Kawasaki/Racer X Race Report: Anaheim 1Sunday, January 7, 2007 | 1:04 AM
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It was a good night for supercross in the
But coming into the race the story wasn’t Stewart or Carmichael, it was Reed, who was injured in a practice crash the weekend before the race wasn’t even sure if he would be able to race at all. He hopped on his San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Yamaha and rode some laps in practice, then headed to the gate in his heat race looking to earn his spot in the main (Reed could have earned an automatic spot on the gate since he was in the top-ten in points, using the provisional gate pick that top ten riders get to use twice in a season). Unfortunately, he crashed immediately in his heat and then had to claw his way all the way back into a qualifying position. Right then and there, Reed considered quitting and using his provisional pick, but he dug deep and finished eighth to make the main.
Carmichael and Stewart won the heats, and the crowd was all pumped up for the battle between them in the main. But Reed, ailing, pulled the start of his life with a holeshot from the outside (16th gate pick) and then let adrenaline carry him through the race. He couldn’t hang on in the whoops, though, and Stewart quickly went past him there and took the lead. A lap later Carmichael passed Reed, but Reed hung close, and when
But then, almost like a gift from the racing Gods, Stewart lost his front end in the corner after the finish-line jump and went down. He was fine, but now it was on, the big three in a big battle. As RC and Stewart left Reed behind, Stewart erased Carmichael’s small gap and then made an unbelievably spectacular pass, scrubbing a jump hard, staying low, and going right past
“I felt like I didn’t want to wait around,” said Stewart. “I scrubbed it pretty good there. I felt my footpegs drag.
After that Ricky stayed close, putting pressure on James and hoping for another mistake, and the capacity crowd stayed on its feet in anticipation. But in the end, it was Carmichael who made the errors. He landed on a tuff block and managed to recover, and then lost his front end in the next corner and went down.
“James just had the edge on me all night,” said Ricky. “I felt like I just had to ride on that edge to try to stay with him. I was really chasing my tail in the 180 degree corners. I couldn’t turn early and get back to the inside. That’s how you wind up going down.”
“I felt like I earned it,” said Stewart.
Reed, meanwhile, somehow held on for third. “That was probably the biggest start of my life,” he said. “I was dealt a really bad hand, but I knew it was what I had to play. I just really want to win the supercross title, and this is what I had to do.”
In Lites racing, the world expected Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto to win, and he did. They may not have expected MX2 World Champion Christophe Pourcel to finish second, but he did, a spectacular ride in his supercross debut. Third went to a rejuvenated Jason Lawrence, now of the Boost
With a full stadium, a live TV audience and a sold out crowd, things were good for supercross in
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