San Manuel Yamaha's #7 James Stewart takes Round 15 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series in Seattle and the points spread between the four main title contenders tightens up even more – now a mere 9 points. Quest Field's crowd of 52,683 were treated to a great show in the Supercross Main Event with an eventful race that at times teased with the possibility of both the hometown racer Monster Energy Kawasaki's #2 Villapoto and fan favorite GEICO Honda's #14 Kevin Windham making the podium. Unfortunately, points leader #2 Villapoto couldn't quite pull it out, though fourth was a strong improvement over the no-show of last year's home race after an injury ended his season just before Seattle.
Although the morning threatened another classic Seattle mud field, the rain held off leaving a dry but heavily rutted track. The Seattle fans were out in force and making a day of it, with the paddock area being crowded several hours before the first heat started.
In the Lites Heats, Troy Lee Honda's #36 Cole Seely and Monster Energy Kawasaki's #20 Broc Tickle put on a great race, but #20 Tickle could not put on the same performance in the final and had to settle for third. Geico Honda's #19 Eli Tomac improved on his third place finish in Heat 2 with second in the main.
After a couple exciting Supercross heats, the main event started off with 4 riders going down in the first corner, Valli Yamaha's #74 Austin Stroupe taking the brunt of it and being assisted off the track after some time. #7 Stewart started building a lead from lap 1 on, and after a few laps of shuffling the top 4 title contenders plus #14 Windham all sat on the leaderboard. They remained unchanged and fairly well spread out right until the penultimate lap saw Bel-Ray Honda's #22 Chad Reed cartwheel causing second through fourth bunch up tight and allowing #14 Windham manage to get past #22 Reed for second. #2 Villopoto comes tantalizingly close to doing the same but a mistake costs him the chance and he ends up just off the podium. No one can get close to #7 Stewart who shows some of the James of old and finishes first with a commanding lead and a crucial 6 points closer to the series title.
Lites Heat 1:
#36 Seely and #20 Tickle brought some great racing right off the start. The two riders stayed tight, with #36 Seely mostly maintaining a slight lead and #20 Tickle pulling even a few times. #36 Seely took the win by a wheel. A good display of sportsmanship with the competitors hi fiving each other immediately upon landing the start/finish jump.
Lites Heat 2:
Monster Energy Kawasaki's #100 Josh Hansen takes the win, having lead the heat start to finish, although DNA Shred Stix Yamaha's #35 Kyle Cunningham took the fast lap with a 51.9.
SX Heat 1:
After blowing by the holeshot leader in the whoops, #7 Stewart runs away from the pack. #22 Reed goes down but manages to secure his transfer to the main event. TiLUBE's #374 Cody Gilmore crashes at the end of the whoops and didn't move for quite a while, but eventually walked away. Despite being cleaned up just before the heat began, the track was rutted up before by the halfway point.
SX Heat 2:
#14 Kevin Windham and Rockstar Suzuki's #1 Ryan Dungey trade laps off the start, but eventually Windham builds a small lead. A couple more laps in, #2 Villapoto manages a pass on #1 Dungey too. Dungey doesn't back off, and they trade some aggressive passes on lap 5, but #14 Windham slowly pulls away. The Windham & Villapoto finish gives Seattle fans something to cheer.
The desperation of the LCQ resulted in a few cases of bikes getting tangled together, but the leaders got through clean, allowing Let's Ride's #208 Donald Vawser and RacerResumes' #647 Parker Eckman to catch a transfer through to the main event.
Monster Energy Kawasaki's #321 Fabien Izoird takes the holeshot, but gets passed by BTOSports.com's #26 Michael Byrne, who holds on to it all the way to the end. A bit of erosion took hold early with two bikes riding off the track after one lap. Fast lap went to #26 Byrne, beating JDR's #942 Tye Simmonds by less than a tenth.
#36 Seely builds a small lead over #20 Tickle from the start, almost throws it away in lap three but manages to hold on and pull away again. #100 Hansen keeps falling off the leaderboard due to a bad transponder, then eventually slows down and finishes sixth. #19 Tomac gets past #20 Tickle on lap twelve, but has to be satisfied with second, being a ways short of #36 Seely.
A big pileup in turn one sees four riders going down, #74 Stroupe badly enough to end his race. #7 Stewart pulls out a good lead quickly and holds onto it. RedBull KTM's #800 Mike Alessi holds onto third for a few laps, but isn't able to maintain it and falls off the leaderboard after six laps. #14 Windham slots into third behind #22 Reed on lap five and sits there for quite a while. Seattle hometown racer #2 Villopoto doesn't start off great but works his way back into a steady fourth by the midway point. #1 Dungey, also suffering from a bad start, crawls back to fifth, looses a spot after a fall, but regains the spot after #800 Alessi goes off track. Once the leaders settle into their spots, they sit steady with a fair spread until #22 Reed falls on lap eighteen and let's #14 Windham by to great cheers from the fans. More cheers as #2 Villopoto threatens to overtake #22 Reed also, for the final podium spot, but #2 Villopoto goes down and settles for fourth.
With two rounds to go, #2 Villopoto, #22 Reed, #1 Dungey, and #7 Stewart are a handful of points apart in the race for the championship. With the points being as close as they are, whoever wants to take the season is going to have to put in a fantastic performance in both Salt Lake City and Vegas AND hope for some bad luck to befall the other contenders.