Daddy are you ever going to win again?
By Jon Row and Lance Thruxton
America celebrated 40 years of Supercross racing Saturday night at Anaheim stadium, the third race of the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series. Chad Reed and Cole Seely made it a night to remember for the fans and forty-two other riders as they grabbed their first wins of the season before an emotional crowd.
Anaheim’s II retro theme celebration featured riders, bikes and and fans decked out in 70’s gear and graphics. Twenty-one former Supercross champions were on hand to recount the glory and commemorate the racing that has grown into the greatest show in motorsports. Retired, multi time SX champs Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath opened the evening with a hot lap of their trademark aerial acrobatics. With a deep azure sky, and 68-degree temps, the crowd sensed it was going to be a special night but no one could have predicted what was to come.
In the 250 main event Troy Lee Honda’s Cole Seely broke his bridesmaid role and put in a convincing win on point’s leader rival Jason Anderson. Yamaha’s Cooper Webb finished third while Canadian Dean Wilson's spill relegated the Pro Circuit Kawasaki hopeful to a disappointing 7th. Anderson who had stolen wins from Seely on the last lap of both prior events this year was penalized by AMA race officials for jumping while an ambulance flag was displayed and docked two positions. After the race, Webb was awarded second and Malcolm Stewart third dropping Anderson to fourth and his series lead over Seely to three points.
The 450 main event was one of the best races in recent memory with the top five guys all getting a clean start. Ryan Dungey led the first five laps trailed by a smooth riding James Stewart and fast qualifier Ken Roczen who had passed mentor Ryan Villopoto. Chad Reed was fifth. Dungey went down on lap six and Stewart took over the lead for the next seventeen loops despite two tangles with Villopoto that ultimately left RV on the ground. Stewart kept it on two wheels and with three seconds separating Roczen in second and Reed in third the finish order looked set. That’s when Reed decided that his two years without a main event win had been long enough. In an impressive display of determination, the 2004/2008 SX Champ used daring pass ‘em-through-the-whoops moves to strong arm his Kawie past Roczen, then Stewart for the stunning win. Justin Brayton was fourth surprising fans again after passing Villopoto for a heat win earlier. Dungey and Villopoto collided on the last lap yet still managed 5th and 6th. Dungey was uncharacteristically aggressive all night taking out Josh Hill and Broc Tickle in his heat.
It was an emotional win for the 40,000 Anaheim fans and Reed. The Discount Tire Two-Two Racing team owner/rider was joined on the podium by his wife and young son. Compared to his previous forty-one victories, he said it was one of the hardest. Because of his disappointing results over the last year, his son asked him this week if he was done winning. Dad’s answer to that seems pretty clear.
Roczen regains the series lead over Villipoto by a single point. Reed is now tied with Dungey with for third just two points back.
Next race: January 25th, Oakland Ca.