By Jody Weisel
Not even a healthy Ryan Villopoto could have stopped Stewie in Canada.
(1) THE RULE: Many people wonder how a rider who was at the hospital all day, although it sounded like he was in the waiting room most of that time, could still be in the race after missing practice and timed qualifying—after all, he didn’t qualify. The answer can be found in this rule:
In order to keep the top ten 450 contenders (and publicity draws) on the track, the AMA allows any top ten rider who fails to qualify a chance to be the 21st rider in heat race one. In fact, if four top ten riders failed to qualify they would all be seeded into the two heat races (although they would get last and or next to last pick at the gate). If a fifth top ten rider failed to qualify—he would be back on the bus headed home for the night.
WHEN JAMES STEWART WAS ASKED AFTER HIS DECISIVE VICTORY IN TORONTO, “IS THIS CHAMPIONSHIP BACK IN YOUR MIND?” HE ANSWERED WITH AN EMPHATIC “NOPE!”
(2) NOPE: When James Stewart was asked after his decisive victory in Toronto, “Is this Championship back in your mind?” He answered with an emphatic “Nope!” James is still 39 points behind Ryan Villopoto with five races to go. But, as the 10-point swing in points (Stewart 25 points for first and Villopoto 15 points for sixth) in Canada proves, it isn’t out of the question. But Villopoto would have to lose almost 8 points a week—that means fourth or worse for five straight weeks.
THE RHTHYM SECTIONS WERE VERY UNSYNCOPATED. THE RESULT? PLENTY OF PASSES, A BRILLIANT COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN BY JAMES STEWART AND LOTS OF BRUTAL CRASHES.
Broc Tickle was hurt in practice. The official word is that he damaged T7 (in the middle of his back) and had to undergo surgery, but his doctor said that he will be able to return to racing at a later date.
(3) OH CANADA: Finally, the dirt was not the major issue at a 2014 Supercross—instead the track itself had its detractors. Why? It was tough. The jump faces were steep. And the rhthym sections were very unsyncopated. The result? Plenty of passes, a brilliant come-from-behind win by James Stewart and lots of brutal crashes. During the night Broc Tickle was injured in practice. Dean Wilson crashed while leading his heat race (and had his bike landed on by Justin Barcia). Paul Coates fell out of the sky like a bank safe in a Laurel and Hardy movie. 250 rider Austin Albers did an unintentional nac-nac that ended badly. Matt Biscelgia didn’t make it through the whoops on lap one. Ivan Tedesco miss-timed one whoop and hit the next one with his head (in his 100th 450 main event). Blake Baggett crashed while running third and had his throttle ripped off the bars (sending him back to 20th). And, of course, Adam Cianciarulo had his issues.
AND WITH FIVE RACES LEFT, HE IS NOW 49 POINTS OUT OF FIRST PLACE. WHICH MEANS RYAN VILLOPOTO CAN EAT GAS STATION SUSHI FOR TWO RACES BEFORE KENNY CATCHES UP.
Kenny has lost the fire after two major losses that sent him spiraling in the points chase.
(4) K-SHOCKED: Based on the first 2/3rds of the series it is obvious that there are only four riders left who should be winning races (Villopoto, Stewart, Dungey and Roczen). Yes, at one time Justin Brayton, Justin Barcia and Chad Reed were on the list, but Reed got hurt, Brayton needs a track that is 75 percent whoops and Barcia has fallen out of love with Honda. Now, two-time winner Ken Roczen has fallen off the radar as fast as a flight to Beijing. If Kenny was going to win again, Toronto was his race to lose. He got the holeshot and when passed by archenemy Justin Barcia everyone thought that he would put the whip to his orange steed. Barcia is the red flag to Roczen’s bull. Nothing should enrage the German more than seeing Barcia in front of him—it didn’t. Instead, Ken went from first, to second, to third, to fourth and ended up fifth at the flag. And with five races left, he is now 49 points out of first place. Which means Ryan Villopoto can eat gas station sushi for two races before Kenny catches up.
AS MOST RIDERS WITH SHOULDERS THAT POP OUT OF SOCKET KNOW—THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM THAT HEALS ITSELF. THE ONLY REAL SOLUTION, APART FROM RISKING RACING WITH IT, IS SURGERY.
Best wishes to young Adam Cianciarulo—hopefully he will find his way back from a heartbreaking night.
(5) ADAM’S RIB, WELL SHOULDER ANYWAY: Adam Cianciarulo crashed in the first practice and dislocated his shoulder. He had it popped back in and went back out and set 14th fastest time in qualifying (there is no rule allowing a top ten rider in the 250 class to be seeded into the heat races if he fails to qualify). In the 250 East main event Adam’s shoulder popped out again in the whoops when his arms got jammed backwards when he hit face of a whoop. The medical crew got it back in place on the side of the track and Adam ran to get back on his bike. Very brave, but the pain was too great and he was too far back to make any difference in the points chase, so he pulled off the track. As most riders with shoulders that pop out of socket know—this is not a problem that heals itself. The more times it pops out, the easier it is to pop it out again. The only real solution, apart from risking racing with it, is surgery. Which would mean a couple months of rehab. For a rider this young and at this stage of his career, he should have the surgery immediately.
MIKE IS NOW A CONTENDER—WITH ONE CAVEAT. HE’S ONLY A CONTENDER IN THE HEAT RACES AND THE SEMIS. MIKE IS RIDING GREAT (FOR A RIDER WHOSE KRYPONITE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUPERCROSS), BUT HE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT.
Mike Alessi is getting good at the whoops, but it isn’t translating to the results.
(6) DON’T BE LIKE MIKE: Often maligned Mike Alessi is having his greatest Supercross season ever—where riding skill is concerned. For a guy who couldn’t string three whoops together for most of his career, he is suddenly decent in the whoops. Mike is now a contender—with one caveat. He’s only a contender in the heat races and the semis. Mike is riding great (for a rider whose Kryponite has always been Supercross), but he has absolutely nothing to show for it. How so? Mike has scored points in every race so far, which makes him one of only six riders to achieve that feat. Villopoto, Stewart, Dungey, Roczen, Brayton and Short are the other five—and they are all in the top ten. Mike Alessi is currently 15th in points and has an average finish of 15th per race. Now that is something to cry about.
Andrew Short finished out of the top ten (11th) for the first time in 2014.
(7) BOGGLES THE MIND: For those who follow this drivel on a weekly basis, they will remember that last week we said, “Let’s be serious, only one man stands in the way of Pro Circuit sweeping the 250 East Championship. The Lone Ranger standing in their way is Justin Bogle. The Geico Honda rider has finished 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 5th and 2nd…and is the only rider in the 250 East who can keep them in sight.” A week later, Justin Bogle stopped the Pro Circuit Express. He got the holeshot, ran away unmolested, had his parents in the audience, won his first-ever AMA Pro race and got to celebrate his birthday on Sunday morning by being third in 250 East points.
IF YOU HAD THE SAME THREE RIDERS AS PRO CIRCUIT, YOU WOULDN’T WANT ALL OF YOUR HOPES TO REST ON CRASH-PRONE MARTIN DAVALOS.
(8) PRO CIRCUIT WOES: No team that has won the last seven 250 Supercross races in a row can complain too much about having one off-night. However, this wasn’t just any off night. Although Martin Davalos finished second in Toronto and took over the points lead, Pro Circuit’s other two stars (all three are main event winners this year) both lost 19 points each. On paper it’s not that bad—the Pro Circuit riders are still first, second and fourth in the standings—but, in reality, there are some black clouds on the horizon. First, Adam Cianciarulo’s shoulder might spell the end of the 2014 Supercross season for him. Second, Blake Baggett can ride like the wind, but his starts are more like a gentle breeze. If he doesn’t get better starts he isn’t going to win again in 2014. Third, If you had the same three riders as Team Pro Circuit, you wouldn’t want all of your hopes to rest on crash-prone Martin Davalos. He doesn’t have a reputation as a “closer.”
BARCIA JUST MISSES DEANO IN HEAT RACE
(9) MATT LEMOINE: Matt Lemoine has been racing the 250 Supercross series since 2007 and in 48 starts has never made the podium—although he was fourth three times and fifth three times (his best finish in 2014 was fifth in Detroit). Now, Matt has the podium spot that has eluded him for eight years and he also has a heat race win. In what has to be the coolest thing, Matt asked the TV reporter if she minded if he thanked a few people. It was refreshing in that he wasn’t robotically rolling off meaningless names (to the vast TV audience who doesn’t care about those names). He was polite and really wanted to thank people—and just in case you didn’t hear it we want to give the list for him — JAB Motorsports, Silkolene, Fly Racing, Never Summer, JM Racing, Speed Graphics, Rekluse, Shoei, DT1, FMF, Dunlop, Dubya USA, VP Racing, Scott, Mika Metals, Galfer, Jay Bird Sport and Alpinestars.
Justin Barcia had his best race of the season…and one that he should have won given the size of his lead at the midway point.
MXA HAS ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT JAMES STEWART IS THE FASTEST MAN TO EVER RACE A MOTOCROSS BIKE. HE DOES THINGS THAT NO ONE ELSE CAN DO—AND IN TORONTO HE DID JUST THAT.
(10) STATISTICS: MXA has always believed that James Stewart is the fastest man to ever race a motocross bike. He does things that no one else can do—and in Toronto he did just that by stringing triples together that no one else would try. And, in the process he won his 49th AMA 450 Supercross race—passing Ricky Carmichael for second place on the all-time list. We must confess that we are confused why the announcers kept saying that Stewart had broken Ricky Carmichael’s record of 48 wins. Wrong! Ricky Carmichael doesn’t hold any kind of record for Supercross wins. He is, and was, second to the Jeremy McGrath. The announcers need to knock off the “breaks a record” tripe every time somebody wins a race—those are personal bests, but a record is the all-time best. Just tell the story, don’t blow it up like a balloon filled with hot air. Below are the record books and the record holders. Tell us when someone breaks Jeremy McGrath’s records.
1. Jeremy McGrath…………….7
2. Ricky Carmichael……………5
3. Bob Hannah…………………..3
3. Jeff Stanton……………………3
3. Ryan Villopoto………………..3
4. Jeff ward……………………….2
4. Rick Johnson…………………2
4. Chad Reed…………………….2
4. James Stewart……………….2
SUPERCROSS RACE WINS
1. Jeremy McGrath……………..72
2. James Stewart………………..49
3. Ricky Carmichael…………….48
4. Chad Reed……………………..43
5. Ryan Villopoto…………………37
6. Ricky Johnson…………………28
7. Bob Hannah……………………27
8. Jeff Ward………………………..20
9. Damon Bradshaw…………….19
10. Kevin Windham……………..18
Dean Wilson quietly got an eighth in the 450 Main—he needs to be steady because he’ll be back in the 250 West in two weeks.
TORONTO SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. James Stewart (Suz)
2. Justin Barcia (Hon)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Justin Brayton (Yam)
5. Ken Roczen (KTM)
6. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
7. Weston Peick (Suz)
8. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
9. Josh Hill (Suz)
10. Matt Goerke (KTM)
Other notables: 11. Andrew Short; 12. Nick Wey; 14. Wil Hahn; 19. Mike Alessi; 22. Ivan Tedesco.
TORONTO SUPERCROSS RESULTS: 250 EAST
1. Justin Bogle (Hon)
2. Martin Davalos (Kaw)
3. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
4. Jeremy Martin (Yam)
5. Cole Thompson (KTM)
6. Vince Friese (Hon)
7. Alex Martin (Yam)
8. Kyle Cunningham (Hon)
9. A.J. Cantazaro (Hon)
10. Jimmy Decotis (Hon)
Other notables: 11. Jackson Richardson; 12. Matt Biscelgia; 20. Blake Baggett; 21. Kyle Peters; 22. Adam Cianciarulo.
CURRENT AMA 450 SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 12 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto…………..246
2. Ryan Dungey……………221
3. James Stewart………….207
4. Ken Roczen……………..197
5. Justin Brayton………….185
6. Justin Barcia…………….156
7. Andrew Short…………..153
8. Broc Tickle………………126
9. Wil Hahn………………..122
10. Chad Reed…………….111
Other notables: 11. Weston Peick (96); 12. Josh Hill (89); 13. Josh Grant (77); 14. Matt Goerke (75); 4. Mike Alessi (72).
CURRENT AMA 250 EAST SUPERCROSS POINTS STANDINGS
(After 6 of 9 rounds)
1. Martin Davalos………….124
2. Adam Cianciarulo………120
3. Justin Bogle……………..119
4. Blake Baggett……………100
5. Vince Friese……………..90
6. Kyle Cunningham……….76
7. Cole Thompson………….74
8. Matt Lemoine……………73
9. Jimmy Decotis…………..65
10. Alex Martin………………50
Other notables: 11. Blake Wharton (51); 12. Jeremy Martin (48); 13. Matt Biscelgia (46); 15. Mitchell Oldenburg (43).
Photos by MXA, John Ker, KTM, Suzuki, Hoppenworld & Spencer Rathkamp