As a full moon shined brilliantly over EverBank Field, another night of big drama went down at round 11 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series in Jacksonville, Florida. When it was all over, James Stewart had left the stadium on a backboard, and two Kawasaki riders who are battling for the championship in their respective classes - Ryan Villopoto and Blake Baggett - didn't even qualify for the main event. And left standing on the top step of the podium were two Honda riders - Trey Canard in the Supercross class and Justin Barcia in the East Lites class.
The 450 main event got off to a ugly start when multiple riders when down just past the 90-degree, right-hand first turn, and one of those riders was fast-qualifier James Stewart on the San Manuel Yamaha. While battling for positions in the pack, Stewart got swallowed up over the first jump by a couple of riders, including Matt Goerke, and went down in a heap, as did Goerke. Stewart was in obvious pain and did not get up. He was strapped to a backboard and rushed to a nearby hospital to be examined. (Update: On Monday, March 21, a release from the Stewart camp reported that Stewart received no major injuries - just banged up and bruised - and will compete next week in Toronto.)Stewart was hoping to make big ground on series points leader Ryan Villopoto, who did not qualify for the main event. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider, Villopoto, who held a 26-point lead over Stewart going into the Jacksonville round, went down on the first lap of his heat race and went back to the pits to prepare for the Last Chance Qualifier.
In the LCQ, Villopoto was struck from behind by another rider as they headed into the first turn. This caused Villopoto to straighten up and run off the track, taking Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR Yamaha's Justin Brayton with him. Villopoto had no chance of coming through the pack in the short four-lap race, though he still tried but to no avail. Brayton didn't make it either.
The 20-lap main event saw KTM's Mike Alessi, on the 350, nail the holeshot, but Canard quickly took over the lead and set the pace from there on out.Chad Reed, on the TwoTwo Motorsports Honda, eventually got around Alessi and slowly closed the gap on the Honda rider, Canard. By about the 15th lap, Reed had caught Canard and actually passed him for the lead, but Canard countered right away and took it back. At that point, Reed, who later said he didn't want to risk a podium finish, especially in light what had happened to Villopoto and Stewart, backed off and bit, though he made one last attempt right at the end. Canard held on to take the win by less than a second over Reed. It was his second of the year.
Defending Supercross Ryan Dungey finished third after getting off to a fifth-place start. By the time he got into third, he had some catching up to do. He made up some ground on Reed in the early stages but couldn't get any closer as the race progressed.
GEICO Powersport Honda's Kevin Windham was on the gas and got fourth. He made many passes before taking the checkered flag.
Fifth place went to Andrew short on the KTM 350, followed by Dodge Motorsports/Hart & Huntington Kawasaki's Ivan Tedesco, Alessi, Valli Motorsports Yamaha's Austin Stroupe, VMS/Rockstar Yamaha's Nick Wey and Dodge Motorsports/Hart & Huntington Kawasaki's Chris Blose.Despite failing to qualify, Villopoto is still on top of the leaderboard but by just seven points over Reed. Dungey is 11 points behind Reed.
There was plenty of drama in the Lites class, as well, and, again, most of it came before the main event. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Blake Baggett, who was six points behind class leader Justin Barcia going into Florida, found himself in the LCQ after having gone down in his heat race. In the LCQ, Baggett washed out in the first turn and then had troubles getting his bike restarted. Not only did he not make the main, but his hopes of winning the championship are all but wiped out.
Barcia ended up being the first rider to win two main events in the East Championship. He led from start to finish and now enjoys a 17-point lead over DNA Shred Six Yamaha's Ryan Sipes, who finished third on the night.Second place went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Dean Wilson, who is now 19-points behind Barcia.Rounding out the top five was Matthew Lemoine on the Moto Extreme Kawasaki, and P.J. Larsen on the JDR/J-Star KTM.
1 Trey Canard (Hon); 2. Chad Reed (Hon); 3. Ryan Dungey (Suz); 4. Kevin Windham (Hon); 5. Andrew Short (KTM); 6. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw); 7. Mike Alessi (KTM); 8. Austin Stroupe (Yam); 9. Nick Wey (Yam); 10. Chris Blose (Kaw); 11. Fabien Izoird (Kaw); 12. Michael Byrne (Suz); 13. Jason Thomas (Suz); 14. Jarred Browne (Yam); 15. Cole Seely (Hon); 16. Kyle Partridge (Hon); 17. Davi Millsaps (Yam); 18. James Stewart (Yam); 19. Matthew Goerke (Kaw); 20. Weston Peick (Yam).
SUPERCROSS LITES EAST: 1 Justin Barcia (Hon); 2 Dean Wilson (Kaw); 3. 25 Ryan Sipes (Yam); 4 Matthew Lemoine (Kaw); 5 PJ Larsen (KTM); 6 Darryn Durham (Hon); 7. Les Smith (Hon); 8. Taylor Futrell (Hon); 9. Hunter Hewitt (Suz); 10. Justin Sipes (Kaw); 11. Lance Vincent (Hon); 12. AJ Catanzaro (Hon); 13. Kyle Keylon (Suz); 14. Sean Lipanovich (Suz); 15. Bradley Ripple (Hon); 16. Levi Kilbarger (Hon); 17. Blake Wharton (Hon); 18. Chris Gosselaar (Suz); 19. Gannon Audette (Yam); 20. Malcolm Stewart (Suz).SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS: 1 Ryan Villopoto (221); 2. Chad Reed (214); 3. Ryan Dungey (203); 4. James Stewart (198); 5. Trey Canard (194); 6. Andrew Short (145); 7. Kevin Windham (121); 8. Justin Brayton (121); 9. Davi Millsaps (118); 10. Brett Metcalfe (107).
SUPERCROSS LITES EAST POINTS STANDINGS: 1. Justin Barcia (116); 2. Ryan Sipes (99); 3. Dean Wilson (97); 4. Blake Baggett (85); 5. Matthew Lemoine (69); 6. Blake Wharton (69); 7. PJ Larsen (62); 8. Malcolm Stewart (53); 9. Jason Anderson (44); 10. Lance Vincent (43).