James Stewart is on his way to a perfect season in the Toyota AMA Motocross Championship. The Monster Kawasaki rider won his second overall at the 40th Annual Hangtown Motocross Classic. In similar fashion to last week's season opener at Glen Helen, Stewart captured victory by way of a clean sweep in the 450 class. Only 2-of-12 you say? Well not only did ol' Stew win both motos, now four straight, but he has led every single lap this season, and he's only been on the bike for a month after coming back from knee surgery.
James Stewart is 4-for-4 in moto wins this season. The Kawi rider has little trouble with the current 450 class.
Moto 1 was a nightmare for the rest of the field when JS holeshot and ran away. There's good racing behind the leader, however, and the big guns all came out looking fresh and happy to challenge for the runner-up spot. Steve Boniface actually ran second for a couple laps before giving way to Red Bull Honda's Davi Millsaps. Cody Cooper was also right in the mix off the gate running as high as fourth in the opening laps.
Tim Ferry finished second after another of his classic late-moto charges. He reeled in Millsaps and put distance between them to hand the Honda rider third. Ivan Tedesco looked strong all through qualifying on his Red Bull Honda and finished fourth behind his teammate.
Millsaps was first through the sweeping left-hander to start Moto 2 and he led a Red Bull Honda freight train. Andrew Short and Tedesco both trailed the #118 bike with Stewart in fourth. JS was tailing Millsaps after only Â¬ lap and make the winning pass on the outside of the big downhill. He would go on to lead every lap. Stewart was the only 450 rider to break the two-minute barrier on the rough, technical track being run in reverse. Stew clicked off a 1:58.5 in Moto 1 and a 1:59.8 in Moto 2. Neither time was in jeopardy by other riders.
Mike Alessi had some bad luck on Sunday but he was certainly on the gas. Alessi is fit and wll be a hard-charger for the remainder of the season.
"It felt good," said Stewart said of the win. "I felt really good today. I was just trying to keep solid lap times, racing the pit board and just doing my thing. We practice that so much during the week trying to get ready for the weekend. The track was really tough today. It was hard to get a bike setup. We've been working really hard and its showing. The fans were great out there, they're really showing the love and I think that will continue for the rest of the season."
Boniface and Cooper had another tremendous outing in the second moto when the Frenchman Boniface. The Honda rider was again sixth for fifth overall while Cooper nailed down a 13-12-13. Even though it doesn't seem like much, Cooper spent time up front before finishing the race looking pretty strong.
Ferry again charged to second after rounding Lap 1 outside the top-10. He had a good battle with Alessi who seemed to run out of steam just a tad at the end. Tedesco was third for third overall and Millsaps, who faded hard after the opening laps, wound up going 3-5-4.
"It got rough today, it was a tough track," admitted Tedesco. "I can't remember the last time I've been on the podium. It sucks when you put the work in and the results don't come."
1. James Stewart, Kaw (1-1)
2. Timmy Ferry, Kaw (2-2)
3. Ivan Tedesco, Hon (4-3)
4. Davi Millsaps, Hon (3-5)
5. Steve Boniface, Hon (6-6)
6. Ben Townley, Hon (8-7)
7. Mike Alessi, Suz (16-4)
8. Michael Byrne, Suz (9-10)
9. Josh Hill, Yam (11-9)
10. Andrew Short, Hon (14-8)
Motocross Overall Standings:
1. Stewart, 100
2. Ferry, 80
3. Millsaps, 76
4. Tedesco, 68
5. Alessi, 67
Ryan Villopoto made his bosses at Kawasaki happy by landing a sweep in the Lites division to accompany Stewart's domination in the Motocross class.
Last weekend saw some early troubles for Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto before he rebounded to win the second moto. The only thing the 25,000 sun-baked fans at Hangtown saw was a demonstration of why he decimated the entire motocross world last year at the Motocross of Nations. RV is back in form and the red #1 plate was up front all day. A two-moto sweep made it easy on the scorekeepers and he now leads Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey in the title race by a growing margin of nine. Dungey finished second on the day with moto scores of 2-3.
The man who beat RV in the East Coast Supercross Lites division, Trey Canard, had a terrible day after spending some time on the ground. He crashed twice in the same corner on the opening lap. The course design funneled riders from the start through the finish-line jump and then off onto the rest of the track, so riders actually tied back in and repeated several corners on the first circuit. Canard dumped it in the second corner and buried his left-side handlebar in the soft soil which prevented him from being able to pull in the clutch. Rather than kill the motor, Canard wasted additional time trying to dig out his bars and get a grip on the lever. By the time he accomplished the task he way, way behind the pack. He then proceeded to tip over again in the same turn just before the finish line. Though small crashes, the double-whammie spelled disaster for the Geico Powersports Honda rider.
Regardless of the popular Honda rider's misfortune, there were two excellent Green/Yellow battles going on inside the top-5 between Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki and Rockstar Makita Suzuki. Austin Stroupe and Dungey went at it through about Lap 12 before Dungey was able to take the runner-up spot on his RM-Z250. Behind them were Brett Metcalfe and Nico Izzi with Metcalfe's Kawi teammate Branden Jesseman loitering around to throw a few punches as well. Metty would eventually end up on top of that one and take Jesseman with him. Boost Mobile Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence was able to split the pair late in the race for fifth at the checkers.
Another podium for Jason Lawrence. If he can keep these together then he might have a shot at the title.
Canard stormed back to 11th thanks in part to a completely bonzai line down the ultra-rough Honda hill where he kept it pinned off the outside line of a step-down triple. Even Villopoto wasn't going that fast through the same section. However, remember what Stewart laid down as his fast lap in the opening 450 moto? Villopoto cranked out a 1:58.7 to start things off which puts him in pretty exclusive company as a Lites rider.
Villopoto lead all 17 laps of the second race as well, which, combined with Stewart's perfect performance, gave Kawasaki 68 laps in the pole position. Behind him during the final moto was the number 338 of Lawrence. The YOT rider sailed to second in the race and third overall. Dungey waged war with Stroupe for several laps before landing third which was enough for second on the day. First-round winner, Stroupe, was fourth while Metcalfe finished fifth.
Villopoto now holds the title lead with Dungey and Stroupe still within striking distance. RV Park admitted that he would like more of a cushion, but there was no doubt that he was satisfied with the day's results.
"This will be the last time I race here on a Lites bike," said Villopoto, "so it's good to get a win."
Motocross Lites Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto, Kaw (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Suz (2-3)
3. Jason Lawrence, Yam (5-2)
4. Austin Stroupe, Kaw (3-4)
5. Brett Metcalfe, Kaw (4-5)
6. Trey Canard, Hon (11-6)
7. Jake Weimer, Hon (7-10)
8. Branden Jesseman, Kaw (6-12)
9. Ryan Sipes, KTM (12-7)
10. Dan Reardon, Hon (15-8)
Motocross Lites Overall Standings:
1. Villopoto, 91
2. Dungey, 82
3. Stroupe, 80
4. Lawrence, 79
5. Metcalfe, 72