Stewart, Reed, Tickle, Hansen Talk Oakland SX

Cycle News Staff | January 31, 2011

Supercross at the Oakland Coliseum had its moments: San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stuart broke the tie with TwoTwo Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed in the number of career wins (39 versus 38), and Reed ascended the podium for the first time this season. In the Lites class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates Josh Hansen and Broc Tickle continued their battle for the West Lites Championship and found themselves together again on the podium after all was said and done. We spoke briefly with each of these riders moments after the race.James Stewart had a tough day, really. A crash in practice prompted him to skip the final time qualifying session and to instead take a nap. And the nap seemed to pay off. In the main, once early leader Ryan Villopoto fell, Stewart checked out, leading all the way to the finish. At one point, he held a six-second advantage over Reed and Dungey. The win was Stewart’s second of the season.

After last weekend’s disappointment at Los Angeles, how does it feel to get the win at Oakland?Stewart:  It was good. Man, it was a rough day – two big crashes. You know, man – just happy – real happy to come back up and win it.Talk about the race.I didn’t get a good start in the main event, but I made it happen. Ryan went down on the third lap – I just knew he was going to override the track. [The track] was tough tonight. Like I said, we had to pull it together in the heat race and in the main event.  I’m just glad I was able to do it.  It was a tough, tough track but I was able to get the job done.Was it that nap you took during the second qualifier?Stewart:  [Laughter] Yeah, well I had to go sleep. I wasn’t feeling good – a little banged up. But I’m just so proud of my team, to recover, to get the job done. That’s what the championship is all about.Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey fought closely for second place through the whole main event, Reed dominating the first 10 laps and Dungey for most of the second half. Dungey looked to have second place until coming out of the last corner before the finish when he got caught behind a lapper and Reed swept past for his first podium spot of the season.

That was a photo finish! How does it feel to put the TwoTwo Motorsports Honda on the podium for the first time.

Reed: It was good. It was awesome to finally get up on the box. I wouldn’t say it was an amazing race, but I tried to fight hard, tried to find my rhythm and we got there, you know. Dungey made some mistakes those last few laps and I was just trying to get up there and make it happen.What did you think of the track?Reed:  I think the track was a lot better since it rained.  I’m not a big fan of the easy tracks we’ve been getting and I think the rain and the dirt made it really technical. The whoops were really, really slick and tough as well. Hats off to James. He ran an amazing race and had a tough day as well. I bet it feels nice for him to bounce back and get a big “W”. But for me and my team, well, I’m so happy.The Lites Main Event was a battle fought largely by series points leaders Josh Hansen (66 points) and Broc Tickle (62 points), with Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen as occasional wild cards. Hoping for his third win of the season, Hansen was edged out by Tickle, who pulled the first win of his career at Oakland.

How does it feel to get your first win?Tickle:  I’m so happy. You know, I wanted to win really bad. Been working hard. Mitch  Payton took me along. I just wanted to get a championship this year, have two years with him, so I’m looking forward to winning more races. It’s good to start off at Oakland and get the ball rolling here.Could you feel Josh pressuring you in the last part of the race?Tickle:  I just felt really smooth tonight, focused in really good, so tonight was a pretty easy night for me.You and Josh are on the same team and your best competitors.  Do you train together?  Tickle:  We don’t train together or ride together that much. But we’re cool. Like, I respect him and he respects me, so it’s a good, good relationship.What’s up for Anaheim-II – anything different?  Tickle: No, just keep doing what I’m doing and know where I belong. That’s the main thing, you know – confidence – I need it.What about the rest of the season, including the two month break that’s coming up?The break isn’t always easy because you build momentum and then you have two months to think about racing again. I have been in the class for a few years and so has Josh. We are both veterans and I know we both want to win. I think its going to come down to the end because we both want to win our first Lites championship.Josh Hansen was visibly disappointed with his second place spot, plus he has seen his points lead in the West Lites Championship shrink to just one point over Tickle.

Could you sense Broc close behind you? Hansen:  Yeah. I made like two – no, four – big mistakes. I just tightened up, cased a few jumps and, basically, he got around me, riding loose, came from behind.  Well, that’s that. I got something to look forward to next weekend.How does if feel when your toughest competitor is your teammate?Hansen:  Yeah, he rode good, though. I can’t make any excuses. He [Broc]  beat me fair and square. But I’m going to come back swinging next weekend. I’m just going to put my head down and work hard.What are your thoughts on the rest of the season?I am trying to think about the season as a whole and not do anything stupid that would cost me points. I’m really looking forward to going back to Anaheim next week and be back close to home.