Stunner! Josh Grant Wins Anaheim Opener

Kit Palmer | January 4, 2009

The opening round of the AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series at Angel Stadium started out just as everyone had hoped, with defending champ Makita/Rockstar Suzuki’s Chad Reed and former Supercross champ, San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart battling for the lead right from the get-go, but standing on the top step of the podium after all was said and done was SX-class rookie, Josh Grant.

Grant, competing in his first race on a 450 in Supercross, came out on top after what was a very interesting 20-lap feature. The win was also the first for his Spike Energy/Toyota Yamaha (Joe Gibbs Racing) Team.

“I just don’t know what to say,” Grant said. “I can’t explain my emotions right now.”

Grant put himself in third and in a position to take advantage of any mistakes that might be made by the two riders ahead of him, those being Reed and Stewart.

Stewart nailed the holeshot, but Reed passed him for the lead shortly after. The two riders started pulling away from the pack, and the mistake Grant was waiting for came right around the midway point of the race. Stewart had just taken the lead back from Reed when Stewart missed a gear coming out of a turn that led into a short whoop section. Reed slammed into the back of Stewart and both riders went down in a heap. Stunned, both riders were slow to remount. And thing only got worse for Stewart when he got T-boned by Kevin Windham while he was trying to push his bike off the track. This drove the final nail into the coffin for Stewart, and it also put Windham at the back of the pack. Stewart could not get his bike restarted and he ended up walking back to the pits, en route tossing his helmet to the ground in frustration.

Meanwhile, Reed got back in the race well down in the field but would eventually recover to finish third.

When Stewart and Reed went down, Grant inherited a 10-plus second lead and looked to have an easy ride to the checkered flag, but a few laps from the finish, his Yamaha started smoking, the result of a banner that he had picked up in his rear wheel and was melting on his bike’s hot disc brake. Grant managed to nurse his bike to the finish line six seconds ahead of Honda Red Bull’s Andrew Short.

“I felt the bike bogging, but I didn’t know I had picked up a Tuff Block,” said Grant of his near catastrophe. So Grant leaves Anaheim with the point’s lead with 25, followed by Short with 22 points and Reed with 20. Stewart managed just two points on the night.

Results: 1. Josh Grant (Yam)

2. Andrew Short (Hon)

3. Chad Reed (Suz)

4. Tim Ferry (Kaw)

5. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

6. Ivan Tedesco (Hon)

7. Heath Voss (Hon)

8. Ben Coisy (Hon)

9. Nick Wey (Yam)

10. Paul Carpenter (Kaw)

11. Mike Alessi (Suz)

12. Davi Millsaps (Hon)

13. Cole Siebler (Hon)

14. Matt Boni (Hon)

15. Kevin Windham (Hon)

16. Josh Hill (Yam)

17. Steve Boniface (Hon)

18. Robert Kiniry (Kaw)

19. James Stewart (Yam)

20. Charles Summey (KTM)

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.