Stewart Takes Toronto

December 3, 2005 10:24pm

“If this race is any indication ….”

I’m sure everyone involved with supercross this year will be running that line over the next few days, as the Toronto Supercross, round one of the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP, provided awesome racing, a real clash of the titans that hopefully will be repeated throughout the season. If we have this all year long, there will be many stadiums without roofs by the time we’re done.

To sum it up, James Stewart grabbed the early lead after he got around his teammate Michael Byrne. Chad Reed started third but wasn’t on the pace, and soon Ricky Carmichael had battled into third, and then soon it was second, and then James went down in the first turn and handed the lead to Ricky.

James got up in third and then went to work on Reed. He passed him and left him, and started closing up on RC. James was running about seven or eight tenths of a second faster, so the small gap Ricky had didn’t last long. By the halfway point James was right there … but he didn’t try to make the pass. Instead he showed patience and smarts and skills as he worked Ricky in every corner but refused to pass him. Ricky even admitted that, the race was great, “But he made it that way, I was just trying to ride.”

For seven laps James hounded Ricky. He developed a new line where he singled a double to stay on the inside of a corner. It wasn’t a good line at first, in fact, momentarily he took the lead from Carmichael and gave it back by using that line. But as the track broke down, it started to work. Eventually a rut formed on the inside of that turn, and when James got next to Ricky again a few laps later, he used it to launch out of the corner, take the lead and win the race.

Straight up, James led, fell, then caught and passed Chad Reed and Ricky Carmichael and won the race. It must have been the biggest win he’s ever had considering all the problems he has gone through in the last year.

“It was a great feeling,” said Stewart, flashing maybe the biggest smile he ever has, which is impressive considering how big his smile usually is.

Carmichael said he learned a lot and he will go back and work. He will work on line selection and riding through ruts and the ability to change lines during the race. But he was a man about it. “Bubba was faster than me tonight,” said Carmichael.

Reed finished third but he was way off the pace. He said he bike was awesome but he has some work to do, too, and Yamaha’s main goal is the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, so he just wants to get out healthy.

Ivan Tedesco rode well in his Supercross Class debut, finishing fourth, and Nick Wey finished fifth.

If you jumped off the Bubba bandwagon at some point, you should have known better. Get back on now, because things are moving really, really fast.

In the Supercross Lites Class, Team Honda’s Andrew Short was out front and pulling away when his bike apparently had some problems. This put Josh Hansen and Davi Millsaps into a battle for the lead. Millsaps came through the pack and passed Nathan Ramsey, and then Ramsey hit Millsaps back tire and fell. This left Hanny and ‘Saps to battle it out, and they played some cat-and-mouse inside-outside work until Millsaps finally found the right line and made the move. In his first ride with Honda, Millsaps was a winner. Hansen was second and Billy Laninovich third on the Sobe/Samsung Honda.

That’s all folks. You could say if this race is any indication, it will be a great year, because Bubba and Ricky battled for 17 laps. Or, you could say if this is any indication, James Stewart is going to destroy people this year. We’ll find out.