Preston and Vuillemin Earn Opening Round Victories in Anaheim

After a long off season, some expectationswere not met. The 45,050 sold-out opening round of EA SPORTS Supercross Presented by Speed Stick at Edison International Field saw Travis Preston (125cc) and David Vuillemin (250cc) earn the first two wins of then 2002 season.

Preston, who is from Hesperia, Calif., was a mid-pack starter in the 125cc main event, but came from behind to win his second 125cc Western Regional Supercross race of his career. KTM’s David Pingree earned the Poowerade power shot award in front of Christopher Gosselaar, while Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., left the first corner in 11th place.

“I do not know what to say,” said Preston. “I was just riding smart and everything came together at the end of the race.”

In his first professional race, Stewart, 16, made his way to fifth place by the end of lap three. As he attempted to make his move for the lead throughthe ‘whoops,’ his tire dug in, forcing him over the bars and to the ground. This didn’t upset Stewart’s charge to the podium. Once he re-mounted, he went on to finish second in his first professional supercross race. Gosselaar finished third.

“Tonight, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to,” said Stewart. “I started to come back and then made some mistakes. One minute I was ineighth, then next in fifth. I will be back in San Diego next weekend.”

A string of bad luck ran hindered Travis Pastrana, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael tonight. Pastrana and Carmichael crashed out; Carmichael’s was a little more severe and McGrath had a hard time keeping the bike upright.

Earning the PowerAde Power shot was Team Amsoil/Dr.Martens/Journey’s/Factory Connection Honda’s Michael Byrne, who is from Australia. Behind Byrne was Carmichael in fourth and McGrath close to lastplace as the action started to unfold.

On lap two, Vuillemin passed Byrne for the lead and began to feel the pressure from Mike LaRocco and Carmichael. As Carmichael entered the whoops, he, like Stewart, went flying over the bars, causing LaRocco to go down as well. LaRocco would return to the race and finish second, while Carmichael was forced to watch the race from the sidelines. Ernesto Fonseca finished third.

“I do not want this season to be like last season, ” said Vuillemin. “I think I am out of the slump I was in last year, but it is a long season. Ifyou look at all of the riders in the 250cc class, anyone can win. I just won the first round of the Vans Triple Crown of Supercross and am going forthe $500,000.”

Tonight’s event will air on ABC’s Wide World of Sports tomorrow (January 6)at 3:00 p.m. (EST) and 2:00 p.m. (PST) and on ESPN2 January 12 at Noon.

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125cc Western Regional Supercross Event Standings: Round One, Edison International Field, Anaheim, Calif.1. Travis Preston, Hesperia, Calif., Hon2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kaw3. Christopher Gosselaar, Juniper Hills, Calif., Hon4. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, KTM5. Rodrig Thain, France, Yam6. David Pingree, Temecula, Calif., KTM7. Ivan Tedesco, Albuquerque, N.M., Yam8. Travis Elliot, Alvin, Texas, Hon9. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yam10. Michael Brandes, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suz

125cc Western Regional Supercross Season Standings1. Travis Preston, Hesperia, Calif., Hon, 25 pts2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kaw, 22 pts3. Christopher Gosselaar, Juniper Hills, Calif., Hon, 20 pts4. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, KTM, 18 pts5. Rodrig Thain, France, Yam, 16 pts6. David Pingree, Temecula, Calif., KTM, 15 pts7. Ivan Tedesco, Albuquerque, N.M., Yam, 14 pts8. Travis Elliot, Alvin, Texas, Hon, 13 pts9. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yam, 12 pts10. Michael Brandes, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suz, 11 pts

250cc EA SPORTS Supercross Event Standings: Round One, Edison InternationalField, Anaheim, Calif.1. David Vuillemin, France, Yam2. Mike LaRocco, South Bend, Ind., Hon3. Ernesto Fonseca, Cossta Rica, Hon4. Michael Byrne, Australia, Hon5. Ezra Lusk, Acworth, Ga., Kaw6. Chad Reed, Australia, Yam7. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yam8. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Suz9. Stephane Roncada, Menifee, Calif., Kaw10. Jean Sebastien-Roy, Canada, Hon

250cc EA SPORTS Supercross Season Standings1. David Vuillemin, France, Yam, 25 pts2. Mike LaRocco, South Bend, Ind., Hon, 22 pts3. Ernesto Fonseca, Costa Rica, Hon, 20 pts4. Michael Byrne, Australia, Hon, 18 pts5. Ezra Lusk, Acworth, Ga., Kaw, 16 pts6. Chad Reed, Australia, Yam, 15 pts7. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yam 14 pts8. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Suz, 13 pts9. Stephane Roncada, Menifee, Calif., Kaw, 12 pts10. Jean Sebastien-Roy, Canada, Hon 11 pts