San Diego SX Notes

AURORA, Ill. (February 16, 2007) – Amp’d Mobile Supercross returns to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium this Saturday as James Stewart races for his second consecutive win at the venue and Ryan Villopoto looks to clinch the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship.

Monster Energy Kawasaki riders have won 11 of the first 12 main events in Amp’d Mobile Supercross, setting the mark for most combined wins to start a season. Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart has won five of the six races while Monster Energy/pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Ryan Villopoto and Christophe Pourcel have swept the entire Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites series.  

Stewart did not get the best of starts last weekend in Houston but relied on his training to lead him to the front. "All those laps I do at the test track and all the training I do during the week,  there is no way I am not going to be there at the end," said Stewart. "I am happy that and I can say that and strongly believe it." Stewart will spend his last week in California for the San Diego stop of Amp'd Mobile Supercross before heading back home to Haines City, Fla. "This is my last week out in California for hopefully awhile, I am just over it. I'm a Florida boy and being back home in the country, I love that."

Teammate Timmy Ferry continues to put his Kawasaki KX450F out front and is looking forward to another podium finish this weekend at Qualcomm Stadium. Ferry said, "It's no fluke, we're here every weekend and are third in points.  We have been in the top five every race this season and it has been almost more than I could expect. I am known as being more of an outdoor rider, but I think I have proven myself and everyone else wrong; I can ride supercross."

After last weekend's race in Houston, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto now has the championship in sight. "My goal is to get it done there and then go on the eight-week break to ride some outdoor tracks and get ready for the national season. Then I will go back to some supercross before Seattle and Vegas," said Villopoto, who has five wins on the season. He can lock up the title with a win in San Diego or by finishing at least nine points ahead of series runner up Jason Lawrence.  

MotoSport Kawasaki's new hire Joaquim Rodrigues has had a bit of a rough start after being called last minute to replace injured rider Kyle Chisholm. "After my last injury, it has been about two years since I have ridden supercross," said Rodrigues. "The team called me up and it was really fast. I got to ride the bike three or four times before I had to race. I am taking it a step at a time, trying to pick up my speed and get comfortable racing supercross again." Rodriguez spent the past two years recovering from a broken leg before landing the ride on a Kawasaki KX250F.

Team Makita Suzuki Racing’s Ivan Tedesco and his wife, Theresa, had hoped to spend some quality time in their new home in Houston, Texas, following last week’s Amp’d Mobile Supercross race in the city’s Reliant Stadium. Unfortunately, the couple returned to Southern California so that Tedesco could relax, ride and get ready for the upcoming San Diego event at Qualcomm Stadium this Saturday night.

“I struggled a bit in Houston last weekend,” said Tedesco, who finished in eighth position. “But now, I’m just focusing on getting my confidence up for San Diego next weekend. After San Diego, I hope to go back to Texas for a while and get out of the rat race in California.”

Tedesco’s Makita Suzuki teammate and 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael isn’t currently racing; however, he did provide commentary in the television broadcast of the Houston race.

“The Makita Suzuki team is doing whatever we can to get his confidence back up to where it was before he was injured in Toronto,” said Carmichael about Tedesco. “Personally, I think it’s going to take a solid performance in a main event. Hopefully, this weekend in San Diego will be a good start.”

Honda’s Josh Grant, who came into the season as an early favorite to win the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship, opened the season with back-to-back 22nd place finishes. As of lately, the Riverside, Calif., seems to have turned things around finishing 4-2-2-3 in his last four outings.

“For me, I’d just rather stay up and finish,” said Grant. “You know, I gotta work on a few things and the whoops are one of them. I think this next weekend I should have good hopes for a podium again.”

Each week Yamaha’s Jason Lawrence continues to challenge points leader Ryan Villopoto. Last weekend Lawrence even led the race for the first time this season, passing Villopoto.

“I got over the finish line really close to him, right on his back wheel," said Lawrence. “If I wouldn’t have went for the pass right there, I know I would look back at it and be like, why did I not go for that? He wasn’t too happy with that after the race, but sorry, buddy, but that’s racing.”

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and with Villopoto clearly controlling the class, getting in front of him is no easy chore. Heading into this weekend he has led 69 laps and the closest rider to that mark is his teammate Christophe Pourcel who posts 17 laps led.

Sobe No Fear/Samsung Honda’s Travis Preston remains in the thick of the race for the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Pro Privateer Challenge despite battling through the aches and pains of his get off during practice at Anaheim 2. Even though he missed that evening’s race (and the DNF from the horrific crash with Stewart in Toronto), it’s a testament to Preston’s determination that he trails Nick Wey by 10 points in the season-long competition that awards $25,000 and a 2007 Weekend Warrior trailer. The second-place rider is awarded $15,000, with $10,000 going to the rider earning the third most points.

Speaking of Wey, the Xyience MDK Honda rider suffered a dislocation to his right thumb in a crash on the opening lap of his heat race last week in Houston. An MRI taken this week showed no tears or breaks, causing cautious optimism from team manager Steve Lamson. “Nick got a bit of good news from his doctor’s visit this week,” said Lamson. “We went out to the track yesterday and he can’t ride. It’s pretty swollen. I’d guess he’ll miss a couple weeks, but I know Nick is wanting to give a try this weekend.”

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