Sunday, 17 April 2011

Seattle Supercross 450 race report

The 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship suffered a big loss in the week leading up to round 15 in Seattle, when it was announced that Honda Racing's Trey Canard suffered a femur injury and would be sidelind for at least six weeks. Nevertheless, the race in Seattle was still taking place, regardless of which riders showed up, and we are now set for one of the most unpredictable finishes in the sports history.

The track in Seattle proved to be one of the toughest we've seen so far this season, as the soft dirt allowed ruts to form on the take-off and landings of every jump.  By the time the Supercross class main event took place, the whoops section had turned into a wild feet-off-the-pegs adventure nearly every lap. Because of the extreme technicality that the ruts and soft dirt created, speeds were significantly lower than what we have become accustomed to, but we were still treated to some excitement in the championship battle.

The main event saw Ivan Tedesco continue his string of good starts as he grabbed the holeshot with James Stewart and Chad Reed in tow. Also getting a good start was the days fastest qualifier, Geico Powersports Honda's Kevin Windham. Stewart and Reed quickly took over the top two spots, with Reed briefly passing Stewart to lead the race before being re-passed quickly by his rival. Stewart would begin begin building a large lead in the early laps on his San Manuel Red Bull Yamaha, while Reed and Windham would continue to hold down 2nd and 3rd. Meanwhile, the two other champonship contenders, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey, each got off to terrible starts and were working their way towards the front. Villopoto had gone down in the first turn and was extra motivated to get to the front with his homestate Washington fans cheering him on.

As the race wore on, the two Ryans were able to get themselves into the top five, with Villopoto in 4th and Dungey in 5th.  Chad Reed was able to get enough of a gap on Kevin Windham, and it was looking like things were going to play out this way to the finish. Then, on lap 19, Chad Reed went over the bars on one of the on-off sections that had become very rutted. The bike hit him as he landed on the ground, and for a moment, it appeared he may be lucky just to finish the race. However, he quickly remounted while only losing one position to Kevin Windham. The crash allowed 4th place Villopoto to close right in, and attempt an aggressive pass to the inside on the final lap. Chad and Ryan came together a couple of times as they battled hard for the final spot on the podium, and with about half a lap to go, Reed looked to have opened a little gap back up. At the same time, Villopoto made a big mistake in the whoops section and went down, but managed to get back up without losing a spot, no doubt thanks in part to the massive gaps seperating many of the riders on the nearly treacherous track.

A couple of notable finishes in Seattle were had by Red Bull KTM's Mike Alessi and San Manuel Red Bull Yamaha's Kyle Regal, each who had season-high finishes in 6th and 7th respectively. 

The big winner on the night was James Stewart, who saw his win streak reach two in a row as he led all 20 laps and closed the gap to the championship leader from 16 points to just 9. There are now 4 riders still in contention for this title, and all 4 of them are within an incredible 9 points with just 2 rounds left to run. Any of the 4 riders can still easily win this, and with the way things have been going, I wouldn't bet against any of them.

Supercross Heat 1
1. James Stewart
2. Andrew Short
3. Mike Alessi
4. Austin Stroupe
5. Kyle Regal
6. Chris Blose
7. Chad Reed
8. Cole Siebler
9. Jason Thomas

Supercross Heat 2
1. Kevin Windham
2. Ryan Villopoto
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Nick Wey
5. Ivan Tedesco
6. Tommy Hahn
7. Tyler Bowers
8. Davi Millsaps
9. Vince Friese

Supercross LCQ
1. Michael Byrne
2. Fabien Izoird

Supercross Main Event
1. James Stewart
2. Kevin Windham
3. Chad Reed
4. Ryan Villopoto
5. Ryan Dungey
6. Mike Alessi
7. Kyle Regal
8. Davi Millsaps
9. Tommy Hahn
10. Andrew Short
11. Michael Byrne
12. Nick Wey
13. Fabien Izoird
14. Ivan Tedesco
15. Jason Thomas
16. Vince Friese
17. Tyler Bowers
18. Cole Siebler
19. Chris Blose
20. Austin Stroupe

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