Unadilla has been very good to Kevin Windham over the years, and it has been equally bad for James Stewart. This was clearly evident at today’s round of the Toyota AMA Motocross Series, held at Unadilla Valley Sports Center, in New Berlin, New York, when Stewart went down in practice and had to be transported to the hospital for observation. Meanwhile, Windham passed a fast-starting Mike Alessi to the win the opening moto and then backed it up with a solid third place finish in the second moto, earning him the 28th overall victory of his career.
In 2005 Stewart went down hard at Unadilla after having a collision with Ricky Carmichael as the two battled for the lead, causing Stewart to miss the second moto; while last year at this track he suffered a high-speed crash during morning practice and missed the race altogether.
On the other hand, Windham’s last national victory came at Unadilla, in 2003.
Finishing second overall was Stewart’s Kawasaki teammate, Tim Ferry, who worked up from a poor start in the first moto to finish fifth behind the Sobe/Samsung No Fear/Honda-mounted Windham, KTM’s Alessi, Team Yamaha’s Grant Langston, and Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco.
Ferry came back to win the second moto, ahead of Team Honda’s Andrew Short and Windham.
Short claimed third overall with a 6-2 finish.
As for Stewart, who crashed hard in the morning’s first practice session, he was checked out by the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit and then transported to a local hospital for observation after he complained of neck and back pain, but was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health. “James was at the hospital for several hours and was checked out and got x-rays and he was given a clean bill of health,” said Kawasaki team manager Mike Fisher. “He is really sore so he must have pulled or strained some muscles in his back and neck. His head is okay and they said if he feels okay he can race. He is going to see another doctor on Monday, but things look okay right now.”
In the Lites division, Ben Townley and Ryan Villopoto ended the day tied in the series points standings after a strange series of event.
In the first moto, Townley ran away with the win, while Villopoto DNFed when a rock knocked a hole in his radiator. Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey finished second with Team Yamaha’s Broc Hepler in third. Hepler was making a return to racing after sitting out a few months with a concussion.
In the second moto, Villopoto put his Monster Energy Kawasaki into the lead and never looked back, easily taking the win over Dungey, while his teammate Townely recovered from a first lap crash to finish third.
Townley and Villopoto head into to the next round in Denver tied in the series points lead after six rounds of the series.
“We are six races into this and here we are tied up, so it is like a six race championship,” said Townley. “Ryan having the DNF was a huge help for me in the points race. I have got to go back and keep working. I didn’t take any time off the last two weeks, I wanted to make sure I was better than I was at Red Bud. Obviously at Budds Creek I got a whipping and I tried to be better at Red Bud and it seemed that I was closer to Ryan. And then today, I felt like if we had got to square off we would have been pretty even, but we didn’t get to do that. I am just tying to work on little things and I want to win this championship. We are so close and I will need every point I can get.”