Stewart Wraps Up Championship In Dramatic Series Finale

By Michael Antonovich

Photos by Chris Kinman and Donn Maeda

Lites Heat One West Coast
Just like the practice order earlier in the day, the West Coast riders took to the groomed layout first. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Ryan Morais flew into the stadium with the holeshot and looked like the man to beat, but his lead was short lived once he clipped a Tuff Block just before the finish line double. Rockstar/Makita Suzuki and West Coast champion took full advantage of Morais' misfortune to take the lead, with Geico Powersports/Factory Connection Honda's Trey Canard hot on his heels. A battle would never form between the two, but they along with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and West Coast runner up Jake Weimer would go on to gap Muscle Milk/KTM pilot Justin Brayton by over 20 seconds. Behind them, the show was the charge established by Morais to gain a spot in the last main of the season. Morais was a green blur has he tore from last place to fifth, finding the limit on the throttle and launched the fly-away jump past the competition and charged the whoops like a mad man. He would come close to snagging forth away from Brayton, but would run out of time at the flag.
1st Ryan Dungey
2nd Trey Canard
3rd Jake Weimer
4th Justin Brayton
5th Ryan Morais
6th Jake Moss
7th P.J. Larsen
8th Ben Evans
9th Sean Borkenhagen

Lites Heat Two East Coast
Determined to show that he had the speed to beat his teammate and East Coast champ Christophe Pourcel, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki runner up Austin Stroupe came out with the holeshot and the early lead. His teammate Pourcel was behind him trading positions with Geico Powersports/ Factory Connection Honda rookie Blake Wharton. The riders would battle lap after lap, showing the sheer skill both possess, as Pourcel switched up lines in the middle of a run across the whoops and Wharton held off the advances and caused Pourcel to blow an opportunity at the position. That failed chance let Star Racing/Division Seven Yamaha's Matt Lemoine get by and added one more rider for Pourcel to challenge, but the Frenchmen skipped over the whoops right past the teenager and both made moves on Wharton to knock the curly headed Texan to forth. Stroupe held a lead that couldn't be closed in the small time slot, and got the win over his well known East Coast competitors.
1st Austin Stroupe
2nd Christophe Pourcel
3rd Matt Lemoine
4th Blake Wharton
5th Broc Tickle
6th Matt Goerke
7th Wil Hahn
8th Jimmy Albertson
9th Vince Friese
Lites LCQ
Geico Powersports/Factory Honda called Daniel Blair to fill the open spot left by the injured Brett Metcalfe, and the former privateer led the LCQ from the gate drop to the final flag to lock himself into the Shootout. His lead was dwindling when Troy Lee/Red Bull/ Honda's Chris Blose hit the obstacles with good form, but Blose cased a double-double and settled safely for second place. Division Seven/Star Racing Yamaha teammates Darryn Durham and Michael Hall battled for third and the Gas Card, but the two didn't expect Kyle Cunningham and his Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki to breeze by and steal the consolation money away the way he did.
1st Daniel Blair
2nd Chris Blose

Page 1: Lites Qualifying  Page 2: SX Qualifying  Page 3: Lites Main  Page 4: SX Main

Supercross Heat One
After the Lites had established the primary contestants for the main, the full size bikes took to the track for their first rounds of qualifying for the night. As what seemed to be the norm this season, a Rockstar Energy/Makita Suzuki was the first bike down the chute ahead of the pack. But this time it was defending champion Chad Reed leading his holeshot powerhouse teammate of Mike Alessi. "Secret Weapon 800" had his hands full with Geico Powersports/Factory Connection Honda veteran Kevin Windham, as the two jockeyed for position over the three quick stutter bumps, the following ski jumps, and in the whoops where Windham would make his pass stick. Alessi's problems on the track seemed to come in the second whoop section; a place the Outdoor title contender had troubles with all night. Red Bull Honda's Andrew Short used his speed over Alessi in the section to shorten the lead MA had over Short. Short's teammate Davi Millsaps would also see firsthand Alessi's small bobbles, but he would lose a position to JGR Yamaha's Nate Ramsey instead of steal Alessi's. Millsaps made moves to reclaim the spots he had previously lost, and the use his remaining speed to jet past Short for third. Reed flew under the Monster Energy scaffolding nearly 13 seconds ahead of 2nd place Windham, and then grabbed a spot to watch the riders in the second heat, namely rival James Stewart.
1st Chad Reed
2nd Kevin Windham
3rd Davi Millsaps
4th Andrew Short
5th Nathan Ramsey
6th Mike Alessi
7th Tommy Hahn
8th Tyler Bowers
9th Nick Wey

Supercross Heat Two
The second heat saw a the neon streak of Ivan Tedesco of his Red Bull Honda and one-off Fox Racing apparel lead Monster Energy/Kawasaki and recent race winner Ryan Villopoto, US Air Force/Mastercraft  privateer Heath Voss, and San Manuel Band Of Mission Indians Yamaha's main man James Stewart over numerous sections, until Stewart got by for first. RV didn't take the pass lightly and stalked Stewart like he was a prize trophy animal, but would settle for second after clipping the double-double and losing a minuscule amount of forward drive. Tedesco was being pressured by JGR Yamaha rider Josh Grant, who was hell bent on making passes, no matter how squirrelly yet in control he may have looked. Grant's little incidents were nothing compared to the embarrassment Hart and Huntington Honda rider Troy Adams had, whose pants were yanked down after clipping the section right in front of the mechanics. Troy may not have realized it, but him scurrying off the track grasping at his pants made the big screen multiple times.
1st James Stewart
2nd Ryan Villopoto
3rd Josh Grant
4th Ivan Tedesco
5th Heath Voss
6th Matt Boni
7th Jesse Casillas
8th Paul Carpenter
9th Jason Thomas

Supercross LCQ
The last chance to make it into the final main of the year can become the most important race of the year. And for the few laps the riders had to make their moves, they showed the heart it takes just to get a pro license. Monster Energy/Cernic's Kawasaki Robert Kiniry led every second of the race, but behind him a small, quick duel was brewing. Brad Ripple and X Games gold medalist Kevin Johnson on his Team Faith/Fly Yamaha knew that second place was the only way they could make it to the main. But with some hometown desire, SVM/MDK's and Las Vegas' own Kyle Partridge let it all hang out, and rode past Ripple and Johnson for the last spot in the main event.
1st Robert Kiniry
2nd Kyle Partridge

Page 1: Lites Qualifying  Page 2: SX Qualifying  Page 3: Lites Main  Page 4: SX Main

Lites Main
When the best young riders in the Supercross world came to the gate for the Dave Coombs East-West Shootout, each person on the line knew the pressure and payout winning the fabled race comes with. After a quick sighting lap, the sound of 250cc engines at peak rev and the explosion of fireworks echoed in the Nevada desert air to usher in the last main of the Supercross Lites season. Down the grass straightaway and into the packed stadium, Blake Wharton used all the power his Pro Circuit modified Honda had to take the holeshot and led for lap one. His teammate and former East coast champion Trey Canard watched his every move, and just behind him the man who took Canard's vacant title spot Christophe Pourcel did the exact same. "Treynard" got a stronger run than Wharton in the whoops and grabbed the lead away, and Pourcel looked to do the same until a slight mistake re-opened the gap. Pourcel got past in the sweeper turn that mimicked a TT style track, and would chase the Honda mounted Canard until the waning laps. Wharton would continue to drop back in the field, allowing Jake Moss and West Coast number one Ryan Dungey to take his positions. Dungey then passed Moss for third and annihilated the massive space Canard and Pourcel accumulated. The trio did battle with each other and the track itself, and each rider hiccupped time and time again. Trey's mistake would cost him the lead, and Pourcel and Dungey literally jumped past and away from the sophomore contender. The top two were so focused on the task at hand that not even a stray Tuff Block knocked onto the track by a course worker would cause them to lose time. The battle came to the last lap, with RD10 pushing Pourcel to a narrow win margin of .419 seconds. The streak of a newly crowned champion unable to win was forgotten as soon as Christophe jumped in the driver's seat of his Toyota Tundra trophy and revved the engine.

[gallery-5802]

Results
1st Christophe Pourcel
2nd Ryan Dungey
3rd Trey Canard
4th Jake Weimer
5th Austin Stroupe
6th Ryan Morais
7th Justin Brayton
8th Jake Moss
9th Wil Hahn
10th Broc Tickle
11th Blake Wharton
12th Daniel Blair
13th Chris Blose
14th P.J. Larsen
15th Jimmy Albertson
16th Ben Evans
17th Sean Borkenhagen
18th Vince Friese
19th Matt Lemoine
20th Matt Goerke

Page 1: Lites Qualifying  Page 2: SX Qualifying  Page 3: Lites Main  Page 4: SX Main

Supercross Main Event

From the first gate drop at Anaheim back in January until the checkered flag and championship presentation this weekend, the 2009 series was the material of legends. We could flash back and recall the controversy and drama, but this weekend none of it mattered. The reason for the sold out crowd and live TV coverage was the championship chase had to come the final round once again, and the hype was at level eleven. After touching up a few small track areas, the race surface was ready for twenty non-stop laps of action, and while it wasn't the epic battle many had called for, it had its share of excitement and celebration.
Week-in and week-out, Mike Alessi shows he may have a future inside a Top Fuel drag car once this motocross game is finished, and this week was no different. He had the entire roster chase him into the confines of the Sam Boyd stadium, but his whoop speed again allowed riders such as James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto to get around him. Stewart, who came into the night six points ahead of Chad Reed, knew he had put himself in position to clinch the title, and knew it was best to let Ryan Villopoto get in the lead instead of risking a block pass to end his title chances. Alessi didn't even let teammate Reed have it that easy, and raced towards him in an attempt to regain his third place, though Reed won that battle. Alessi would later find someone else to trade passes with, in the means of Andrew Short. Shorty put his "smiling assassin" reputation to work by squaring up the small hairpin and going right across Mike's intended line. Alessi found the brakes during the incident, but retaliated towards the end of the race and cleaned out Short in cold blood. Short was visibly furious and stormed back to the pits after the race's end. The contact didn't stop there, though. Chad Reed pecked away at Stewart's gap over him and attempted to use his front wheel to direct James for an up close look at the Tuff Block lining the sweeper. Stewart kept his Yamaha up and never made a run against Reed, knowing the entire time he would hold the number one plate in just a few short laps. Ryan Villopoto stormed away and won in convincing fashion, sealing the season with two race wins to his name, which is coming just after an illness sidelined him for numerous weeks. Chad Reed and James Stewart finished second and third, respectively, and both are now looking at the summer months and time off ahead of them.


Results
1st Ryan Villopoto
2nd Chad Reed
3rd James Stewart
4th Kevin Windham
5th Ivan Tedesco
6th Mike Alessi
7th Josh Grant
8th Andrew Short
9th Nathan Ramsey
10th Davi Millsaps
11th Jason Thomas
12th Nick Wey
13th Paul Carpenter
14th Matt Boni
15th Jesse Casillas
16th Robert Kiniry
17th Kyle Partridge
18th Tommy Hahn
19th Tyler Bowers
20th Heath Voss

Page 1: Lites Qualifying  Page 2: SX Qualifying  Page 3: Lites Main  Page 4: SX Main