Jason Lawrence Wins AMA Supercross Lites West Championship

The Seattle, Wash. round of the 2008 AMA Supercross season was a fantastic one for Yamaha as Jason Lawrence claimed the Lites West championship on his YZ250F and Chad Reed moved within one race of winning the Supercross title on his YZ450F at Qwest Field on Saturday night, April 26. Lawrence’s first pro championship also gave Yamaha its first Supercross Lites title since Reed won it in 2002. Then in the Supercross main event, Reed rode to a spectacular second place despite falling in the first turn. With a 10-point lead over Kevin Windham in the standings, he now heads to the Las Vegas season-ender on May 3 hoping to claim his second AMA Supercross title. (On May 4, CBS Sports will air a 2008 Supercross season recap at 12 PM Eastern, while SPEED will broadcast the Las Vegas event at 6 PM Eastern.)

With a slender six-point lead over Ryan Dungey going into the Lites West finale, Lawrence needed a podium finish to clinch the championship for himself and for Yamaha of Troy. Lawrence started the 15-lap race in fourth, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Broc Hepler, returning from a thumb injury early in the season, right behind. He moved into second behind Dungey on lap five and rode smart and steady in that position to secure the championship. Hepler likewise did a great job by passing Brett Metcalfe for the final podium position near the end of the race to put two Yamaha YZs on the podium. “I am glad to see Jason achieve his goal by winning the championship,” said Supercross team manager Jim Perry. “It was an awesome season for the entire Yamaha of Troy team.”

The 20-lap Supercross final was among the most dramatic of the year. Riding well despite a cracked shoulder blade, Reed won his heat race and got to the first turn near the inside – right where he wanted to be. But the gravelly surface caught him out and he landed on the ground with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Josh Hill also involved. While Hill quickly recovered, the L&M Racing star had to get up, right his bike and then speed after the pack. With the championship on the line Reed passed rider after rider as rival Windham also suffered a misfortune while leading – snagging a tough-block cover and then having to stop to pull it off his machine. Windham regained the lead on lap 18 but by then Reed had charged to fourth – and then rode dramatically into second on the last lap. “I think that Chad put in probably one of his best rides of the season,” Perry added. “Coming from lying on the ground in the first corner and fighting back to finish second, just a few seconds behind Windham, was truly incredible.”