After just two rounds, the complexion of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series has changed dramatically from where it appeared to being going into Anaheim 1. Two of the preseason favorites – Chad Reed
and Josh Grant – are already on the sidelines with injuries, a rookie is leading the points standings, and the defending series champ James Stewart
sits seventh in the series standings after crashing twice at the Phoenix round.
Rockstar Suzuki's Roger DeCoster and Ryan Dungey after Dungey's win in Phoenix.
First of all, it might be unfair to call Suzuki's
Ryan Dungey a 450-class rookie since he raced last year’s Minneapolis Supercross in the 450 class, and then led Team USA at the Motocross des Nations on a 450, but for his first full season in the class, the Minnesota native has been pretty impressive. In fact, he’s made Roger DeCoster look like a genius for signing an unheralded intermediate rider right out of the amateur ranks pretty much based on attitude and work ethic alone. In Phoenix, Dungey looked like a seasoned veteran. And it would’ve been interesting to see if Stewart could have even put a dent in Dungey’s lead, had he not tangled with Reed and gone down on the fifth lap of the race.
According to DeCoster, Dungey doesn’t seem to be intimidated by the veterans in the class. “Ryan came into this year and he gave us the feeling he belonged here,” said DeCoster. “He didn’t look like a newcomer in the class, and that’s not so easy to do when you have to go up against guys like Stewart and Chad and (Ryan) Villopoto.”
Speaking of the incident between Reed and Stewart, there’s been much said on the Internet about that it, but the bottom line is that Reed will miss a few rounds with a broken hand, while Stewart sits in much the same situation he was in
Stewart (top) and Reed (bottom) came together and the end result was a 15th for JS and a broken hand and DNF for Reed.
last year, needing to make up a deficit in the points standings.
The Cliffs Notes version of the episode was that Stewart came down too tightly in a turn and collided with Reed, who was going up the inside and trying to pass. The two riders went down, with Reed’s hand getting trapped underneath Stewart. The Monster Kawasaki
rider was partially underneath Stewart and pushed him in an attempt to get up. Both riders remounted and joined the race, although Reed later pulled off after he realized his hand was hurt.
“I was going down the inside and he was on the outside and he turned down really fast and I had nowhere to go. We collided and I broke my hand,” said Reed.
The incident spilled over into the pits, where Stewart went to the Kawasaki pits and pushed Reed’s bike off the stand. According to AMA Deputy Director of Racing, Kevin Crowther, both Reed and Stewart were warned by the AMA for their parts in the occurrences.
“The Race Director levied a penalty against Reed,” said Crowther. “It was a one-race suspension and a $5000 fine for the actions on the racetrack (pushing Stewart off of him). Kawasaki officially appealed the ruling within the allotted 30 minutes and at that point it was turned over to the two stewards who did their investigation. The stewards found that due to the injury, as far as the incident on the racetrack, nothing was done (by Reed) with any intent. So they ruled to overturn the penalty.”
Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Jake Weimer (12) is on a roll.
As far as the incident with Stewart pushing Reed’s bike off the stand, Crowther said that it was also investigated by the Race Director and only a warning was issued to Stewart, based on Stewart’s history of having a clean record.
As for Josh Grant
, he underwent surgery to repair his shoulder the day before the Phoenix, and was watching the race from the sidelines. “Josh got his labrum repaired and the surgery went well,” said JGRMX team manager Coy Gibbs. “The surgery actually went longer than expected, but it went well. It usually takes six to eight weeks to recover for that type of injury – six weeks at best. I want to see him healthy, and get him already to go for the end of Supercross and outdoors.”
In comparison, the Lites class has been pretty quiet, other than the fact that a clear order has been established, with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer taking the edge over Rockstar Suzuki Canidae Motosports’ Ryan Morais, while GEICO Powersports Honda riders Trey Canard and Blake Wharton follow closely in pursuit.
The Dunlop crew working overtime servicing all thier new clients which include Kawasaki, Rockstar Makita Suzuki, San Manuel Yamaha and JGRMX..
Canard had a scare during his heat race when another rider hit him in the side of the foot. At first Canard thought he had broken his ankle and he pulled off the track to check it out. However, a call to his mother, Keri, on Monday morning revealed that he had only bruised his Achilles tendon and he’ll be fine for Anaheim 2.
Around the pits, the Dunlop crew has been working overtime during the first two rounds, servicing all the new teams they picked up when Bridgestone and Pirelli pulled out of Supercross. Teams moving to Dunlop for 2010 include San Manuel Yamaha, Rockstar Makita Suzuki and Kawasaki, which makes for a lot of tires to change. Next week, at A2, if the weather reports hold up and it ends up being wet, you can be sure the Dunlop crew will be extra busy changing various mud-tire combinations.