Stewart Breezes To Washougal Victory

Kit Palmer | July 27, 2008

For James Stewart, the 2008 MX-class championship will have to wait another two weeks until the next round of the series.

Stewart did everything in his powers to clinch his first outdoor big-bore class title by handily winning both motos today at Washougal MX Park in Washington. All that was left for the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider to do was hope that his teammate, second-in points Tim Ferry, would tally 19 points or less on the day and the title would be his. But Ferry collected 25 points, leaving Stewart five points shy of the title, which, barring any catastrophes, will certainly come at the next round in Millville, Minnesota, following a two-week break in the series.

Stewart dominated the 450 class with ease, today, owning the lead in both motos before the first laps were over and then going on to open up 20-second leads en route to his double-moto victories. So far, he’s won every moto in the class, 18 in all for nine overall victories.

Stewart now has 450 points to Ferry’s 305.

Ferry came into the race feeling “under the weather” and was not his usual self. He admitted that he rode with nothing on his mind but salvaging as many points as he could and maintaining second place in the series. Ferry ended up going 11-6 on the day for eighth overall.

Ferry’s closest rival, Honda’s Andrew Short, did everything to take the best advantage of the situation and went a strong 2-2 on the day, collecting 19 valuable points on Ferry. Short is now 15 points behind the Kawasaki rider in third with three rounds left in the series.

The fight for the final spot on the podium came down to a full-on war between Makita/Rockstar Suzuki’s Michael Byrne and privateer Suzuki Cody Cooper. It all boiled down to the second moto, as they fought over third place. Cooper held the position for most of the race until Byrne finally got the New Zealander a few laps from the finish, Byrne’s 3-3 nipping Cooper’s 4-4.

Fifth overall with a 5-5 went to Yamaha’s Josh Hill.

Honda riders Jimmy Albertson and Jeff Alessi battled it out for sixth with Albertson getting the nod, his 6-7 topping Alessi’s 7-9.

Ferry finished eighth, followed by Antonio Balbi and Billy Laninovich.

Ryan Villopoto’s win streak in the Lites class came to an exciting end, but it wasn’t decided until the second-to-last lap of the second moto. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider won the first moto over Makita/Rockstar Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, who came back with vengeance in the second moto. After Dungey and Villopoto passed early leader Trey Canard, the two riders went at it for the rest of the race, Dungey able to fight back Villopoto’s every attack. On the second-to-last lap, however, Villopoto made a small bobble which was enough for Dungey to cruise the last lap for his first ever outdoor National win, his 2-1 beating Villopoto’s 1-2. However, Villopoto still enjoys a very comfortable points lead over Dungey in the Lites-class series, 438-329.

Joining Dungey and Villopoto on the podium was Geico Powersports/Honda’s Josh Grant who toughed it out with a sore ankle to go 3-4 for third.

Fourth place with a 5-3 went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe who went 5-3 on the day.

MDK/KTM’s Ryan Sipes rounded out the top five overall with a 4-5. Jake Weimer, Nico Izzi, Robert Kiniry, Mat Goerke and Kyle Chisholm filled out the top 10 overall.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.