Moto Media
James Stewart

What happened to PJ Larsen at Houston ?

PJ Larsen turned a top qualifying time and earned 2nd overall in his heat before a crash ruined his night.

Larsen got the crowds attention at the start of the day when he tied Blake Baggett for the fastest lap time in the first timed practice. Larsen maintained his pace in the second timed practice finishing 6th overall within one second of the top five. "I didn’t expect everyone to be so close in practice. It’s going to be a close race tonight and the start is going to count big, so I am crossing my fingers to be out front early,” remarked Larsen after practice.

In his heat, Larsen pulled a 4th place start off the line. He quickly passed Jason Anderson to move into 3rd. Once inside the top three he began to close in on the front two riders, Darryn Durham and Dean Wilson. While the top two battled out front Larsen closed the gap and with two laps to go jumped over Durham to push his way into 2nd place. Wilson maintained the lead while Larsen applied heavy pressure. On the final lap, Larsen pushed hard and finished in 2nd right on the rear tire of Wilson.

"I was happy with my heat race result. I didn’t get that great of a start but I was able to make up for it within the first few laps. I was glad to run with Wilson and am looking forward to the main event,” stated Larsen.

Larsen, who had pulled some impressive starts while racing in Australia for his team earlier this year, appeared as if he might duplicate that off the start of the Lites main. Larsen nearly grabbed the holeshot coming together with Malcolm Stewart as they crossed the first jump side by side. Larsen settled for 2nd off the start and immediately began to pressure Stewart. As they made their way to the back half of the track, Stewart cut hard under Larsen taking both riders to the ground and a few more riders behind them. Larsen was slow to come up but eventually remounted and returned to the track in 17th.

"When I recovered from the crash with Stewart, I realized real quick that my rear brake lever had been smashed in the crash. I tried to ride a few laps before pulling off the first time to fix it,” stated Larsen. He pulled into the mechanics area on the fifth lap. He was able to kick his brake pedal back toward its normal position and then returned to the racing action approximately one lap down. A few laps later, Larsen’s brake pedal broke off and he had to finish the race without any rear brakes. "It was so hard to ride without the brakes but I wanted to stay out there as long as I could to try to salvage any extra points possible.”

Larsen eventually finished the main event in 18th. "I’m definitely disappointed that I crashed in the beginning of the race, but its all part of racing and now I am just looking forward to redeeming myself at the next round.”

Whilst on the subject ... what happened to Larsen’s teammate,  Tye Simmonds ?

Simmonds, who competes in the Supercross Class, also had a day of bad luck.  He came down with bronchitis earlier in the week. "I have been incredibly sick the past five days and was not able to ride at all this week,” remarked the JDR/J-Star/KTM rider. Simmonds struggled throughout the day as he tried to push past his sickness. "I feel horrible today but I am doing my best to rest during the week and am really hoping this disappears by next week so I can have better luck in San Diego.”

Simmonds will return to California to race the seventh round of the series in San Diego, CA next weekend while Larsen will have a two week break before returning for the second round of the East Lites SX at the Atlanta Supercross on February 26th.