Team Suzuki Press Office – March 21.
Justin Bogle: RM-Z450 – 13th
Brandon Hartranft: RM-Z450 – 15th
Derek Drake: RM-Z250 – 11th
Derek Drake used the Indianapolis round of the Monster Energy Supercross series to climb three full spots in the 250 East championship points with an incredible charge through the pack on his BarX/ Chaparral Suzuki RM-Z250.
Twisted Tea Suzuki Presented by Progressive Insurance’s Justin Bogle also sliced through the pack, passing eight riders in the 450 class on his Suzuki RM-Z450 gaining speed midway through the season. Bogle’s Twisted Tea Suzuki teammate Brandon Hartranft followed suit, with a charge just one pass shy of Bogle’s aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450 inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
Drake took his BarX/ Chaparral Suzuki to seventh in qualifying on the soft, rutted Indy Supercross track. After a third-place heat race finish, he was looking forward to a top finish in the main event. Unfortunately, a bad start delivered the night’s big challenge. Drake put his head down, twisted his Suzuki RM-Z250’s throttle, and pushed from 20th spot to one place short of a top-10 finish.
Said Drake: “I’m becoming more comfortable every week. It was great to qualify P7 and then have a strong heat race, even though my riding wasn’t the best. Once the main event came around, the track was pretty beat up. I had a terrible start and just picked people off one by one and finished as far up as I could. I’m looking forward to these next few weekends off, and we’ll come out swinging in St. Louis!”
After another rider crashed him out of the first qualifying session Bogle rebounded with an 11th spot in overall qualifying. A top-five finish in heat two set him up with a good gate pick in the main. Although he crashed on the opening lap, he went to work moving through the pack. Bogle got his Suzuki RM-Z450 up to 13th before the chequered flag came out.
Said Bogle: “I had a very interesting crash in the first qualifying session. Super early in the session I was riding next to the track and another rider got sketchy and crashed in the whoops. His bike ended up just slapping me in my back and the back of my head. I was very lucky to escape that with being only super sore and a little beat up. I got taped up, then it became time to man-up and ride. In my heat race, I didn’t feel great, just okay, and ended up with a P5. Then the main was kind of a disaster. I fell on the first lap so was back in last. I salvaged what I could. It was not a great night, but I’m extremely thankful to get out of this weekend healthy and live to fight another day.”
A good gate pick thanks to a sixth-place heat race finish put Hartranft pushing into the top 10 when he fell in the Indy track’s sand section. With the pack still close, the small mistake put him in last place. Hartranft got right back up to pace and moved quickly through the field, in a display of toughness and heart. He passed seven riders and salvaged enough points to earn himself a tie in the next spot up in the championship points standings.
“The track was very soft and pretty sketchy all day,” Hartranft said. “In the main event I just dumped it in the sand on the second lap, so that did not help me. I was in last place but caught up to 15th. The track was brutal. I’m bummed because I could’ve gained a lot of points for top 11 in the standings. But it happens, and I’m safe. I’m going to keep working and I just want to be the best I can be every weekend.”
“The track itself was tricky and demanding for the riders,” explained Twisted Tea/ H.E.P. Motorsports/ Suzuki Presented by Progressive Insurance Crew Chief Clark Jones. “The main event started okay for the first turn, the second turn, then Justin fell and was dead last. He worked his way through traffic and up to 13th. He was easily a top-10 runner tonight. Brandon was in 11th and he fell and dropped to the back. Then he had to work his way back up. Both riders were riding well tonight and the Suzuki’s were performing well.”
The teams now trek to Seattle’s Lumen Field for round 12 of the 17-round series. The Seattle round also marks the return of the 250 West series after five weekends of 250 East racing.