With all the titles in Amp’d Mobile Supercross already sewn
up, the series finale in Las Vegas’
Sam Boyd Stadium stood mainly as a celebration of the great year that was. And
it was great, if your name is James Stewart. Once again the Monster Kawasaki
rider showed untouchable skills by dominating all of the festivities, from
super fast practice laps, to a pair of holeshots in both his heat race and the
main event, and then a massive lead and 20 nearly-flawless laps to reel in his
13th of the season (in 16 tries on the AMA tour).
it was a celebration. He even pulled some old-school heel clickers, a no hander
over the triple and then some sort of a heel-clicker nac-nac one hander combo
on his victory lap after the race was complete. After the race, Stewart
commented on how much better he rode now that the pressure of chasing his first
AMA Supercross Championship was off. This does not bode well for his competition.
Stewart had the Progressive Direct Holeshot, it was all over. The much-hyped
Vegas start featured a 240 foot run into a left-hand corner followed by a
560-foot straight into a left and right. It was challenging, but Stewart was up
for it and wrestled the lead from San Manuel Yamaha’s Chad Reed by the time
they got to the holeshot line. Reed stayed close for about two laps, but then
Stewart started busting out incredible jump combinations with ease—he quaded
four rollers after the second triple without strain, which Reed was only able
to do with a seat bounce. Then he jumped a set of doubles in the center of the
whoops and cleared the entire end of the section. Once he had that down it was
over, Stewart pulled away and Reed became prey for Sobe No Fear/Samsung Honda’s
Kevin Windham, who was on a charge from third.
Windham kept closing and
closing on Reed and then finally caught him in the whoops and made a pass. Reed
dove back inside and took the spot back, and then seemed to up his pace and
pull back away from Windham
hold on for third, his second podium finish in a row. A few other contenders
had trouble, including Honda’s Davi Millsaps
, who wadded it up in the whoops
early in the race, and Yamaha’s Grant Langston
, who did the same thing near the
end of the race.
As far as
close racing was concerned, the Windham/Reed tussle was all there was to see in
the main, and that only lasted one lap.
would have been okay with that had they witnessed a great battle in the Dave
Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Lites Shootout, but unfortunately the battle
there didn’t last long either. Ben Townley snared the Progressive Direct Holeshot
wearing #1E on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, but Makita Suzuki’s
wasted no time, tripling past his fellow east coaster and taking
the lead before they reached the second turn. Then Townley threw a chain and
was out, which was strange enough in itself, but was made even stranger when
his teammate and West Region Champion Ryan Villopoto
crashed in the massive
Thunder Alley sweeper turn and found himself up in last place. So, both
champions were out of contention by the end of the second lap.
The shot at
glory then came to Yamaha rookie Josh Hill
. Surely Hill was bummed to see
fellow rookie Dungey haul off with three wins this season, so Hill closed the
gap on Dungey early and looked ready to challenge for the win. But he
challenged too hard. Hill dove under Dungey and knocked him off the track with
an ill-advised block pass attempt. He knocked himself down in the process, too,
and that was all she wrote for the Yamaha rider.
Dungey stayed up, got back on the track, and then fended off a challenge from
to hold onto the win, his fourth of the season and the biggest of
his career, since he also collected a Toyota Tundra for his efforts. Weimer and
Red Bull KTM’s Martin Davalos
finished second and third.
The next night, at the supercross
banquet, Dungey won the first-ever Supercross Golden Microphone Award as a
prize for all the great work the young rookie has done with media and PR for
the series. Other special awards included the Team Manager of the Year Award to
Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy
Chris McAvoy, and the Comeback of the Year Award to Andrew Short
. Jeremy Albrecht
won Mechanic of the Year, Wilson Sawtelle won Transport Driver of the Year, and
Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki won Team of the Year. Ricky Carmichael
for a big speech and retrospective on his career, Townley, Villopoto and Dungey
got their props, and then finally Stewart made it to the stage to accept his
trophies and give a heartfelt speech about his parents, his friends, and finally
winning the big one.
much close racing in Vegas, but both the banquet and the race served as a celebration
for another big season for the sport.