Friday night we attended the sneak peek screening of James Stewart’s new reality show “Bubba’s World” hosted by Red Bull. I give the show two thumbs up, and my TiVo is set to record every episode. We had a chance to catch up with Stewart and see how he is healing up.
“It’s been seven weeks today, so I’m still recovering. The navicular is a crappy bone to break. I just want to make sure I’m healed, and I don’t want to come back and get third. I want to come back and win,” said Stewart about his injury and outlook. “I’m looking at racing some nationals, and that’s my goal. If I can get in the next couple weeks, maybe I’ll show up at the last few Supercrosses.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto came in to Round 12 trailing Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey by 24 points. RV has only way to win this championship from here on out, and that is to be the first to cross the finish line. His win this weekend saw him gain three points on Dungey, but he almost didn’t even make it to the night program. During the first timed practice the lone Kawasaki factory racer took a detour over a berm and went down hard. As Villopoto limped back to his bike is was obvious all was not right with his left foot or ankle. Inside the Asterisk Medical trailer Number-2 was diagnosed with a chipped bone in the joint of his big toe.
If this doesn’t show how bad RV wants to win, then we don’t know what does. Despite chipping a bone in his foot he went on to grab his sixth win of the season.
Villopoto decided to sit out the second practice session to minimize the strain on his foot. After his win in the heat and the main it seemed the foot wasn’t as bad as everyone had made it out to be. While waiting for my flight out of Jacksonville, RV’s mechanic Mike Williamson sent me an iPhone photo of Ryan’s left foot. I get queasy at the slightest sight of bodily injury so I almost puked in my latte. The photo of the nasty purple foot shows how bad the 22-year-old really wants this championship. How he even got his foot back in his boot is a mystery. The upcoming weekend off will give RV some time to heal up before he makes a run at the championship.
Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey minimized the damage to his points lead with a second place finish in Jacksonville. The Rockstar pilot got bumped around on the start and was sitting in fifth position on the first lap. With Villopoto already out in front this could have spelled disaster for the current point leader. By Lap 4, Dungey was up to third and closing on Honda’s Kevin Windham. While trying to get by Windham, Dungey almost went down when he ran into the back of the GEICO rider. Luckily he was able to hold onto the bar and remount quickly. He finally made the pass for second on Lap 11. Dungey’s charge to the front would end there as RV was too far ahead to catch, but the rookie only lost three points to the Kawasaki racer.
Finishing second for the rest of the season will be good enough for the championship, but don’t expect Dungey to sit back and play the points game. Almost every round the well-spoken racer says that he is focusing on winning races and the rest will work itself out.
Trey Canard finished on the podium again in Jacskonville. The Honda rider feels that racing during the West Coast Lites break was good training for him
Red Bull Honda’s Trey Canard made the most of his time on Andrew Short’s ride as he grabbed his fifth podium in his sixth and final ride in the 450 class. Canard said that racing was excellent training while his competition took a 10-week break. Even though he has been killing it on the big bike, he is not discounting the skill and speed of the small-bore racers that he will be battling for the West Coast Lites Championship.
“I know Jake has had a long break, and I’m sure he’s had some good training time. I’m not discounting any of those guys,” said Canard when asked if the Lites class will be easy compared to the Supercross class. “It been good for me to do this, and it’s helped me. At the same time I can’t let my guard down.”
Last week’s winner in the Lites class, Blake Baggett had a disappointing night in Jacksonville. The rookie Suzuki racer went down on the first straight triple, and remounted his RM-Z in last place. Almost a half a lap behind the field Baggett, picked off as many riders as he could to finish in 12th place. Baggett was feeling confident after getting his first professional win out of the way, but he knows the completion is tight in the Lites class. In an interview that you can check out Wednesday, he told us he really doesn’t like racing Supercross and is looking forward to the outdoor season.
Austin Stroupe once again finished second behind Christophe Pourcel. While battling with Metcalfe for the lead, he stumbled just for a second, allowing Pourcel by and into the lead. Stroupe is hungry for a win but just can’t make it click yet. He sits just eight points back in the championship with two rounds remaining. He really needs to get onto that top spot in order to give himself the chance for the East Coast Lites Championship. With just two races left, it’s do-or-die for Stroupe.
Dean Wilson is still stuck north of the border, but Mitch Payton said they expect to spring him on Tuesday. When you are dealing with government agencies you can really never be sure. We hope he makes it back soon, as he was beginning to post some impressive results.