TWMX Race Report: ’04 Houston SX

Reed and Stewart Dominate in Houston

As if there was a doubt in anyone’s mind, James “Bubba” Stewart proved that he is indeed the fastest 125cc rider in the world (or at least on the right-hand side of the United States, for now) by trouncing the competition in runaway fashion Saturday night at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. 250cc points leader Chad Reed also enjoyed a dominant lead of his own as he bested Kevin Windham and Mike LaRocco for yet another win in the premier division.

It was a cold and windy night in South Texas, but Bubba didn’t let the near-freezing temperatures or the pressure of being touted as the favorite to win get in the way of his first Supercross victory since last year. “It felt really good to be back in a stadium,” commented Stewart. “It’s been a long time since I’ve raced Supercross, almost a year now, and I was really excited and nervous.”

Things didn’t start off so easily for James, though. A bent shifter in his qualifier kept him from utilizing any gear but third on his Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki KX125 for the entire first 125cc heat race. Of course, Stewart still holeshot and led the race wire-to-wire, but not without feeling some major pressure from Suzuki rider Steve Boniface early on.

Once the gate dropped on the main event, however, it was clearly time once again for another episode of the Bubba Show. Of course, Stewart’s spectacular ride stole the spotlight, but an impressive ride also came from rookie SX racer Broc Hepler. Forced to run the last chance qualifier due to a heat-race mishap, Hepler came out swinging in the main and grabbed the first East Coast holeshot of the year. Broc actually sat in the top position for over two laps before eventually succumbing to the pressure of Stewart’s #259 machine. Bubba got a mid-pack start and was forced to make his way through the pack, but did so at a blistering pace.

Once out front, Stewart cruised to a relatively easy win, some 22 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Hepler. Of course James was rather excited about the win, and proved so in typical Bubba fashion by doing a little dance for the crowd, including his own version of the “worm,” all of which they ate up.

Finishing in the third position with a very strong and surprising ride was French rider Eric Sorby aboard his Pro Circuit KX125. Sorby was very aggressive, yet smooth as silk on his way to the podium after recovering from a mid-pack start. Another notable ride came from former 125cc National Champ and now privateer Steve Lamson. Lamy showed up at the Reliant Dome riding a Hangtown MX-sponsored CRF250R and rode like a man possessed to finish in the fourth position. Most impressive about Lamson’s ride, though, was the way he knifed through the pack of hungry 125cc youngsters. Lamson gated well outside of the top ten, and was only in the 13th position by the end of lap one. Steve wasted no time getting by slower riders on his way to an eventual fourth-place position when the dust settled.


Rounding out the top-five was Team Solitaire’s Ryan Clark, who pulled double duty and rode both the 125cc and the 250cc class at Houston.


125cc Main Event Results

  1. James Stewart
  2. Broc Hepler
  3. Eric Sorby
  4. Steve Lamson
  5. Ryan Clark
  6. Danny Smith
  7. Brett Metcalfe
  8. Steve Boniface
  9. Ryan Mills
  10. Kelly Smith
  11. Billy Laninovich
  12. Michael Blose
  13. Matthieu Lalloz
  14. Tiger Lacey
  15. Daryl Hurley
  16. Tyson Hadsell
  17. Joshua Woods
  18. Doug DeHaan
  19. Turbo Reif
  20. Hans Neel
  21. Daniel Blair
  22. Shae Bentley

In the 250cc class, it was once again Chad Reed Kevin Windham on top, with birthday boy Mike LaRocco charging through the pack to eventually finish just behind Reed and K-Dub for his fourth ppodium finish of the year in the third spot.

“I’ve really been having some issues and complaining a lot about the tracks this year, but I loved it tonight,” said Reed of the rutty and technical Houston circuit. “I’ve been pretty blunt about my feelings up to this point regarding track layouts, but they really seemed to do a great job with this one. The dirt was great, and I think the ruts helped out the faster guys go even faster because we keep our speed better through them. I haven’t lost a start yet, and everything just seems to be falling into place this year for me.”


Though he faced some pressure early on from Team Red Bull/KTM’s Grant Langston, who was eventually passed on lap three by Kevin Windham, Reed went on to enjoy a fairly comfortable win ahead of series rival and second-place points holder K-Dub.

“I was pretty close and could see Chad for most of the race, but I was just back far enough that I wasn’t ever able to put much pressure on him,” said Windham. “I didn’t get the best of starts, and it took me a little bit of time to get going. By then, Chad had settled into his pace up front.” Windham went on to say that he was looking forward to going out to California in the coming week, as all of the rain has kept him from riding and training like he had wanted to throughout the past week.

Coming from what would be a bad start for most but was considered a good start by him was Mike LaRocco, who ended lap one in sixth position. The Rock made his way past Erick Vallejo and Nick Wey to settle in behind Langston early in the20-lap main, but lap five spelled trouble for Grant as he suffered a serious case of whiskey throttle and careened off of the side of the racetrack and onto the hard concrete floor of the stadium. (Check out Monday Kickstart tomorrow for an update on Grant’s condition.) This brought LaRocco into third with nearly three-quarters of the race to go. Unfortunately for Mike, it was still not enough time to make a serious challenge for the second position that belonged to Windham.


David Vuillemin quietly snuck into the fourth position after he too got off to a slow start and was just outside of the top-10 off the gate. Following Villy to the checkers was Mach One Yamaha’s Heath Voss, who put in an impressive fifth-place finish aboard his big YZF four-stroke.


250cc Main Event Results

  1. Chad Reed
  2. Kevin Windham
  3. Mike LaRocco
  4. David Vuillemin
  5. Heath Voss
  6. Nick Wey
  7. Nathan Ramsey
  8. Sean Hamblin
  9. Michael Byrne
  10. Damon Huffman
  11. Timmy Ferry
  12. Erick Vallejo
  13. Tyler Evans
  14. Jason Thomas
  15. Mike Brown
  16. Robbie Reynard
  17. James Povolny
  18. Andrew Short
  19. Ryan Clark
  20. Grant Langston