By Jody Weisel
James Stewart likes to win, but at this stage of his career he wants titles over victories because Championships last forever—wins disappear in exactly seven days.
(1) SINKING IN: For the average motorcycle racer winning is a joyous occasion, but for superstars like James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey and Chad Reed, the thrill of that single night of glory has been replaced with a desire to be remember. Or, more likely a fear of being forgotten…and it happens all the time. Need examples? Have you given much thought to Steve Lamson, George Holland, Grant Langston, Jeff Stanton, Rick Burgett or Darrell Schultz lately? They were all Champions in their time. Although not forgotten—they aren’t really remembered. Winning races is nice, but the record book is reserved for Championship winners—and even guys with four, five or six titles aren’t spoken of with reverence a few years after they retire. Thus, James Stewart is happy to win races, but that wistful look in his eyes is because he wants to win Championships. He may be the fastest rider on the planet, but all the record book shows is that he hasn’t won a title since 2009.
“THERE IS NO RUSH RIGHT NOW FOR ME,” SAYS JAMES STEWART
AS THEY PULLED OFF THE TRACK WESTON PULLED ONE OF THOSE KYLE BUSCH “BUSH LEAGUE” MOVES WHERE YOU RUB UP AGAINST THE OTHER GUY’S CAR AS HE TRIES TO GET BACK TO THE PITS.
Weston rides hard, but when the races are over the hard men mellow out.
(2) THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP: Weston Peick has a loyal following. They raise money for him, haunt the internet demanding that he get a factory ride and root for him no matter what happens. Well, what happened in St. Louis is that Justin Barcia made a perfect block pass on Weston in Heat 1 (not nice, but no contact) and, as they pulled off the track, Weston pulled one of those Kyle Busch “Bush League” moves where you rub up against the other guy’s car as he tries to get back to the pits. Nobody likes it when Kyle Busch does it and there is no reason why anyone should like it when Weston Peick does it (even though Barcia is more like Kyle Busch than Weston is when it comes to riding style). As for Weston’s season, Weston has four decent races (two 5th and two 7th), but he has also had mechanical issues and crashes galore. In fact, Weston scored last place points in four races, didn’t race in the Daytona main and only has 6 top tens out of 13 races. To be on the factory team’s short list, you have to beat factory riders every time the gate drops—not all of them, but some of them all the time.
“WANNA WIN BAD,” SAYS JUSTIN BARCIA
WE HAVE NO IDEA IF THE INJURY RATE IS GREATER IN 2014 THAN IT WAS IN 2013, 2012, 2011 OR 1976, BUT WE DO KNOW THAT THE “PERFECT STORM” SCENARIO NORMALLY ONLY LASTS UNTIL OPENING CEREMONIES AT ROUND ONE BEFORE THE RIDERS START FALLING LIKE FLIES.
Wil Hahn (23) will probably miss most of the 2014 season.
(3) WHERE THERE’S A WIL: We have no idea if the injury rate is greater in 2014 than it was in 2013, 2012, 2011 or 1976, but we do know that the “Perfect Storm” scenario normally only lasts until opening ceremonies at round one before the riders start falling like flies. This week the 450 class lost Geico Honda’s Wil Hahn to an acrobatic, but violent crash in the rhythm section. Wil lay motionless for some time before being picked up and sat down in the Mule. We would have thought that his crash and condition suggested a back board and neck brace, but it wasn’t discovered until he got to the hospital that he had a “Broke collarbone, Humerus in 4 places, fracture at the base of skull. Stable and heading out west for surgery. Good spirits.”
WIL HAHN’S ST. LOUIS CRASH
IF THE RACE IS 95% OVER THE RACE IS SCORED AS IT STOOD AT THE RED FLAG. ONE QUESTION? WHAT IS 95 PERCENT OF SIX LAPS. THE ANSWER IS 5.7 LAPS.
(4) RED FLAG IN THE MORNING: Wil Hahn’s crash brought out the Red Flag—erasing a Ryan Dungey holeshot—which he did not repeat on the second start. Instead Justin Brayton took the win and did the rarely attempted triple-triple-triple. The Red Flag rule says that if the leader finishes less than three laps the race is restarted from behind the gate, but if he gets scored on his third lap the race is restarted in a staggered line. If the race is 95% over the race is scored as it stood at the Red Flag. One question? What is 95 percent of six laps. The answer is 5.7 laps.
WHEN THEY CAME BACK FROM COMMERCIAL—JEREMY DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY. WHAT DID HE WANT TO SAY? WILL WE EVER KNOW?
(5) MAYBE JEREMY CAN E-MAIL ALL OF US: At the end of 450 Heat two Jeremy McGrath, in his role as color commentator on Fox Sports 1, said, “I’ve got something to say…” But, he was cut off by the action at the finish line. So, when the cameras cut back to the booth, Jeremy said, “I’ve got something to say…” But, the director threw it down to the track announcer and then went to commercial. When they came back from commercial—Jeremy didn’t have anything to say. What did he want to say? Will we ever know? Do we have to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Jeremy to find out?
NO RIDER IN THE 450 CLASS HAS MADE THE TOP FIVE IN ALL 13 ROUNDS AND ONLY TWO HAVE MADE THE TOP TEN IN EVERY MOTO. CAN YOU GUESS WHO?
Justin Brayton has done something that only one man this season has duplicated.
(6) STREAKS: James Stewart won his third 450 Supercross in a row (his fifth this season). Andrew Short won his sixth Semi Final this season. Martin Davalos won his 11th straight heat race (dating back to the end of last season). Davalos hasn’t lost a heat race this year. No rider in the 450 class has made the Top Five in all 13 rounds and only two have made the top ten in every moto. Can you guess who? Ryan Villopoto and Justin Brayton.
HAD HIS LUCK CHANGED? NOPE. WHEN HIS BROTHER ALEX CRASHED INTO VINCE FRIESE ON LAP 11, JEREMY HAD NOWHERE TO GO.
(7) THE MARTIN BROTHERS: We can all commiserate with Jeremy Martin. Highly touted coming out of the 2013 250 Nationals, he was considered to be a possible contender for the 250 East crown (or the very least a win or two). It did not happen. Instead, Jeremy failed to qualify for the first two 250 Eastraces, crashed at round three, then went 6th, 8th and 4th in Daytona, Detroit and Toronto. Had his luck changed? Nope. When his brother Alex crashed into Vince Friese on lap 11 in St. Louis, Jeremy had nowhere to go. He tried to squeeze by, but didn’t make it. Jeremy finished 20th. As luck would have it, Alex Martin got up off the ground and held on for 9th (which kept Alex in the top ten in points, while Jeremy languishes in 14th).
WORSE YET, HE IS 35 POINTS BEHIND POINTS RYAN VILLOPOTO—WHICH MEANS THAT WITH ONLY FOUR RACES LEFT, RYAN DUNGEY ONLY HAS THREE RACES TO GAIN POINTS ON VILLOPOTO.
(8): ALLEY-OOP: Ryan Dungey was running fifth as he started the last lap. Fifth wasn’t going to be a “good night” for Dungey because James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto were ahead of him on the track—but Ryan takes what he can get. Then, he slow rotated over a jump and crashed behind the jump. He scrambled to his feet and tried to right his bike, but Justin Brayton, running sixth, couldn’t see Dungey on the other side of the jump. Whammo! Brayton hit Dungey’s bike. They dropped from fifth and sixth to ninth and tenth, but only because that is how far up they had lapped (thus, tenth was the worst they could get). That last lap crash cost Ryan four places, which equated to 4 points—and now he is only 1 point in front of James Stewart, but worse yet, he is 35 points behind points leader Ryan Villopoto—which means that with only four races left, Ryan Dungey is now more than one full race behind—which means he only has three races to gain points on Villopoto.
RYAN DUNGEY & JUSTIN BRAYTON’S ST. LOUIS CRASH
LOGICAL SAYS THAT MAYBE TEAM HONDA COULD REPLACE ONE RIDER FOR 2015, BUT FINDING TWO TOP-FLITE RIDERS WOULD BE AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK.
(9) WELCOME BACK: There is a lot of talk that Team Honda will have to find a new team for 2015. The basis for these rumors is that Justin Barcia wants to leave (headed for JGR Yamaha as the story goes) and the theory is that Honda will let the oft-injured Trey Canard go because he can’t make it through a complete season without getting hurt. Is this speculation true? For sure, Justin Barcia will leave Honda, but whether or not Honda will keep gambling on getting one healthy season out of Trey Canard remains a push. After sitting on the couch for the last four months, Trey came to St. Louis and scored a top five. That is impressive. Logic says that Trey has what it takes to be a contender. Logic also says that maybe Team Honda could replace one rider for 2015, but finding two top-flite riders would be an impossible task.
NOW YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO THINK THAT HOLESHOT KING MIKE ALESSI IS ROLLING IN THE DOUGH IN 2014—BUT MIKE HAS ONLY HOLESHOT THREE EVENTS OUT OF 13 IN 2014. THAT IS A GRAND TOTAL OF $4500
The holeshot pays, but top tens pay more.
(10) HOLESHOT MONEY: The man who gets the holeshot in the 450 Supercross class gets $1500. Now, you might be tempted to think that Mike Alessi is rolling in the dough in 2014. After all, Mike is the Holeshot King—but Mike has only holeshot three events out of 13 in 2014. That is a grand total of $4500. It’s sad to say, but Mike’s Suzuki must be a prototype with a reverse gear in the tranny. Once Mike gets the holeshot, he puts his Suzuki in its special gear and begins backing up through the field. You can almost hear the beeping of the safety horn. This week Mike went from first to 12th. Even the slowest 250 Beginner tries to get the holeshot, even though he knows he will finish 15th by the end of the moto, but Mike is capable of so much more—we’d rather see him slot into sixth place and ride where he belongs than to get the holeshot only to get chopped up like so much ground beef by the pursuing pack.
ST. LOUIS SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. James Stewart (Suz)
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
3. Justin Barcia (Hon)
4. Ken Roczen (KTM)
5. Trey Canard (Hon)
6. Eli Tomac (Hon)
7. Josh Hill (Suz)
8. Andrew Short (KTM)
9. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
10. Justin Brayton (Yam)
Other notables: 11. Nick Wey; 12. Mike Alessi; 13. Chris Blose; 14. Jimmy Albertson; 22. Weston Peick.
ST. LOUIS SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 250 EAST
1. Martin Davalos (Kaw)
2. Justin Bogle (Hon)
3. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
4. Kyle Cunningham (Hon)
5. A.J. Cantazaro (Hon)
6. Cole Thompson (KTM)
7. Matt Biscelgia (Hon)
8. Jimmy Decotis (Hon)
9. Alex Martin (Yam)
10. Gannon Audette (Kaw)
Other notables: 13. Jackson Richardson; 16. Levi Kilbarger; 20. Jeremy Martin; 21. Matt Lemoine.
AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 13 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto………..268
2. Ryan Dungey………….233
3. James Stewart………..232
4. Ken Roczen……………215
5. Justin Brayton…………196
6. Justin Barcia,………….176
7. Andrew Short………….166
8. Broc Tickle……………..126
9. Wil Hahn………………..122
10. Chad Reed……………111
Other notables: 11. Josh Hill (103); 12. Weston Peick (96); 13. Mike Alessi (81); 14. Josh Grant (78); 17. Ivan Tedesco (63); 17. Eli Tomac (63).
AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 7 of 9 rounds)
1. Martin Davalos…………..149
2. Justin Bogle………………141
3. Adam Cianciarulo………120
4. Blake Baggett……………120
5. Vince Friese……………..100
6. Kyle Cunningham……….94
7. Cole Thompson………….89
8. Jimmy Decotis…………..78
9. Matt Lemoine……………74
10. Alex Martin………………72
Other notables: 11. Matt Biscelgia (60); 12. A.J. Cantazaro (59); 13. Blake Wharton (51); 14. Jeremy Martin (49); 15. Mitchell Oldenburg (43).
AMA 250 WEST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 6 of 9 rounds)
1. Jason Anderson…….131
2. Cole Seely…………….127
3. Justin Hill……………….107
4. Dean Wilson…………..98
5. Cooper Webb…………92
6. Malcolm Stewart……..89
7. Jessy Nelson………….76
8. Shane McElrath………71
9. Zach Osborne…………69
10. Dean Ferris…………..63
Other notables: 12. Dakota Tedder (50); 13. Jake Canada (46); 15. Valentin Teillet (28); 17. Darry Durham (21); 20. Austin Politelli (11).