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AMA-SX: 2010 Phoenix Results
Phoenix Injects High Drama into Supercross Series
Round 2 of the AMA/FIM Supercross series, held at Chase Field stadium in Phoenix produced surprises that will have a dramatic effect on the rest of the series. That and a lot of pain for last year’s top finishers, James Stewart and runner-up Chad Reed.
A collision with another rider coming down from a triple jump in the 450 heat left Yamaha’s Stewart on the ground, unable to get up without assistance and barely able to walk. That he came back to win the last-chance-qualifier and compete in the main event showed his tolerance for pain and just how ferociously he competes. His long-time rival, Chad Reed, had a bad day as well – more about both of them momentarily – while out of all this chaos emerged a new star, Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey.
The 250 Lites event produced no crashes but treated the fans to a dramatic come-from-behind attack by Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer who picked off erstwhile leaders one by one until he saw the propane flames and the checkered flag. Weimer is on a roll with his second win of the season.
All riders had a tough new element to grapple with, namely a short section of deep sand that made up two 90-degree turns connecting the rhythm sections. Many a rider came into the deep sand and practically disappeared once that front wheel dug in and stuck. The lead changes and pileups here were legion.
Dungey, who placed second behind Stewart at Anaheim 1, started the evening rather well by winning his heat race. Stewart and Reed were placed in the second 450 heat, which was won by Reed’s teammate Ryan Villopoto with Reed third. Reed might have beat second-place Austin Stroupe, had he not come up short on a jump. Still, things looked reasonably good for everybody except the injured James Stewart.
The main event was all Dungey’s. He did everything right, including getting the holeshot. Over time he gradually increased his lead so much the fans’ attention was diverted to the drama going on behind him. A classic Stewart-Reed duel in progress, but it was a fight over tenth place, not first. Reed was in the sad situation of trailing a nemesis who was also riding with injuries.
This duel ended in the fifth lap when Reed tried to cut inside on a turn but collided with Stewart when the latter, who’d gone in wide, came back sharp from his apex. Both went down, with Stewart’s upper body on top of Reed’s left arm. The crowd’s amazement at seeing these two heroes on the ground reverberated through the stadium. Reed pushed Stewart off with his right hand to get out from under. After the collision, Reed retired from the race while Stewart got back on his bike and soldiered on to a 15th place finish.
Dungey gapped the field for his first win in the top Supercross class. Villopoto took second, and Stewart’s teammate, Josh Hill, third place.
After the race was over, Stewart, normally a cool operator, went over to Reed’s pit and knocked his bike off the stand. What else went on is not clear, but apparently security personnel had to help restore calm. Cycle News reported that Reed was penalized with a fine and a one-race suspension for putting his hand on Stewart after they collided, but that the penalty was lifted on appeal. For Reed, the worst of all is that this is his second DNF in two starts and that he reportedly broke his hand in the collision with Stewart.
Thus the top two contenders for the Supercross title going into the season are now either at the very bottom of the standings (Reed) or in seventh place (Stewart), 16 points behind leader Dungey. This is only the second of 17 rounds, so lots can happen between now and the finale on May 8 in Las Vegas.
See the action continue at Angel stadium in Anaheim on January 23 and at AT&T park in San Francisco on January 30. For the schedule beyond that, check with supercross.com http://www.supercross.com/ama-supercross-schedule. With timed practice, heats, LCQs and main events in both the 250-Lites class and the 450-Supercross class, that’s a lot of racing to liven up an evening. And don’t forget the stunt riding exhibition and the lovely ladies tossing T-shirts your way. Order your tickets on-line at http://www.getseats.com/supercross-tickets?ppcsrc=supercross300.