Moments before Stewart’s crash, all seemed fairly normal. Makita Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco grabbed the Progressive Direct Holeshot, but Reed soon snaked into the lead with Stewart on his tail. Then Stewart executed a pass with his patented stay-low jumping technique and looked to check out. Reed hung close until Stewart made a mistake and clipped a tough block that bounced right in front of him, causing him to mis-time a step-on jump and lose time. Then Stewart stepped on it and started pulling away, and it looked like business as usual: Stewart up front and polishing off another big trophy.
Then he clipped another tough block on the face of the finish-line jump. He lost momentum and went flipping over the bars in between the jumps of the finish-line double. Reed almost clipped Stewart when he landed from the jump, and suddenly he had the lead and the opportunity he had been looking for during the last seven weeks.
Stewart was in a precarious spot in between the jumps, and by the time he finally got back on his bike, he had lost plenty of spots. He rode back into the mechanics’ area to get his bike straightened out, and was outside the top ten. Then the charge was on to try to make up as many points as possible.
“I’m telling you all right here, no matter what happens I’ll be back racing here next year,” said
Reed, however, had the best mood of them all. “I love this place,” said Reed. “I have had so many great races here, and this is huge for me. Second place was getting really old. It’s a shame to see James crash like that, but this is a big relief for me because I know I can win.”
History was made in the Lites class when Ryan Villopoto jetted away with another win, and clinched the West Region Lites Championship. Yes, the kid earned a number-one plate in mid-February. Villopoto’s teammate Chris Gosselaar grabbed the holeshot, but soon Villopoto worked around him to take the lead, and the title, basically. A great battle broke out behind that, with Gosselaar, the Red Bull KTM tandem of Martin Davalos and Josh Hansen, and the Yamahas of Jason Lawrence and Josh Hill all going at it.
The West boys are done for ten weeks with the East Lites riders starting their series next week in