But here we are, four months later, and only now have we witnessed Stewart log another dominant win. And it might be too late. While no one had an answer for James at the Orlando Supercross tonight – he was consistently nearly two seconds a lap faster than second-placed Ricky Carmichael during his best laps in practice, qualifying, and the main – the bottom line is he is 23 points down on Carmichael in the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series. With only five races to go, Stewart will need more than a few more dominant wins to get back into the points lead.
But, man, he was incredibly fast in Orlando. In old-school James Stewart fashion, he was able to ride whatever line he wanted and do it faster than anyone else, everywhere on the track. He won the main by 12 seconds over Carmichael.
Third behind Stewart and Carmichael came MDK Motorsports Honda’s
Nick Wey, who fought and scratched and clawed all night long, first
battling past Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne to get into fourth, and then
slowly reeling in Makita Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco. Just before the white
flag came out, Wey got inside of Tedesco and took over third, a gutty
performance by the fastest privateer in the business. Tedesco finished
fourth, while Reed reeled in Byrne and passed him to finish fifth.
Travis Preston rode strong early, passing Reed and working his way toward the top five until Reed got him back. Also, Kevin Windham made his season debut on the Samsung/Sobe Factory Connection Honda, in his return from a broken arm. He rode strong early before fading a bit and clinging to a top-ten finish. Early in the race, Windham passed Reed, making him the championship X-factor many had expected. But his conditioning wasn’t strong enough to make it last.
Tedesco settled into third early, and that might have been his problem. He rode alone for 19 laps, only to get zapped by Wey right at the end.
Reed’s night was a bad one. In his heat race he got stuffed in a corner by Tyler Evans and went down, causing him to race the semi for the second week in a row, which he won. He started well in the main but started dropping back quickly. Somehow, someway, he gutted it out from there and ended up passing several riders in the last few laps, including Windham, Tim Ferry, Preston, and Byrne. Reed’s fifth might have cost him some points on Carmichael, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Gosselaar is tied for second with Grant after finishing third.
More than 43,000 Orlando fans came to the races, which was a nice
jump over last year. Stewart, who only lives a half-hour away in Haines
City, joked that half of the crowd came from the tickets he bought! The
crowd was clearly on his side all night long.
Now the series heads to Ford Field in Detroit – home of the Super Bowl that the Steelers won a few months ago. Will Stewart finally figure out the combination to consistent domination? Or will we have to wait another few months to see this happen again?