Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey nabbed his career first Supercross win in only the second race of his rookie season tonight at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, but his maiden win (and a wire-to-wire win, at that) was overshadowed by some wild drama that unfolded between arch rivals James Stewart and Chad Reed.
The night full of twists and turns started with James Stewart going down hard in his heat race. Stewart unintentionally came over into Kyle Partridge’s line over the triple, and subsequently, Partridge landed on Stewart. The San Manuel Yamaha rider ended up being carried off the track and appeared to be in a lot of pain. Though he attempted to regroup and walk out of the stadium on his own, he was unable to and repeatedly doubled over in pain before finally getting on the Asterisk Mule.
To everyone’s surprise he hobbled back to the line to race the LCQ, which he won to secure himself a spot in the main.
In the main event, Dungey was off to an immediate lead, which he held to the checkered flag. Ryan Villopoto made quick work of Austin Stroupe to move into second place, followed by Hill, who moved into third. Their positions didn’t change throughout the remaining laps, which might have made for an otherwise uneventful race. But all eyes were on the Stewart/Reed battle deep in the pack, a battle that was heating up.
Stewart was off to a 10th place start at the drop of the gate with Reed on his heels in 11th. The drama unfolded when the two collided in the turn just before the finish line jump, sending them both to the ground. Both teams involved agree that the collision itself was “just racing.” But the aftermath is where the controversy began.
Stewart landed on top of Reed, and Stewart, who was pinned under his bike, couldn’t move. In an effort to get his hand out from under Stewart, Reed pushed his head out of the way so he could get up. Reed was back on his bike first, but he immediately pulled off the track. Stewart managed to regroup and hobble around a few more laps to collect a 15th-place finish and finish the race.
After the race, there was an apparent altercation in the pits in which Stewart went to the Kawasaki pit and knocked Reed’s bike off the stand – a very uncharacteristic outburst from the usually cool-headed Yamaha rider.
The AMA became involved for the pit incident, and for the open-handed contact Reed had on Stewart while the two were on the ground. The Kawasaki team was notified of Reed’s penalty, which was a $5000 fine and a one-race suspension. The suspension was a moot point anyhow, since Reed’s hand was broken in the crash.
Stewart – who, unlike Reed, is a first-time offender – received a warning from the AMA and no penalty.
The Kawasaki team immediately appealed the penalty, and after hours of deliberation by the AMA and FIM into the wee hours of Sunday morning, it was announced that the appeal was granted, and Reed will not be penalized.
The Kawasaki rider still came out of Phoenix with a disastrous start to his race season – two DNFs and a broken hand that will have him sidelined for several weeks.
Reed’s Kawasaki teammate Villopoto fared much better, however, and landed on the podium in second, while Stewart’s teammate Josh Hill finished third. Dungey is the only rider who has been on the podium at both rounds, and now holds a sizeable lead in points at 47 while Villopoto sits second with 38, with Hill and Windham tied for third with 35 points each.
Main Event Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (Suz)
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
3. Josh Hill (Yam)
4. Ivan Tedesco (Yam)
5. Andrew Short (Hon)
6. Kevin Windham (Hon)
7. Austin Stroupe (Suz)
8. Justin Brayton (Yam)
9. Davi Millsaps (Hon)
10. Tommy Hahn (Suz)