In a dream finish to a suspenseful season, Yamaha’s Chad Reed won the 2008 AMA Supercross championship aboard his L&M Racing YZ450F in front of 39,227 fans in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, May 3. Even more dramatically, he came from behind in the main event to win both the race – his ninth of the year – and the title. Now with two AMA Supercross titles and 35 career wins to his credit, Reed rides third on the all-time win list behind Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael. Backing up Reed’s commanding season finale was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Josh Hill, who finished just off the podium in fourth and nailed down fifth in the championship in his rookie year. As an added bonus, Reed’s mechanic Oscar Wirdeman earned the prestigious top-mechanic honors from the AMA.
Reed needed a sixth-place finish in the main event to claim the title even if Windham won the race. And he served notice of his intentions to succeed by setting the quickest practice lap – and then battling aggressively with Windham in their heat race. Thus primed and ready, Reed lined up for the main event with a strategic inside gate pick. But he lost a bike length soon after the gate dropped and arrived at the first turn only in mid-pack with Windham near the front. Windham took the lead on lap four while Reed worked his way forward, getting into second on lap 10 and then into the lead – with a huge roar from the crowd – on lap 14 of 20. From there it was all Yamaha as Reed cranked out a big 6.6-second margin of victory. Befitting such a powerful and emphatic finish, Reed then wasted no time performing a giant celebratory burnout.
“This really is a dream come true,” Reed said appreciatively later. “There have been a few bumps along the way but the ups and the downs are what you work hard for. At times this year I’ve thrown it on the ground, but have been able to get back up on the podium; it’s been an awesome learning year and I’ve learnt that every point counts.” Reed certainly owes his championship to that vision – especially the defining moments in Detroit when he crashed, went to the hospital, and then returned to the track to finish 12th and score needed points. “You have to fight to the end,” he added. “That’s why it’s a championship.”