Words by Kinman and Elmo
Anaheim stadium was stacked to the brim, despite the live broadcast on the SPEED Channel (and the current state of the economy, of course), for the opening round of the 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. If, for some reason, you were sleeping under a rock, failing to show to the race or spy it on your television set, it pretty much went down like this…
Photos by Lutes
In the 2009 Lites West Coast series, it’s a who’s who of talent, and the Anaheim crowd was chomping at the bit to get the racing action started. In the first Lites heat race of the evening, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Morais nabbed the holeshot with MDK/KTM’s Justin Brayton close in tow. Just behind them, Ryan Dungey suffered a scary crash before the finish line, going straight over the bars, and was unable to continue. Morais’ teammate, Jake Weimer, found his way around Brayton and eventually moved around Mo for the lead. At the conclusion of the six-lap sprint, Weimer held on for the win with Morais in second and Brayton taking third. Just behind the lead pack, Chris Gosselaar rode strong for a fourth place finish while MotoConcepts Racing’s Jeff Alessi rounded out the top five.
In Lites qualifying heat number two, 2008 Eastern Region Lites SX champ Trey Canard came out with the holeshot and early lead. However, it had to of felt like a practice day at the test track for Canard, as fellow teammate Daniel Reardon was only a few bike lengths behind Canard. Defending West Coast Lites Supercross champion Jason Lawrence sat in the fourth position in the early stages of the heat, but eventually made his way around Chris Blose and Reardon to set his sights on Canard. J-Law wasted no time going after Canard, however, Canard bobbled on lap number four after the first triple, going down in the bowl turn and handing Lawrence the lead and the eventual win. Behind Lawrence, Reardon hung on for second, Canard picked himself up off the ground for third, and Troy Lee Design Honda’s Chris Blose finished fourth.
With 18 spots on the gate already filled, only two more positions were open for those Lites riders who’d yet to qualify. Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey grabbed the holeshot and never looked back; going on to take the win. Taking home the final transfer spot in the Lites LCQ was MDK/KTM’s Ryan Sipes. Meanwhile, new-comer to the professional ranks, Cole Seeley missed the main event by one spot, but was rewarded with a $250 Medic Card check for his endeavors.
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results,
- Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
- Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
- Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda
- Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
- Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM
- Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda
- Ben Evans, Boise, Idaho, Honda
- Chris Gosselaar, Spring Valley Lake, Calif., Kawasaki
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
- Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 25
- Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 22
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 20
- Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda, 18
- Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 16
- Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM, 15
- Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 14
- Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda, 13
- Ben Evans, Boise, Idaho, Honda, 12
- Chris Gosselaar, Spring Valley Lake, Calif., Kawasaki, 11
In the first heat of the much-anticipated Supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto jumped out in front with the holeshot and did not look back; he quickly checked out and sprinted to the checkers. Keeping the dominance of Kawasaki alive, Timmy Ferry yielded a great start and coasted to a solid second-place finish. The surprise of qualifying came from Steve Boniface, who entered Anaheim I at the last minute under the Troy Lee Designs Honda tent; Boniface was able to hold on to a good start and finish fifth behind superstars, RV, Ferry, Short, and Reed.
The second qualifying heat for the 450 pilots started with a surprising holeshot from Bobby Kiniry, but James Stewart gobbled him up within a few corners. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Josh Grant debuted his fresh fo-fiddy by chasing Stewart around the track for the duration of the moto, eventually finishing second, with Davi Millsaps and Kiniry behind him.
Photos by Lutes
LITES MAIN EVENT
With the qualifying a now distant memory, twenty of the best Lites riders in the world lined up to kick off the first West Coast Lites SX main event of 2009. When the gate dropped, Geico Powersports Honda’s Daniel Reardon emerged with the holeshot and early lead. Former teammate to Reardon, Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer was in second place and MDK/KTM’s Justin Brayton in third. While Reardon, Weimer, and Brayton battled for position, Jason Lawrence and Trey Canard found themselves on the ground. Joining Canard and Lawrence with poor luck was Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, who suffered from a bad start.
While Canard, Lawrence, and Dungey were working their way up, Weimer made his move on Reardon to take control of the lead on lap three. While Canard was moving his way through the pack, he again found himself on the ground on lap four. Two laps later, Reardon and Brayton got together on lap six, both losing valuable positions. In the closing stages of the 15-lap main event, Morais capitalized on the mistakes of Reardon and Brayton to move into second place. Though Dungey was able to slice his way through the field to take control of the third place position, defending West Coast Supercross champion Jason Lawrence rode with patience of a true champion, taking his time as he moved his way through the field; eventually finishing fourth on the night.
As the Lites main event dwindled down and the checkered flag waved, Jake Weimer took home his second career Supercross win with Morais close in toe to take home second place, while Dungey rounded out the podium in third.
SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
Although 2009 promised to showcase a ton of talent in the big 450 class, there was relatively little rivalry hype surrounding the stars of the sport. Perhaps there should have been…
Regardless, after the first two heat races, the rivalries made themselves apparent. Chad Reed was clearly on top of his game, as was James Stewart and Ryan VIllopoto. Who was going to take it? Reed? Villopoto? Stewart? How about Josh Grant?
When the gates dropped, Stewart grabbed the holeshot is somewhat unsurprising fashion. Josh Grant quickly made chase with Reedy in third. Reed, however, did not waste any time sparking up some 2009 rivalry. He moved on Grant and maneuvered closer to Stewart. On the second lap, Reed tripled to Stewart’s double, then bounded into a quicker line, looking more like the man he was passing than his usual consistent self. From there, it was on. The two sped into a duel for the lead, Reed holding off the Yamaha pilot for four laps. Everyone watching was thinking the exact same thing: “this is going to be crazy if they can both stay on two wheels.”
And the two did… until Stewart moved back into the lead, and Reed found himself chasing him once again. In a blink of an eye, Reed front wheel and Stewart’s rear wheel met and the two were whipped off their bikes and to the ground. Reed managed to regroup and rejoin the race. Stewart, on the other hand, fell victim to a dead bike, unwilling to fire back up. His race was over, twelve laps before it was supposed to. He stormed off the track, but not before a tenacious Josh Grant had retained the lead.
Grant took advantage, riding precisely and mistake-free for the entirety of the remaining laps. And, if it wasn’t for a wayward track banner, Grant would have sailed to victory in less than dramatic fashion. Instead, the crowd were on their feet watching as Grant finished his last three laps with a banner stuck in his rear wheel. He continued to boost every triple, even though his rear end could seize at any moment. Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short did his best to reel the JGR rider in, but Grant was too far ahead, too precise, and too determined to win. #33 took his first AMA Supercross checkers to the delight of his home crowd.
AMA Supercross Class Results
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
- Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
- Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
- Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
- Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
- Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Honda
- Ben Coisy, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
- Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha
- Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y. Kawasaki
AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 25
- Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 22
- Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 20
- Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki, 18
- Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 16
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 15
- Ben Coisy, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 14
- Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Honda, 13
- Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha, 12
- Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y. Kawasaki, 11