastern Regional competition.

“It was tough,” Forkner said of the demanding Ricky-Carmichael designed race course. “Just not making mistakes was one of the biggest things. I honestly didn’t feel like I was going super-fast. Just every rhythm, every jump, every lap was perfect – that was the key.

“This is like a dream come true to win the Daytona supercross! The track and fans here are so unique and unlike anything else … Tonight was a night I will remember forever. I have never gotten to do a burnout on the pavement. I was just holding it wide open as the crowd was cheering me on.”

Forkner’s Pro Circuit teammate Martin Davalos mixed it up in the top five early on but slipped to 10th over the course of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap main event, leaving the veteran rider disappointed at night’s end.

“I love coming to Daytona,” offered Davalos. “I always get to see a lot of my Ecuadorian fans and it has always been a special place for me to come and race. I’m a little bummed with tonight’s result, but overall I am happy to be leaving here healthy because the track was gnarly. In the main, I just got tight about halfway through and struggled a little bit. We will work hard this week to be better prepared to put together a strong performance in Indy next weekend.”

In 450SX Class action, JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Hill led the way for his team’s JE-powered effort by posting a seventh-place result aboard his No. 46 Suzuki RM-Z450. Hill’s JGRMX teammate Chad Reed came home 10th, just over seven seconds behind Hill.

Meanwhile, the JE-supported JGRMX 250SX Class contingent turned in formidable finishes of their own where Alex Martin and Kyle Peters were credited with fifth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.

Monster Energy AMA Supercross rolls on this weekend when the series visits the “Racing Capital of the World” for its annual tilt at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The 11th of 17 races of the 2019 supercross championship calendar will be televised on a same-day-delayed basis on NBCSN Saturday, March 16 beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern Daytlight Time, 8 p.m. Pacific.

Adam Sinclair