Stewart Wins A Barn Burner At Phoenix SX

Shan Moore | January 13, 2007

James Stewart took an exciting win over Ricky Carmichael in front of 44,953 fans at the second round of the 2006-2007 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series held at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, tonight, while Chad Reed rode a consistent race to finish third on his San Manuel Yamaha.

It took two starts to get the Supercross final event underway as a crash by Xyience MDK/Honda’s David Vuillemin brought out the red flag on the third lap of the first attempt. At the time, Stewart was pulling away from the 21-rider field on his factory Kawasaki, while Carmichael was carving his way through traffic after a poor start.

Vuillemin, who came up short over a triple jump in the rhythm section, would eventually walk off the track under his own power, but was being checked by the medical staff as the main event restarted. According to Xyience MDK/Honda team manager Steve Lamson, Vuillemin suffered a possible spleen injury.

On the restart it was Carmichael who took the early lead this time, after passing Yamaha-mounted Jeff Dement immediately after the start, while Stewart rounded the first turn in about sixth.

On lap two, Stewart passed Kevin Windham and Chad Reed in the same corner to take over second place, then immediately moved to within striking distance of Carmichael.

For the next several laps, Stewart dogged Carmichael, showing him a wheel from time to time to let the Makita Suzuki rider know he was there and waiting for a mistake. Then on lap eight, Stewart made a great run through the whoops section and passed Carmichael heading into the following turn.

Carmichael stayed within a second or two of Stewart for the remainder of the race, but could never get close enough to attempt a pass, and was 1.2 seconds behind when Stewart took the checkers.

“I gave it 100% tonight, but James beat me,” said Carmichael. “I looked up in the stands and everyone was standing when James and I were battling. After he passed me, I wanted to put in a surge at the end of the race but didn’t have it. Phoenix is a very special place for me, and I had a blast here tonight.”

Reed ran most of the race in third place, after fending off an early charge by Windham, riding the SoBe NoFear/Samsung Mobile-backed Honda, and a late charge by Windham’s teammate Travis Preston. Reed went on to take the final spot on the podium, and by doing so maintains third overall in the series standings.

Meanwhile, Windham tangled with a lapper late in the race and yielded fourth place to Preston, who had put on a hard charge to work up from the middle of the pack at the start.

Team Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry finished fifth overall, with WBR/Rockstar Suzuki’s Michael Byrne finishing sixth, who both got by Windham when he was held up by the lapper. Windham ended up eighth.

In the Lites division, Mitch Payton’s Monster Energy Kawasaki riders filled out the podium as Christophe Pourcel claimed his first-ever Supercross win in only his second start, while teammates Ryan Villopoto and Chris Gosselaar finished second and third, respectively.

Pourcel moved past KTM’s Martin Davalos on the opening lap of the 15-lap main event and then made it look easy as he pulled away to an eight-second lead by the mid-point of the race.

Villopoto got pushed into the Tuff Blocks at the start of the race and finished the opening lap in ninth place. The Washington-native moved into second on lap eight, but by that time the frenchman was long gone.

“I am surprised at my finish,” said Pourcel. “I’d like to thank everyone, and I look forward to racing next weekend in Anaheim.”

Yamaha-mounted Mathew Lemoine, who was riding in only his second Supercross, ran in third place during the early going, but Gosselaar put a block pass on the young Texan to take the final podium position at the end of the race.

Lemoine finished fourth, with Kawasaki-mounted Steve Boniface in sixth.

Supercross Final:

1. James Stewart (Kaw)

2. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)

3. Chad Reed (Yam)

4. Travis Preston (Hon)

5. Tim Ferry (Kaw)

6. Michael Byrne (Suz)

7. Ivan Tedesco (Suz)

8. Kevin Windham (Hon)

9. Nick Wey (Hon)

10. Heath Voss (Hon)

Lites Final:

1. Christophe Pourcel (Kaw)

2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

3. Chris Gosselaar (Kaw)

4. Mathew Lemoine (Yam)

5. Steve Boniface (Kaw)

6. Josh Hansen (KTM)

7. Josh Hill (Yam)

8. Jason Lawrence (Yam)

9. Kyle Cunningham (Yam)

10. Martin Davalos (KTM)

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.