This excitement and suspense continues to build as the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross Series leaves Salt Lake City, Utah, and heads to the final round in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The University of Utah's Rice-Eccles stadium attracted a big crowd despite the unruly weather conditions. Compared to last year, though, Saturday night's weather was significantly better compared to the sleet and rain.
While this wasn't the first stop to see some snow during the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross season, this was the first race where the track was exposed to these conditions.
There was so much snow that someone even took the time to build this snowman.
The Dirt Wurx crew had the track under control, though. When we took a look at the track on Friday before the race, we have to admit that we were pretty skeptical about the conditions of the track. Once the plastic was removed on Saturday, however, many were quite surprised to see what was underneath: a dry track. The Dirt Wurx crew once again pulled off another great track given the conditions.
Heading into the 16th stop on the Monster Energy Supercross series, Ryan Villopoto only had a six point difference between him and Chad Reed. However, that would all change at the Rice-Eccles Stadium…
Ken Roczen has been overseas racing the World Grand Prix Championship for the past few weeks, but he made the trip back over to the States to race in SLC. With a second place finish, he shook things up a bit in the series points chase. You can also expect to see Roczen this weekend in Las Vegas.
Usually rider meetings are held on the track on the morning of the race, but in order for the Dirt Wurx crew to take care of the track, everyone was forced under the AMA semi.
Rider meetings are never very entertaining and this little guy was in the process of building another snowman to kill some time. Or maybe he was making a snowball to throw at someone.
It was a tough night for Mike Alessi. While in 12th place after the first lap, he took a hard crash going around a right handed turn after the whoops. He was sitting off the track for a while holding his head, but he eventually got back up and got on his bike. However, the crash damaged his bike to the point where it was unsafe to ride, and he took a DNF.
Guess Big James was trying to figure it out, too.
During the qualifiers, we spotted Chad Reed with a butt patch that read "Tate #1." Reed's son, Tate, turned one over the weekend, and the whole family was there to celebrate it.
They even decorated underneath the team semi…
It was a couple weeks ago when Geico Honda's Eli Tomac left the Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington, with a seven place difference between him a Broc Tickle. Fast forward to SLC and he now is sitting in second place with only a two point separation between him and Tickle.
The Supercross track at the Rice-Eccles stadium was tight and short compared to most of the races this season, and it also only had one triple, which a lot of riders thought was odd.
DC's BMX team took over the pits on Saturday, and they put on four demos for the fans. With only one ramp and one rail, they had a crowd packed around them to watch. Pictured here is DC's Kelly Bolton.
With both Jarred Browne and Jeff Alessi out due to injuries, Weston Peick's bike was the only bike sitting underneath the Rock River Yamaha tent.
James Stewart was the fastest man all day long, and it looked like he was going to continue his winning streak in Utah. While he was leading the main, though, he slid out in a corner before the whoops, and then he crashed again going through the whoops. He managed to finish the race in 10th, but he is now 23 points away from first.
The whoops were one of the most talked about obstacles Saturday night. What made the whoops different from all of the other rounds was that there was a big gap in between the set about halfway through. While most guys were jumping through them, some of the faster riders were trying to bridge that gap by blitzing through them.
A lot of mechanics prepped the bikes for a mud race, even though there wasn't a lot of mud on the track.
While most riders are trying to put together some lines in their head during the track walk, Kevin Windham looks for where he's going to transfer.
Located in Park City, Utah, Skullcandy came out big for their home state race, and they hooked up a lot of their riders with some custom gear. The Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team sported these "SLC" butt patches.
You really can't go wrong with a Red Bull custom painted helmet, but Ken Roczen's definitely stood out in Salt Lake.
After about a three month hiatus, due to a badly broken arm, Jake Weimer made his return to the 2011 Supercross season. For his first race back on a 450, Weimer's speed matched a lot of the top guys in the premier class, and he went on to finish the night in seventh.
Snow flurries were going on and off throughout the day, but at one point the snow was coming down so hard that the flakes were clearly visible.
The night started off on a good note for DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha's Nick Paluzzi when he finished fifth in his heat race. Once he got into the main, though, he crashed hard while he was mid-pack in the race. By the time he got his bike started, he was already a lap down, and he finished last.
To add to the list of the cool stuff being auctioned off for Ian Trettel, this surfboard was signed by a lot of riders, which would make for some cool memorabilia for any enthusiast. Plus, it's helping out a good cause.
Doc G has been Hansen's go to guy during his injury. While it looked like Hansen was starting to get back up to speed throughout the night, and crash in the main cost him a lot of points in the series. With a 13th place finish, Hanny is now sitting third in the series. With one stop left, anything could happen, which has been proved all season long.
"321" is now back to "32"
With the freezing cold temperatures, heaters were used to keep the riders and crew members warm while underneath their tent.
As soon as the qualifying is over, and as soon as the pits shut down at 6, race teams immediately start tearing down their pit areas.
Last week, Chickle (Broc's chick) was out at the Ian Trettle Ride Day selling cupcakes, this week she staying with the theme by wearing a cupcake beanie.
A couple times this season, Rockstar Suzuki's Martin Davalos has found himself at the top of the Monster Tower during qualifying, and the same thing happened at round 16 when he posted a fastest lap time of a 44.2. However, he went on to finish the night in eighth place.
Rockstar Suzuki's Ryan Morais started the night off right by winning his heat race, but he finished 7th in the main event. During his heat race win interview, Morais went on to say that this is his last year in the Lites class, and he wants to get a win before he moves up.
Not only was Eli Tomac the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award winner, he also led the 15-lap main event from start to finish.
Ryan Villopoto's victory Saturday was a lot to celebrate for. First, he hasn't had a win for five races. Second, he gained some much needed points coming into the final round. So, once RV came across the finish line, the whole Kawasaki team was full of hugs to celebrate the win in SLC.
James Stewart was also the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award winner, but he was nowhere to be found after the race.
See you this weekend at the final round of the 2011 AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series!