Boost Mobile Yamaha’s Ryan Morais leads the Lites East standings. Morais has been the picture of consistency throughout the year. The 24-year old from Temecula, Calif., has finished fifth or better in every round leading up to Detroit. Morais has twice scored runner up finishes, but has yet to take victory in the series. The last time a rider won the East title without winning a race was in 1997 when Tim Ferry earned the title with steadiness throughout the season.
In Detroit, Morais may have to find the extra gear he needs to win a race since chief rival Ben Townley, of New Zealand, is only three points down and can win the championship with a victory.
“My plan was to try and get in the top five in every race and to try and make the podium as much as I could,” Morais said. “To be honest, I never expected to be in the hunt for the championship. I would love to win a race. Hopefully, I’ll be able to win in Detroit, wrap both things up and win the championship.”
Townley, who won the most recent round in Dallas, also feels like being in the title hunt is a bonus.
“After Atlanta I never dreamed I’d be in a position to have a chance to win the championship,” Townley said, referring to the opening round of the series in Atlanta where he dropped out when his bike suffered mechanical problems. “Winning in Dallas meant so much. If I can ride in Detroit like I did in Dallas I can win the championship, if not I know I gave it my best shot.”
Townley won the MX2 Motocross World Championship in 2004. This is his first full year in AMA competition.
Townley’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit teammate Darcy Lange is not out of the picture. Lange scored a runner-up finish in Dallas to keep his title hopes alive.
“Anything can happen,” Lange said talking about the final round. “I’ve had some bad luck this season, but after a couple weeks off I’ll be coming out swinging in Detroit.”
While three riders come to Detroit with a championship at stake, Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series leader James Stewart is in the driver’s seat when it comes to earning his first AMA Supercross title. Stewart is on a four-race winning streak coming into Detroit. That’s the longest winning streak of the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s AMA Supercross career. In Dallas Stewart passed Hall of Famer Jeff Ward to become the sixth-ranked rider on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list.
“I felt really good in Dallas,” said Stewart, who is the defending Detroit Supercross winner. “I’m happy with the position I’m in. I’ll be coming off a little vacation and I’m going to try to come back fresh in Detroit.”
L&M Yamaha’s Chad Reed sees his championships hopes fading, but the Australian remains positive as the season winds down. For one of the first times this season Reed challenged Stewart the entire race in Dallas.
“I felt a lot stronger in Dallas,” said Reed, the 2004 AMA Supercross Champion. “I had a shot at winning it, but would have had to make a crazy move that would have probably put both James and me on the ground. I’m going to focus on getting my bike even better and look forward to racing in Detroit.”
The Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series round from Ford Field will air on CBS on Sunday, April 22, at 12 pm eastern.
Tickets for the Detroit Supercross are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Ford Field Box Office, select participating Yamaha dealers or charge by phone at 248-645-6666. Gates open at 12:30 pm for fans to watch practice and qualifying. A special Family Section is also available for non-alcoholic family fun. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request Family Section for an alcohol-free family atmosphere.