Courtesy of NPG
Stewart has been unbeatable his season. His quest for a perfect 12 rounds is a quarter complete going into High Point.
Round 4 of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF prepares for one of the most exciting events of the season with the 32nd Annual Kawasaki/Monster Energy Motocross National Presented by Centra Bank. This weekend's Father's Day showcase kicks-off the first round of the three-race Monster Energy/Kawasaki Triple Crown of Motocross.
Last week in Texas, rider's endured hot and humid conditions, with temperatures soaring into the mid-90s. At the end of the day, the familiar faces of Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto took the overall victories.
For the first time this season, Stewart failed to lead every lap at Freestone County Raceway. However, he was still the rider to beat and is excited to return to High Point, where he won his only overall victory in Mt. Morris in 2004 as a member of the AMA Motocross Lites class.
"I'm excited to go to High Point," said Stewart. "They changed the track a little this year and got rid of the step down after the finish. As soon as I heard that, I wanted to go race there right away. It looks like it is going to be hot again so I'm going to make sure I recover during the week. If it rains it won't be that big of a deal, at least it will be cooler then."
Tim Ferry (15) picked up the RC Hard-Charger Award at Freestone thanks to his typical gritty performances. Ferry comes on strong late in the motos, so if it stays hot he'll have a better shot at moving up the podium.
Teammate Tim Ferry battled through an up and down weekend at Freestone, but turned some heads in the process, going from 36th to seventh in the first moto.
"I'm looking forward to Mt. Morris," said Ferry. "Freestone isn't one of my favorite tracks because it is pretty easy and everyone can go fast. I like High Point because it is tough and rutty. I have a lot of time on the track so my experience helps out a lot."
Villopoto currently holds an impressive five-moto winning streak. In Texas, he appeared to suffer no ill effects of the heat, cruising to both moto victories while also grabbing the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award in moto one.
"Mt. Morris is a really good track," said Villopoto. "It is built on the side of a hill and it is very tough. Hopefully we'll have good weather and if it is hot it will work to the advantage of the guys who are in shape."
Fellow Kawasaki riders Austin Stroupe and Brett Metcalfe head into Pennsylvania after experiencing opposite ends of the spectrum in at Freestone. Stroupe put in two solid third-place motos to wind up third overall while Metcalfe ran in the top ten all day, but suffered heat exhaustion at the end of the second moto.
Over at Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, the yellow bikes enter High Point coming off twin runner-up finishes in both AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites by Mike Alessi and Ryan Dungey, respectively. Alessi boasted a stellar weekend, grabbing both BTOSports.com Holeshot Awards and breaking the laps led stranglehold of Stewart by leading eight laps of his own. Last year, he had a rough weekend at High Point and hopes to turn that around this weekend.
Dungey was the only rider to give a challenge to Villopoto all weekend, breaking out with an early lead in the second moto. Thanks to his consistent effort thus far, he is keeping pace with Villopoto in the standings in second. In 2007, Dungey just missed out on the podium at Mt. Morris, finishing fourth overall.
"The track conditions are good at High Point," explained Dungey. "I feel we have the bike to go after an overall win real soon and I hope to put my Suzuki RM-Z250 out front early this weekend and see what we can do."
Michael Byrne had a great weekend in Texas. On his continued path to recovery, Byrne rode to a solid sixth-place finish, enduring the conditions to help secure his spot in sixth place in the standings coming into High Point.
"I'm looking forward to the race this weekend," Byrne said. "High Point is a good track, I really enjoy the soil and it has a good layout. I always have fun there. I'm looking forward to a good weekend and trying to build on the good result that I got on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 last week."
As the Red Bull Honda team readies for High Point, all three riders are targeting their time-off on recovering from the tough conditions in Wortham. Texas resident Andrew Short put in his best effort of the season in front of his hometown crowd, earning a third-place finish. In 2007, he garnered a top-five finish at High Point and is eager to maintain the momentum he established last week.
Where is Trey Canard? The Geico Honda rider has had trouble staying on two wheels so far. The West Coast SX Lites champ needs to get with the program if he wants to be a contender in the outdoor series.
Davi Millsaps continued his consistent efforts, bringing his bike home in fifth. After a third place in Mt. Morris last season, he is undoubtedly excited to return to the Coombs family's stellar facility. Ivan Tedesco is probably looking forward to Pennsylvania more than any other rider. In a rough weekend in the Lone Star State, Tedesco found the ground in both motos, including a big crash in the day's final moto that forced him out of the race.
Factory Yamaha's Josh Hill continues to look for a clean weekend of racing in this young 2008 season. After suffering a fall in one of the motos in the opening round, Hill also crashed in moto one at Hangtown. An outstanding comeback effort helped him to an 11th-place finish while a relatively clean moto two resulted in a ninth-place finish for ninth overall. Given the opportunity to ride at his own pace, Hill has the speed to run up front.
This week's Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com will feature a return guest this weekend as the legendary David Bailey makes his triumphant return to the mic after a two-week layoff. 2008 marks the 25th anniversary of his "dream season" in 1983 when he walked away with the AMA Supercross, AMA 250 National MX, and AMA/Wrangler Grand National Championship titles.