San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium was host to the seventh round of the AMA Supercross Series, and over 60,000 fans, the largest turnout so far this season, were treated to two landmark occurrences: Ryan Villopoto wrapping up the Western Regional Lites Championship, and Chad Reed collecting his first AMA Supercross win of the season.
Team Makita Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco grabbed the holeshot in the Supercross main event with Reed and Monster Kawasaki’s James Stewart hot on his tail. It turned into a three-way battle for the lead which Reed secured by the end of the first lap. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Yamaha rider was off and running, with Stewart closing in on him. Stewart made his move on lap three, and a mistake by Reed at the same time let Stewart get away clean. The trickiest part on the fast and slippery San Diego track was a triple in the middle of the whoop section. In order to clear it, riders needed to jump the entire first set of whoops, but right after Stewart passed him, Reed didn’t have the momentum and had to double.
Reed stayed within a second of Stewart, but it wasn’t until a big mistake by Stewart half way into the main that Reed regained the lead. Stewart came a little too close to the Tuff Blocks and clipped them, which hit his rear brake on the face of the finish line jump. Stewart crashed hard and sufficiently tweaked his front end, and fell back six places before rejoining the race.
From there, Reed rode a somewhat lonely race to the finish for his first AMA Supercross win, and second World Supercross GP win of the season. Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry and SoBe/No Fear/Samsung rider Kevin Windham finished in a distant second and third, respectively, also marking their series best finishes.
“I love this place,” an elated Chad Reed said. “I have had so many great races here, and this is huge for me. Second place was getting really old. It’s a shame to see James crash like that, but this is a big relief for me because I know I can win.”
With his tweaked front end, all Stewart could manage to salvage in the remaining laps was fifth behind Tedesco. Michael Byrne, Heath Voss, Paul Carpenter, David Vuillemin and Travis Preston finished out the top ten.
Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto only had to collect a few more points to claim the Lites West Title one round early, but right from his heat race, Villopoto made it clear that he wasn’t just here to ride around and protect the championship, he was gunning for another win.
His teammate, Chris Gosselaar took the early lead followed by Red Bull KTM rider Martin Davalos, but in his usual style, Villopoto didn’t waste time gaining control of the race, and checking out. Jason Lawrence of the Boost Mobile Yamaha team, the only other rider with the championship still in his sight, was off to a mediocre start, but charged through the pack like a man posessed. Soon he was in third and still gaining ground on the leader, but Gosselaar stayed between Lawrence and his teammate, fending off his advances as long as he could.
Lawrence made his move on Gosselaar as they got into lappers, and began trying to reel in Villopoto, who was nearly out of sight. But ultimately, Lawrence had to settle for second, and watch the win and the title go to Villopoto.
“I am so ecstatic right now,” Villopoto said. “I had a great start in my heat race, then a great start in the main. My teammate, Chris Gosselaar was in the lead early on and by lap two I made my way to the lead. This is a great accomplishment for me, and I could not have done it without my family.”
Gosselaar hung on for third, despite being hounded by Factory Yamaha rookie Josh Hill in the final laps. Hill finished fourth followed by Red Bull KTM’s Josh Hansen.