Monday Kickstart – Seattle SX 2012

The 15th round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series has came and went, and here’s what went down in Seattle, Washington.

Photos by Jeff Kardas and Jordan Powell
Words by Michael Antonovich and Jordan Powell

Thor created these, uh, interesting Ryan Villopoto masks for his hometown race.

Weeks off the bike after a shoulder separation made Ryan Sipes' win in Seattle that much sweeter. As Eli Tomac and Dean Wilson battled for the runner up spot, Sipes motored away to an uncontested win.

Sipes' mechanic, Scott Adkins, was just as thrilled with the victory as his rider was.

By now you are well aware of Andrew Short's victory, the first of Supercross main event win of his career. Short led from the start, as he edged Ryan Dungey for the holeshot and held off Ken Roczen's numerous attempts to overtake the position. The win comes in the midst of a turbulent time for the team, as the have recently lost their title sponsor and Short comes off of injury. The team was pitted under the Factory Honda awning and wore Fly Racing crew shirts instead of custom printed garb.

No caption is needed, this photo sums up Short's emotions perfectly.

Moments after Short crossed the finish line, his support staff swarmed the track to celebrate. Short has been aboard a factory Honda CRF 450R all season, and gave the brand its first win of the year since LA.

After being teammates on Red Bull KTM last season, Andrew Short and Ken Roczen became close friends. The two led the entire main event and exchanged numerous passes before Short slipped away. They were the first to celebrate on the starting straightaway after the final flag flew. Off the podium, Roczen stated "I am more excited for Short than I am for myself."

 

Nick Wey was uncharacteristically aggressive in Seattle, as he made contact with both Jimmy Albertson and Gavin Faith in the heat race.

Wey and Gavin Faith tangled after contact, as Faith's foot was trapped in-between Wey's rear wheel and fender. After the two dislodged, both exchanged words and lined up for the LCQ, with Wey transferring to the main event after a second place finish.

Seattle marked Gavin Faith's first race aboard James Stewart's vacant JGR Yamaha. This is the second time this season Faith as filled in for an injured rider, as he spent the early part of the West Coast aboard a GEICO Powersports Honda after Wil Hahn's hip injury.

Brett Metcalfe's main event came to an early end after the exhaust on his Yoshimura Suzuki was pinched. The Suzuki rider failed to complete a lap and was scored 20th.

A closer look at Metcalfe's header.

It seems that once opening ceremonies end every week, it becomes Ryan Villpoto's duty to rid the starting area of debris. This year's soil in Seattle was an improvement when compared to year's past and did not deteriorate as badly.

In all of this year's pre-season hype, no one could have predicted that Davi Millsaps would be second overall in points with only two rounds to go. The JGR rider is currently locked in battle with Justin Brayton for the ranking and leads the American Honda Muscle Milk rider by three points.

Chad Reed was on hand in Seattle to assist in the live television broadcast. Reed's insight and commentary offers a nice perspective into what it is like for the racers, and he quickly calls out on a racer's line or technique on the track.

Josh Hill also considers Seattle to be his home. While being interviewed in the opening ceremonies, he commented that he will sit out the rest of the Supecross season after an arm injury and will return next year. Hill crashed as he prepared for a Houston return while exiting the test track.

Ryan Dungey returned to the series after sitting out five rounds with a broken collarbone. It was obvious that the KTM rider had limited time aboard the bike since St. Louis, as he failed to qualify in the top five and finished sixth after clipping Justin Brayton's rear wheel in the main event.

Rain pelted the open air Centurylink Field early in the week, which had many questioning how the track would fair. Dirt Wurx finished the track by midweek and covered it to protect it from any additional precipitation. The day's schedule was still altered after the rain, as the open practice was clipped and the two timed practice sessions were moved to 1:45PM.

Travis Baker and Cole Seely sported these Adidas inspired lids that Troy Lee painted for the weekend. The sporting wear giant has been a sponsor of the team for two seasons and is based out of Oregon.

Billy Laninovich's comeback season continued in Seattle, as the privateer finished eighth in the main event, ahead of more supported and younger competition. "Lano" is currently 10th in the point standings.

 

Many teams and racers, including Justin Brayton, wore Seahawks inspired gear throughout the day and in the main event. We are far from football fans, but you should check out the team's uniforms. The gloves look straight out of the DEFT catalog.

David Vuillemin has become a coach to many racers this season, including both Nick Wey and Nick Paluzzi. Wey noted that he admired DV12's training during the Frenchman's career.

Track walk was pushed back a few hours from its normal midmorning time slot due to the week's rain. A solid and dry track was revealed once the tarps were pulled away.

The pit area in Seattle is located in the heart of scenic downtown. Clear skies and pleasant weather drew high attendance numbers to the day time activities.

Fans came out in droves to the pit party, thanks to the clear skies. The early forecasts called for more rain on Saturday, but it was clearly absent.

Because the day's normal routine was shifted, the rider's meeting took place outside the AMA rig, instead of on the podium after track walk.

Though it has been years since he has competed professional, it is typical for Roger Decoster to sign just as many autographs as the riders he manages. Decoster even had his own area for photos in the KTM pit.

 

GEICO Powersports Honda displayed Justin Barcia's East Coast Lites Championship winning bikes in their pit area on Saturday. After Eli Tomac's second place finish, the team owns the red backgrounds in the small bore division.

After initially rejecting the offer, Tyler Bowers has become a fill-in racer for the Hart and Huntington team. Seeing Bowers on a Kawasaki while clad in Shift gear is reminiscent of his amateur days. Bowers bested teammate Kyle Regal for 16th in the main event.

After finishing the majority of the East Coast Lites series, Ken Roczen stepped up to the 450 class aboard a KTM SX-F 350. Roczen was near the front of the field almost instantly, as he finished fourth fastest, finished second to Villopoto in his heat, and second to Short in the feature.

The MotoConcepts team didn't hesitate when it came to adding fuel to the James Stewart/JGR rumor fire. The team wheeled out a bike with Stewart's number 7 on Friday, and the internet quickly speculated as to why. Many stated that it was a nod to Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, as the graphics were Seahawks inspired, but team owner Mike Genova commented that "there is a place here for Stewart."

Seeing old bikes, like this Chesterfield Yamaha replica, remind us how trick bikes were in the past, as well as the recent gains in technology.

 

Bryce Vallee was seriously injured during our Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series a few weeks back at Pala Raceway, and he's now on a long road to recovery. Travis Baker, who is best friends with B-Val, ran a Vallee 90 sticker on his helmet over the weekend to help support his buddy. "Bryce Vallee is still in the hospital, and since he can't ride, he can ride with me."

Another look at T-Bake's lid…

Dodge Motorsports/Hart & Huntington/Bel-Ray/Kawasaki's Josh Hill was in attendance at Seattle Supercross, but it will be some time before you'll see him back on a bike. Hill was ejected from his bike at the Kawasaki test track when his glove actually got stuck on the throttle, and that basically made him whiskey throttle off of a berm. "It was a weird, freak accident. After the crash, I knew something was wrong with my elbow, and the x-rays confirmed that I had a small fracture in it. As you can see, though, I'm not in a cast, and it doesn't bother me to move my arm around. However, it's enough to keep me off my bike. I'm bummed, and I'll be out for a little while longer."

After spending the last three races aboard a Muscle Milk American Honda CRF450R, Wil Hahn made the return back to his familiar Geico Honda CRF250R. Wilbur said that the opportunity was a great experience for him, but he also looked forward to getting back on the gate for the West Coast. Hahn went on to finish the night in fifth.

 

Track walks give the riders the opportunity to check out numerous things on the track: lines, jumps, terrain, and so on. Sometimes the riders like what they see, and sometimes they don't. When the latter happens, the Dirt Wurx crew is usually open to some suggestions, and we're guessing this is why this double was tamed down.

Neck braces are starting to disappear from the pro pits, but Ryan Sipes is a true believer in his Leatt neck brace. While the Star/Valli rider was preparing for San Diego Supercross, he pile-drove his head straight into the ground at Lapaglia's SX track. After the dust settled, he suffered from a stage four AC shoulder separation, but there wasn't any damage to his neck or spine. "There's no doubt the brace saved me from a serious injury to my neck or spine, and I'll definitely keep wearing a brace."

Since Seattle Supercross serves as MotoConcepts hometown race, they go all out. Team owner Mike Genova is also a huge Seattle Seahawks fan, and all of the MCR bikes were outfitted with these awesome graphics.