ANAHEIM, CA, FEB. 6 - It's quickly becoming a return to form for James Stewart, who once again took a wire-to-wire win in Supercross, this time at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim where round five of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, took place.
It wouldn't be fair to call it an "easy" win for Stewart, who led all 20 laps with a comfortable gap. Even though he was never headed, the slippery and very technical course kept the San Manuel L&M Racing Yamaha rider on his toes. But it was thanks to some very complex rhythms that Stewart was able to gain the advantage, and ultimately the win at Anaheim II.
"Tonight was fantastic," Stewart said. "It was an unbelievable race! I'm just so proud of my team. I felt comfortable tonight and it's getting better every race, for sure."
In the complex rhythm section down the first base line of the stadium, Stewart was the only rider to quad his way through which seemed to be a key element in pulling away from the field.
"I did it once in practice and then I just started doing it in my heat race," Stewart said of the triple-quad-quad combination he was putting together. "In the main I was pretty comfortable doing it and I did it 19 out of 20 laps. It was tough, for sure, but the Yamaha was running fantastic and I was pumped to get it done."
From the start, Stewart grabbed the lead ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto and the Two-Two Racing Honda of Chad Reed. The number 800 of Mike Alessi spent a few laps in the top-five before being overtaken by Yamaha-mounted Justin Brayton and Kyle Chisholm.Defending champion Ryan Dungey had a night he'd rather forget in Anaheim. After getting off to a disappointing start, Dungey was clawing his way through the field and had his sights set on Chisholm for fifth when his RM-Z450 appeared to throw a chain. Dungey was forced to retire from the race and was quite obviously upset about his first DNF in the premier class.
Honda's Trey Canard was also off to a sub-par start and had his work cut out for him. Canard was able to steadily pick off riders throughout the 20-lap main event to ultimately claim fifth behind Brayton.
It was a solid and relatively uneventful night for Villopoto who ran in second throughout the entire main. He was able to keep Stewart in his sights, but never seemed able to put much of a dent in the gap that separated them. Behind Villopoto, Reed maintained a strong third-place, where he finished. Coupled with Dungey's misfortune, Reed used his second-consecutive podium finish to propel him into third overall in points.
As dominant as Stewart's performance was, the conquering hero of the night was definitely Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Josh Hansen. "Lil' Hanny" showed some serious brass at Anaheim II by riding to a flawless win after a hard practice crash almost took him out of the night program. Hansen crashed early in the second practice session in the whoop section which resulted in a broken hand and a concussion. Hansen didn't lose consciousness in the crash, but did knock himself silly, causing his family and team to second guess whether or not he should call it a night.
Hansen rode to a solid win in his heat race and lined up for the Lites main event with dogged determination to not let the championship slip through his fingers. Hansen got off to a good start, but was hounded relentlessly throughout the entire 15-lap main by Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen. Despite being pressured throughout the charge, Hansen kept his focus and rode a flawless race to take his third win of the series and stretch his lead in the points chase.
Tomac piloted his GEICO Honda to his third podium finish of the year, earning second place ahead of Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen. Anaheim II marked Roczen's first Supercross podium finish, and the young German showed that he is quite capable of stepping up even further. Roczen nearly blitzed to a second-place finish - and was even nipping at the heels of Hansen a few times - in the main. The close racing between the three kept the crowd on its feet, right down to the last lap when Roczen made a last-ditch effort to get by Tomac in the whoops. Tomac held the point, though, even if it was by less than a bike-length.
Hansen's Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Broc Tickle followed in a close fourth-place while DNA Shred Stix Yamaha's Kyle Cunningham rounded out the top-five.
The Anaheim II event also marked the annual Breast Cancer Awareness round, and prompted riders and fans alike to show up wearing as much pink as possible.
"It's awesome to come to A2 and see the stadium packed," Stewart commented from the podium. "Feld did a great job and so did Dirt Wurx on the Breast Cancer Awareness event. There was a little extra motivation with that!"
Supercross Main Event Results
1. James Stewart (Yam); 2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw); 3. Chad Reed (Hon); 4. Justin Brayton (Yam); 5. Trey Canard (Hon); 6. Andrew Short (KTM); 7. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw); 8. Kevin Windham (Hon); 9. Brett Metcalfe (Suz); 10. Davi Millsaps (Yam); 11. Kyle Regal (Yam); 12. Mike Alessi (KTM); 13. Matt Boni (Kaw); 14. Kyle Chisholm (Yam); 15. Nick Wey (Yam); 16. Jason Thomas (Suz); 17. Chris Blose (Kaw); 18. Tye Simmonds (KTM); 19. Fabien Izoird (Kaw); 20. Ryan Dungey (Suz).
Supercross Lites Main Event Results
1. Josh Hansen (Kaw); 2. Eli Tomac (Hon); 3. Ken Roczen (KTM); 4. Broc Tickle (Yam); 5. Kyle Cunningham (Yam); 6. Martin Davalos (Suz); 7. Ryan Morais (Suz); 8. Bruce Rutherford (Kaw); 9. Ryan Marmont (KTM); 10. James Decotis (Hon); 11. Cole Seely (Hon); 12. Antonio Balbi (Kaw); 13. Jake Canada (Kaw); 14. Ben Evans (Kaw); 15. Scott Champion (Kaw); 16. Casey Hinson (KTM); 17. Kyle Beaton (Kaw); 18. Parker Eckman (Hon); 19. Yuta Ikegaya (Suz); 20. Nick Paluzzi (Yam).