Kawasaki Racing Team SX ReportMonday, January 16, 2006 | 11:46 AM
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Stewart and Langston each finish third in their respective categories
PHOENIX (January 14, 2006) -- Kawasaki Racing Team’s James Stewart earned a hard-fought podium finish capturing third at the second round of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series on Saturday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Grant Langston earned his first podium finish of the season finishing third in the Amp’d Mobile AMA West Supercross Lites Series.
Stewart started the cool, dry evening by winning his eight-lap heat race aboard his Kawasaki KX™450F with an astounding 20 second gap ahead of the rest of the field. “I felt good out there,” Stewart said from the podium. “The track is going to be a little technical tonight and the main thing is to get a good start and ride smooth.”
Those words would unfortunately come back to haunt the 20-year-old Floridian as the gate dropped for the Supercross main event. A crash in the first turn sent Stewart to the back of the pack and several seconds behind the leaders. In spite of the setback, Stewart led a spirited attack which saw him riding incredibly fast through the field to finish third, bringing the crowd at Chase Field to its feet.
After the race, James talked about his first-turn crash and the race. "I high-sided off of somebody's rear wheel and went down,” said Stewart. “I thought I rode a good race, a smart race, and made some good passes. All I thought about after going down was the championship, and how I needed to get up front. Overall I’m still on the podium and that’s what counts, now I’m even more motivated to get to Anaheim.”
Stewart and Ricky Carmichael are now tied for the lead at 45 points. Chad Reed trails the pair by merely one point heading into the third race of the series in Anaheim, Calif., on January 21st.
Stewart’s teammate Michael Byrne, despite riding with a deep bone bruise in his left heel, punched his ticket to the main event with a semi-heat win. He rode his Kawasaki KX450F hard for all 20 laps in the main event and in the end came up with a well deserved sixth-place finish.
In the Supercross Lites class main event, Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto who won the LCQ again to make the show, took the holeshot with teammate Grant Langston close behind. Langston led briefly on the first lap before he stalled his KX250F and fell to the rear of the pack. The drama continued as Villopoto became tangled with Andrew Short on the second lap and the pair went down, which turned the lead over to eventual-winner Nathan Ramsey. The crash also left the door open for Richmond Kawasaki’s Darcy Lange to move into third as Langston, Villopoto and Short began charging back up to the front. As the laps clicked away, Lange faded but Langston and Villopoto quickly moved up to fourth and fifth behind Short with only two laps left. On the final lap, Langston made a block pass on Short to finish in third, Villopoto followed around to finish in fourth and Lange finished in eighth.
The Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series heads back to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., next weekend (Jan. 21) for round three of the 18-event series.