Supercross at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was a major success with more than 40,000 fans in attendance.
Round 4 of the 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship was wild and unpredictable for the riders and fans Saturday night in Oakland. Things were different for northern California race this year, as the venue moved across the Bay. Typically held inside San Francisco’s Giants Stadium, this race was held at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The switch was made due to size constraints with the former location. General consensus on the change was positive, with a more open racetrack and easier parking access creating a better package than what San Fran’s Pac-Bell Park had to offer.
The track in Oakland featured an over/under section for the first time this season, and had the smallest sand section that we’ve seen so far. However, the sand created some major problems for riders. Just ask Austin Stroupe who, like many riders, struggled through it all night. The whoop section was really gnarly also and required high levels of skill and concentration. It caught a few of the top riders off guard, including Ivan Tedesco, who almost didn’t race due to some back problems he suffered after a crash. Kyle Regal was taken down twice by the nasty section.
As always, the pits were full of fans, vendors and sponsors. One really cool thing to check out in the pits was the Traxxas remote control booth. They had a full track set up for folks looking to try out their tough RC trucks and it looked like loads of fun. In anticipation of this weekend’s second-annual breast cancer awareness Supercross race taking place at Anaheim, a tent was set-up to draw attention to the next race. Many of the riders will be competing in special
James Stewart: “I think the biggest thing for me was rebounding after a day like today,” said Stewart who now has 39 career wins. “It was a rough day, for sure, and I’m not going to be mad that I’m in the points lead. I just want to keep it going and try to make it happen. I want to give-it-up to my team today; they did an awesome job of rebuilding the bike a few times and kept the attitude good. We’ll just keep on rolling from here.”
pink gear which will be auctioned off on eBay with all the proceeds benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation to support the fight against breast cancer.
San Manuel Yamaha rider James Stewart had an unpredictable yet successful night in front of more than 40,000 fans. He crashed hard in practice, twice, then came back out and threw down a few fast laps to get him into the night show. JS7 was indeed impressive, winning both his heat and the 20-lap main by over eight seconds.
At the end of the night James stated, “It means a lot, I was on my head a few times in practice and was a little dingy and didn’t even come out for the second practice, but my team regrouped and we had a good heat race. We didn’t’ get the best start in the main event but I was able to pressure Ryan (Villopoto) and he fell over. The track was gnarly and really slick.
“This is a great win for me and the team. It’s a long season and it’s all about winning a championship. The rain tonight made it a little difficult, but I am glad I came out on top.”
Another rider who was on fire Saturday night in the premier Supercross class was Monster Energy Kawasaki‘s Ryan Villopoto. The KX450F rider looked to be on rails all day long but had some bad luck and a couple of falls in the main event. He eventually finished in fourth place.
“It seems like the past few rounds, I would make a mistake then the next race, James would make a mistake,” said Villopoto after the race. “I wouldn’t say it was a terrible weekend because we left here healthy and my first and foremost goal is to stay healthy, followed by winning races.”
Chad Reed had a solid night, finishing second in his heat and just edging out Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey at the finish line to secure his best finish of the season on his TwoTwo Motorsports Honda CRF450R. Fifth and sixth place finishes would go to Brett Metcalfe and Trey Canard, respectively. Canard suffered a bad start and was forced to work his way through the pack from 14th.
“The day started off good,” said a disappointed Dungey. “My team got things dialled in pretty good in practice and I felt really comfortable on the bike. The heat race was a little tough – I didn’t get off to the best start and the track was a bit greasy. I got a better start in the Main and worked my way up to second, but unfortunately I got passed right at the end. All in all, my RM-Z450 worked great and the team did a great job. It will be great to go back to Anaheim. We know more what to expect there and hopefully we can get a good start and put the Rockstar Makita Suzuki up front.”
TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed put in his best showing of the year after making a last-second pass on Ryan Dungey as the paor crossed the finish line.
The Supercross Lites class gave a ton of action in the Coliseum. At the start of the main event it was Geico Powersports Honda’s Eli Tomac who grabbed the holeshot, just edging out the Red Bull KTM of Ken Roczen and the Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki stable mates Josh Hansen and Broc Tickle. Tomac looked to be riding tight, but was definitely hauling the mail until he slid out around one of the sweeping dirt track-style corners. This gave Germany’s Roczen the opportunity to lead, but he too was riding a bit edgy – probably due to the slippery conditions.
Hansen was hot on Roczen’s rear wheel and they would eventually swap the lead a few times before the Kawasaki rider took the position for good. Tickle soon passed Roczen and started to chase his teammate. Roczen made a mistake through the whoops, slowing his drive and allowing Tomac to close the gap between them. Tomac would eventually pass the young KTM racer and take third place.
“I knew that turn was slick because I had seen Tomac fall earlier,” explained Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen. “I was trying to take it easy but before I knew it I was already on the ground. It is so frustrating because I was in podium position. The positive thing is I have been improving each weekend. I was better at defending my lines today and I had much better starts. I had real bad arm pump during the race and I felt like I wasn’t riding like myself. I don’t know what’s causing it but I had arm pump in my heat and in the main and it was definitely a factor in my overall finish.”
Out front it was all Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Tickle eventually got around Hansen to grab his first win of 2011. Hansen shared the leftover podium with Tomac as Roczen remounted from a crash to finish fourth. Fifth place was the third of Mitch Payton’s riders, Tyla Rattray.
Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki Broc Tickle: “I feel good about my win,” said Tickle. “It’s good to get another win, now I am in the same boat and I want that third win that much more. I felt really comfortable out front and I rode really smooth and was very focused.”
“I don’t even know what to say, I am so happy,” said Tickle. “I was really motivated during the week after missing the podium last weekend. I felt good all week and came into Oakland with a good attitude. I wasn’t fastest in practice, but I know that doesn’t mean much. I did what I could to get a good start and let the race come to me.”
Tickle’s teammate Josh Hansen, winner of Round 1 and 2, clearly struggled with the slippery conditions.
“I over-rode the track and that made a lot of mistakes trying to do the triple-triple,” said Hansen. “When I made those big mistakes, I tightened up and my teammate passed me fair and square. This week I got beat and didn’t have anything for Broc. 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.”
Riders are looking forward to the next round of the Monster Energy Supercross series which will return to Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California on February 5th. Again, the race will be dedicated to the fight against breast cancer so for those attending, remember to wear pink.