More than 52,000 screaming fans howled their approval as Yamaha’s James Stewart made it two wins in a row by winning the 15th round of the AMA Supercross Championships at Seattle’s Qwest Field on Saturday night.
Stewart scored his second straight win with another strong outing as he fights his way back into the Supercross class title fight.
Meanwhile, Honda’s Cole Seely raced to his second victory of the season with a convincing effort in the return of the Supercross Lites Western Regional Championship.
As the gates dropped on the Supercross class main event, Kawasaki’s Ivan Tedesco grabbed the holeshot for the second week in-a-row with Stewart and Australian Chad Reed (Honda) close behind. Behind them, championship points leader Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) went down in the first corner and was forced to fight from a long way back.
Reed got by Tedesco quickly and looked to pull away, but tricky track conditions as a result of a week of heavy rain caused a slight bobble and allowed Stewart to take over the top spot, which he held for the entire 20 laps.
“Tonight was awesome, I just knew it was going to be technical and that always favours me,” said Stewart. “I had fun all day. I thought the track was awesome, it was so tough. I was just trying to stay consistent because I knew it was going crazy behind me. You can look out there and see how rough it is, but my San Manuel Yamaha was working awesome. I’m looking forward to Salt Lake City.”
Aside from Stewart, every rider in contention for the title experienced an instance of misfortune as both Reed and defending champion Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) joined Villopoto with the distinction of falling to the ground. Reed, while running second, took the hardest hit when on the second last lap he cross rutted and went over the bars where the bike landed in his chest. He rebounded quickly though and only dropped one spot.
In the end, veteran rider and defending Seattle winner Kevin Windham secured his best finish of the season in second aboard his Honda while Reed fended off Villopoto for third. Dungey brought home a fifth-place effort.
Windham always manages to do good at Seattle and it was no different this time out, “This is unbelievable, it feels like a win to get the first podium of the year,” he said.
Reed, with his third passed Jeremy McGrath’s all time podium record, was just thankful to be walking and salvage points after his savage crash. “It was a tough main event but I got a good start, especially from the outside. I am bummed on that crash because I was lucky to get back up, that one really hurt,” he said.
As the championship enters the final two races of the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross season, just nine points separate Villopoto, who sits atop the standings, and Stewart, who occupies fourth. Reed sits in second, six points behind, while Dungey is third, seven points out.
Seely was the first rider to the holeshot in the 15-lap Supercross Lites main event and led wire-to-wire in a race that was similar to his first-career win earlier in the season in Los Angeles. After riding select Supercross class races during the mid-season Western Regional Supercross Lites break, his additional race experience factored into his performance.
“It feels great to come back and get win,” said Seely. “I’ve been practicing my starts and my biked hooked up tonight and worked great. I think the extra time on the big bikes really helped prepare me to come back.”
Behind him, there was considerable shuffling, particularly amongst the three challengers in the championship. Kawasaki team-mates Josh Hansen and Broc Tickle both ran towards the front of the field, but in the end, Honda’s Eli Tomac surpassed them both to take the runner-up spot. Tickle secured the final step on the podium and took over the points lead in the process. After starting third, Hansen fell to sixth and now sits two points from Tickle in the standings while Tomac sits seven points out in third.
Supercross class results: Seattle
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
2. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
3. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda
4. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
6. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM
7. Kyle Regal, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
8. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
9. Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Yamaha
10. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM
Supercross class season standings:
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 293
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda – 287
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 286
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 284
5. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 255
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM – 196
7. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 187
8. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha – 156
9. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C, Yamaha – 141
10. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki – 134
Western Regional Supercross Lites class results: Seattle
1. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
3. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki
4. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha
5. Tyla Rattray, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki
6. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki
7. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki
8. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki
9. Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda
10. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
Western Regional Supercross Lites class season standings:
1. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki – 145
2. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki – 143
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda – 138
4. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda – 113
5. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki – 110
6. Tyla Rattray, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki – 96
7. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha – 89
8. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM – 83
9. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki – 82
10. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda – 67
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com