Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Lusk finishes fourth in 250 class in Anaheim
Anaheim Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart came into Saturday night’s THQ AMA Supercross race at Edison Field in Anaheim needing a victory to take over sole possession of first place in the 125 class. Also on Stewart’s mind was ending his winless streak in the previous four races held at the popular Southern California venue.
The 17-year-old rider finally rode his Kawasaki KX125 into winner’s circle and completed both tasks at Edison Field with an impressive wire-to-wire victory before a near-capacity crowd of 44,732.
Stewart has been fast at Anaheim in his first four visits but has been hampered by poor starts, crashes and some bad luck. On this night, he would leave all of that behind as he put in a near-flawless performance. He started the evening off with a runaway win in his heat race and entered the 15-lap main event with the confidence of last week’s win.
He jumped off the gate well and was pushing hard on the inside as a group of riders entered the first turn. Stewart slid along the inside of holeshot winner Billy Laninovich and blew past him in the rhythm section. Stewart was literally gone from that point, as he stretched his lead with each lap en route to the win.
“I knew once I got out front the race could be won if I stayed up,” said Stewart in the post-race press conference. “It was just that first corner (referring to the first turn of the main event, where he has had troubles at Anaheim in the past). My Kawasaki got me off to a great start. I pulled the holeshot in the main but I didn’t get the thousand bucks, but it’s better than crashing like I did last year.
“I was out front after the first 100 feet so it was a good race. I had a good heat race, but for the start of the main I was nervous, I was fidgeting and stuff. Now, next time I come here I will be calm. I treat this like my hometown race I am out in California so much. It’s funny, someone asked me where I live and I had to think a little bit, um, Florida.
I got used to being out here (in California) so much it feels like home.
When I got out front that was the first time I led here at Anaheim, so I got 15 laps out of it.”
Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks riders Matt Walker and Eric Sorby finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Sorby was running second for the first five laps, but got into some heated battles with a couple of riders, including Travis Preston, and wound up crashing out of contention.
Stewart now holds a 10-point advantage over Preston in the standings, 72 to 62. Walker sits in seventh place with 34 points, and Sorby is 12th with 23.
Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Ezra Lusk turned in another strong ride in the 250 class aboard his all-new Kawasaki KX250. Fresh off his win last week in Phoenix, Lusk was looking to continue charge toward the top of the point standings and started the evening off with a gritty performance in the heat race that resulted in a tough win over Chad Reed. Lusk won in a similar heat race battle with Reed last week in Phoenix.
In the main event, Lusk got off to a good start and was running in third place at the end of the first lap. He stayed close to the leaders but couldn’t gain much ground on Ricky Carmichael and Sebastien Tortelli, who were running in first and second, respectively. On Lap 17, Lusk finally got around Tortelli, as did Mike LaRocco, and he set his sights on Carmichael.
Lusk got passed by LaRocco a lap later and was on his way to a third place finish before a last lap crash in the long whoop section dropped him back one spot to finish fourth. Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks rider Mike Brown finished 10th.
Lusk moves into third place in the standings with 58 points. Carmichael leads Reed by three points, 65 to 62.
The THQ AMA Supercross Series makes its inaugural visit to San Francisco this Saturday (Jan. 25) for the fourth round event at Pacbell Park.