What We Learned at A1 Supercross
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The A1 Supercross
proved an exciting opening to one of the more anticipated SX seasons in recent memory. Watching the action on SPEED Channel’s live coverage, a couple of things stood out in the race.
1. James Stewart’s Still Faster'n Snot.
James Stewart had the pace at the A1 opener, but a poor start doomed his return to a third-place result.
J Stew came back from effectively a year off and drove home a solid podium finish. Not the dominating win many expected, but Stewart overcame a terrible start to scorch his way through the pack. While he may not have won, the Yamaha rider was burning the fastest laps. 2. James Stewart’s Still Wild.
Number 7 is the fastest rider out there, but he also remains one of the most wild. There were a couple hairball moments at A1, with a squirrelly moment in the latter half of the race getting SPEED commentators Ricky Carmichael and Jeff Emig all atwitter. The two-time champ’s speed is not infallible. While he will no double win a slew of races this year, Stewart can ill afford spotting the field 25 points with a careless DNF. 3. Extend the List of Title Hopefuls to Five.
James Stewart, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto & Chad Reed – the Big Four title contenders coming into 2011. But Trey Canard logged a steady fourth in his Factory Honda full-time Supercross debut. Carrying the Big Red banner, Canard seems good for at least a couple podiums – maybe more… 4. Talent Depth in the Premier Class.
The talent this year on the non-factory Supercross squads seems stronger than usual. Chad Reed and Kevin Windham campaign top-5 worthy Honda efforts. The Joe Gibbs and Hart & Huntington squads have managed to land big time sponsors in Toyota and Dodge, and the teams both field top-ten riders. Joe Gibb’s Justin Brayton looked stellar in his A1 heat race (though he had a rough main) and Davi Millsaps figures to do something respectable this year on the JG Yamaha too. And what about Ivan Tedesco? Hot Sauce looked full of piss and vinegar at Anaheim, T-Boning Stewart in their heat race and making Bubba think twice before passing in the main event. A former Lites champ, Tedesco may not be a title contender in the premier class, but he sure made himself a relevant force on the A1 track. Add in names like Josh Grant and the return of Josh Hill in the future, not to mention Jake Weimer and maybe even Christophe Pourcel… The Supercross class is stocked with premium talent.
5. Pro Circuit Kawasaki Dominance.
Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen looked unbeatable in the West Coast Lites Anaheim race and barring injury it’s hard to see anyone unseating him from a Lites coronation. Once again the Pro Circuit juggernaut is overloaded with talent, sweeping the A1 Lites podium with its three-rider lineup – Hansen, Broc Tickle and Tyla Rattray. Rockstar Suzuki’s Martin Davalos and Ryan Morais figure to break up the green stranglehold in the coming rounds, but A1 might not be the last three-rider Pro Circuit victory lap of the season.
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