Jason Anderson is the top 250 qualifier for tonight’s Las Vegas Supercross final. Photography by Kit Palmer
Qualifying is pretty much wrapped up today at the final round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Hot weather and winds are keeping track crews busying trying to keep the dust down and maintaining some sort of traction on the hard-pack, dry and slick racecourse.
The wind was the blame for at least one crash that put TLD/MadTV/Honda’s Malcolm Stewart to the ground off a jump in the second 250 West timed qualifying session after holding the top spot for most of the allotted time period. Stewart got up slowly, returned to the mechanics area, straightened out the bike and finished out the last few laps. Unfortunately for him, he ran out of time and wasn’t able to answer the best time put in by West points leader Jason Anderson, who claimed the overall quickest time ahead of GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne, Stewart, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson and TLD/Honda’s Cole Seely.
Afterward, Stewart, who had a slight limp after the crash, said he’s beat up a little but will okay. “I’m tough,” he joked.
In the 250 East division, Rockstar Energy/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin heads the leaderboard going into tonight’s East final. Points leader Justin Bogle, on the GEICO Honda, is second, but after putting in two good practice session, Bogle finished up qualifying on the ground, hitting the deck a couple of time on the slippery track. Bogle did not appear to be injured in the falls but was obviously frustrated. He’ll be hoping to turn things around in tonight’s East main and East/West Shootout. Of the two East and West top qualifiers, Anderson has the edge.
Bogle will most likely claim the East title since the three riders nearest him the championship – Martin Davalos, Adam Cianciarulo and Blake Baggett - are out with injuries.
In the West division, Anderson leads Seely by eight points.
Tonight’s race will decide both the 250 East and West Championships, as well as the Championship in the traditional year-end Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout.
In the 450 class, Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart is at the top of the charts, but his best time and Ryan Villopoto’s best time are nearly identical, with Stewart posting a 1:08.125 and Villopoto a 1:08.142. Justin Barcia is third with a 1:09.006 and Ryan Dungey fourth with a 1:09.181. Josh Hill on the Soaring Eagle/RCH Suzuki is up there as well with a 1:09.181.
Even though Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto already clinched the 2014 450-class Championship, a few questions are still going to be answered tonight, perhaps the biggest being – who will claim runner-up honors in the championship between Stewart and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey? Stewart currently leads Dungey by 11 points, and Dungey has only a six-point lead over his teammate Ken Roczen.