Honda-LogoTorrance, CA: As a further extension of its growing commitment to grassroots racing in North America, Honda announced today that it is making a major commitment to the 2013 running of the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, as both a sponsor and race participant, with plans to field products in nine race classes, a first for any OEM in a single Pikes Peak event.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. will serve as the Partnering Sponsor for the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the first time the company has participated as a corporate sponsor of the legendary race event. The 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is scheduled for June 30, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Pikes Peak presents us with a unique opportunity to showcase Honda’s diverse product lineup and to energize Honda fans around world, as we work to further strengthen Honda’s presence in racing at all levels,” said Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations for American Honda. “Our associates will be working hard between now and Race Day to prepare this diverse field of race vehicles and showcase the Honda racing spirit.”

Torrance, CA: The final Motocross National of the season held at Southern California’s Pala Raceway in Pala, CA, saw the Honda Red Riders put in some of their best performances of the season on their Honda CRF250R and CRF450R race machines. American Honda Racing’s Ashley Fiolek wrapped up her third WMX title, while her teammate Justin Barcia finished third in the 450 class.

After winning back-to-back Women’s titles in 2008 and 2009, and finishing runner-up in the WMX series in 2010, Fiolek headed into the 2011 Motocross season determined to reclaim the crown. From the get-go, Fiolek demonstrated incredible speed on her CRF250R, winning five motos in the eight-round series and clinching three overall victories en route to the championship crown. Tarah Gieger raced her Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda–prepared CRF250R to third overall in the series while fellow Honda riders Kasie Creson and Lindsey Palmer finished the season in seventh and 10th, respectively.

“I am so happy to win back the Women’s title,” said Fiolek. “It was tough giving it up last year, so I was determined to do everything I needed to do to win it back this season. All the women racers rode exceptionally well, and we had some great battles. I knew consistency was going to be the key to winning the championship back, and that’s what I was all season, consistently on the podium each week. I’m really happy to put Honda on top again for another year.”

Barcia completed his fill-in ride with the factory Honda team at Pala by putting in two impressive rides at the Motocross grand finale. Barcia was a strong contender for the moto one win, running up front for the majority of the race before finishing in third. In the second moto, Barcia got a great start and took over the lead from Chad Reed on lap seven. Maintaining incredible speed out front, he led the next eight laps before surrendering a spot with two laps to go. Barcia’s stellar 3-2 result earned him third overall for the round.

“I’m really happy with my results this weekend,” said Barcia. “I have learned so much about myself as a racer and about riding, which I know has made me a much smarter rider. It’s been awesome working with the factory Honda team, and I can’t thank GEICO Honda enough for allowing me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”

TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed put in solid performances aboard his American Honda Racing–prepared CRF450R, finishing moto one in 12th and nabbing fourth in the second moto for seventh overall. Reed led the championship for half the season and finished the championship in third—an impressive first season for the TwoTwo Motorsports team.

In the 250 class, GEICO Honda rookie Justin Bogle finished his fourth race as a professional on a high note. After finishing moto one in 10th place, Bogle got a great start in moto two, leading the opening 10 laps of the race before finishing in second place and earning a season-best fifth overall. GEICO Honda teammate Eli Tomac went 7-11 for ninth overall, while Honda rider Alex Martin rounded out 10th place. Tomac finished fourth overall in the championship, while Martin nabbed eighth place. Fellow Honda racer Darryn Durham finished the season in 10th.

Torrance, CA: American Honda is pleased to announce that GEICO Honda rider Justin Barcia will ride for the American Honda Racing team and race a factory Honda-prepared CRF450R at the remaining four rounds in the 2011 AMA Motocross Championship.

“I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to ride the Honda CRF450R in the 450 class,” said Barcia. “I can’t thank GEICO Honda team owners Rick Zielfelder and Jeff Majkrzak enough for allowing me to take advantage of this opportunity. I raced the CRF450R to the overall win at the Bercy Supercross last year and I felt great competing on the bike, so I’m excited to now get the chance to race several rounds in the Motocross series on it. I’m also really looking forward to working with the factory Honda team. I feel I’ve grown a lot as a professional racer over the past three years and this whole experience is only going to help me develop my skills even more.”

American Honda Racing Team Manager Erik Kehoe welcomes Barcia to the Honda starting line-up. “Justin has been a part of the Honda family for many years now, having entered the professional ranks through Honda’s amateur support program,” said Kehoe. “He has a lot of experience racing Honda motorcycles and he’s earned a lot of success in both his amateur and professional careers. Trey Canard showcased his talents aboard the factory-prepared Honda CRF450R last year when he filled in for six Supercross rounds, and obviously that was a significant career opportunity for him, while Cole Seely enjoyed racing several Supercross’ with the team this year. We are pleased to work with Honda-supported teams and give the younger Honda riders the chance to gain valuable experience riding for the factory team when opportunities arise.”

For more information, contact American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (310) 783-3745.

Torrance, CA: American Honda announced today that American Honda Racing fill-in rider Kevin Windham has raced his final event for the 2011 Motocross season and will now turn his efforts toward preparing for the 2012 Supercross Championship. Windham has done a stellar job aboard his factory Honda–prepared CRF450R, filling in for injured Honda riders Trey Canard and Josh Grant during the first half of the 450 Class Motocross Championship. The fan favorite scored a string of top-10 finishes, including finishing just shy of the overall podium in fourth place at Hangtown, Budds Creek and Thunder Valley.

“I would like to thank both American Honda Racing and GEICO Honda for allowing me the opportunity to fill in for Canard and Grant while they were on the mend,” said Windham. “I would also like to thank all the fans at the races for cheering so loudly with every lap I raced. It was always factory Honda’s plan to have me around until their riders came back. I got so overwhelmed by the warm reception I was receiving at all the nationals that I thought I could race them all. The racer inside of me wants to be behind every starting gate that drops. However, throughout the season it has become obvious to me why I stepped away from racing the Motocross Championship a few years back. I feel that I’m struggling through the grueling Motocross season and it’s bringing me down mentally. Riding at less than 100 percent is a great way to bring on an injury. It is a must to always have your head in the game. I’ve had a blast at Motocross and now can start recharging my batteries for the 2012 Supercross season. I still want to focus on making 20 years as a professional racer by making it to 2014.”

American Honda Racing Team Manager Erik Kehoe praised Windham’s efforts throughout the Motocross season. “Kevin has done a tremendous job for the team at the first seven outdoor rounds,” said Kehoe. “I’ve always been a K-Dub fan and I’m proud of Kevin and his willingness to fill in on the factory team in times of need, even if it is on a part-time basis. The whole team has had a lot of fun working with Kevin. We respect his professional-life decisions about how and where he wants to focus his racing efforts, plus the fact he has a young family to take care of and a lot going on in his home life that requires much of his time and energy. We are fully supportive of his decision to now focus solely on training and preparing for the 2012 Supercross season.”

CHINO, CA Yoshimura-backed teams once again showed their dominance and the performance advantage of their Yoshimura products Saturday during the seventh round of AMA Pro Motocross Championship at the Spring Creek National in Millville, MN. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki, Rockstar Energy and Honda Racing teams put their Yoshimura products to work in their conquest at Spring Creek.

Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki showed its true championship-winning colors at Millville. Minnesota native Ryan Dungey powered his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z450 to the overall win on his local track, while Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Brett Metcalfe carded a solid sixth-place result.

Despite heavy rains the day before, the Spring Creek soil was in good condition for the first 30-minute moto. Local favorite, Dungey, and his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 put on a good show for the fans, with Dungey getting a good start and powering into the top three early on. By the time the moto was over, Dungey had notched an impressive second-place finish. In moto two, Dungey got another good start on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 and was running firmly in second place before reeling in the leader to take the win and the overall victory. This result is Dungey’s second overall victory of the season and his fourth win in a row at Spring Creek. Additionally, he’s now just one point shy of second and seven out of first place in the overall championship standings.

“Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Dungey. “With the mud, it was kind of a weird deal. We got a lot of rain the night before and I didn’t know how the track was going to be. The first two practices were a little sloppy, but in the first moto, I got off to a really good start on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. But I wasn’t able to make passes as quickly as I wanted to, and I ended up second. In the second moto, I also got a good start and was in third. Then, I got into second and was able to close up the gap, make the pass for the lead, and get the overall. Obviously, being here at Millville and having the hometown crowd is great; it’s always a treat to be back here because I love the track and the fans are great. I grew up with a lot of people who came out today, so that was an extra bonus. Finally, I’m glad to get another win for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team – This is a good step in the right direction for the championship.”

Teammate Metcalfe struggled a bit at Spring Creek but still put in a strong performance overall. He got a good start in the first moto but then had to overcome a mid-race get-off in order to finish up in sixth place. In the second moto, his start wasn’t ideal, but he put his head down and rode a smart, aggressive race to pick up a solid top-five finish. Metcalf finished up sixth overall.

“It was a tough day for me, but I felt like my riding was good today,” said Metcalfe. “I got a good start in the first moto. I was up there in fifth and I was trying to get around into fourth, but it was difficult to pass. I was sitting there for a few laps – That sort of cost me because I was searching for a different line and that’s what took me down. I went into the outside in a corner and it was too muddy and I lost the front end. That was a mistake that dropped me back to sixth, and then I was too far behind to make a charge for fifth. But I still felt like overall I rode pretty good. In the second moto, I didn’t get the best of starts, but I was able to make some really good moves in the first couple of laps and I felt aggressive and charged through to fifth. It was a good day for us; the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 was working awesome for me and everybody on the Suzuki team has been putting in a big effort. I really want to get up there and get top three for these guys.”

American Honda Racing’s Trey Canard made a stellar return to racing, finishing third overall in the 450 class and Honda teammate Ashley Fiolek finished runner-up in the Women’s class in Millville.

Canard made an impressive return to racing after injuring his leg earlier in the year. A rookie in the 450 class, Canard excelled at his Motocross Championship debut. Getting great starts in both motos aboard his Yoshimura-equipped Honda CRF450R, he nabbed fifth in moto one and finished third in moto two for third overall. Teammate Kevin Windham finished 11-10 for 10th overall.

“Man, I am so happy to be on the podium at my first-ever 450-class Motocross event,” said Canard. “It feels awesome to be back racing with everyone. I got good starts in both motos and was third out of the start gate each time. In moto one the heat really got to me, and I dropped a couple of spots during the race. In moto two I maintained third place from start to finish, which I am really happy with. I definitely picked tough weather conditions to make my return to racing. It was so hot out there. Unfortunately, I don’t have the fitness and sheer speed of the lead riders, yet. That will all come, though; give me a few more races to get up to speed.”

In the Women’s class, Fiolek came out on top in moto one and finished runner-up in moto two aboard her Yosh-equipped CRF250R for second overall. Fiolek has an eight-point lead in the championship with three rounds to go.

Team Rockstar Energy Suzuki celebrated a top ten overall finish in Millville. Jason Anderson, who’s been out since the High Point National, returned to racing and carded an impressive 10th-place overall finish in the 250 class. Teammate Martin Davalos finished just behind Anderson with an 11th overall, while Nick Paluzzi and Les Smith finished 18th and 21st, respectively.

In the first moto, Anderson was still trying to get his rhythm back. Although he struggled at the start, he was able to put his head down and pilot his Yoshimura- equipped Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250 through the field and take a 14th-place finish. In the second moto, Anderson was feeling a bit more comfortable and it showed in his start. After the 30-minute moto concluded, Anderson had taken an 11th-place finish. The combined results handed the Rockstar Energy Suzuki rider a solid, top-10 overall result.

“This was my first weekend back,” said Anderson, “and I felt pretty good. I felt like my speed was better than where I finished. I just need to keep my laps consistent and, also, it was really hot today, so I think that’s what we struggled with a little bit. But now we’ll go home, keep working hard, and come out swinging for Washougal, which is a track I like; the layout is awesome and I like the dirt there. It’s a little bit slick, and that suits me on the Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250 because I’m good at sliding.”

The Yoshimura-backed team’s next event is the eighth round of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, July 23rd, at the Washougal National in Washougal, WA. You can meet the Rockstar Makita Suzuki and Rockstar Energy Suzuki riders on Friday, July 22nd, from 6 to 7 PM, at Pro Caliber Motorsports, 10703 NE Fourth Plain Blvd. in Vancouver, WA.

Torrance, CA: How much of a race is determined in the first fractions of a second?

With the level of competition in both Supercross and Motocross being so closely matched, getting the right start can literally determine the outcome of a race. And grabbing the holeshot is a huge advantage.

Just ask American Honda Racing’s Trey Canard, Josh Grant and Ashley Fiolek how important the start really is. We did.

Check out the “Art of the Holeshot” video shown below: