Kawasaki/Racer X Race Report

January 13, 2008 6:56am

AMA Supercross Lites

Race of Races

When the Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Series rolled into Phoenix for round two, the only thing anyone knew for sure was that the track was going to be dry, unlike the opener in Anaheim. A lot of riders who had poor outings in the mud at the opening round were hoping to prove their mettle on the dry circuit.

At least one definitely succeeded.

Ryan Dungey and Broc Hepler had a fierce battle in the Lites class.

Torco Racing Fuels Honda’s Jake Weimer failed to make the main event at the series opener after injuring his shoulder in a heat-race crash and then falling again while in a qualifying position in the Lites LCQ. However, despite the injury, and limited riding time during the week because of it, Weimer grabbed the holeshot in the Lites main and led the first lap in front of opening-round winner Ryan Dungey of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki squad, Yamaha’s Broc Hepler, Monster/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe, MDK KTM’s Justin Brayton, DNA Honda’s Kyle Cunningham and opening-round runner-up Jason Lawrence of the Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy team.

Dungey and Hepler both found their way by Weimer on the second lap, displacing Weimer to third, where he came under fire from Metcalfe. Meanwhile, up front, Hepler was giving Dungey all he could handle, and then some, and repeatedly passed the Suzuki phenom, which had the side result of allowing Weimer to stay close enough to strike if anything happened.

And it did.

On the 10th lap of 15, Hepler and Dungey got a little too close for comfort coming up to the triple on Chase Field’s first-base line and was forced to forego jumping the obstacle, which moved Weimer up into second. On the very next lap, Hepler fell down by himself in a tight right-hand turn following the finish line, and Weimer reassumed the lead with four laps to go, with Dungey breathing down his neck.

Jake Weimer won his first AMA Supercross Lites main event in Phoenix.

Over the final four laps, Dungey tried everything to get by Weimer, but he was thwarted at every turn until the last lap of the race, when Dungey tried to dive inside Weimer approaching the same first-base-line triple he had trouble on previously, and Weimer squeezed him down low, halting Dungey’s momentum and forcing him again not to jump the obstacle. Weimer, meanwhile, dropped the hammer and seat-bounced the triple, which gave him all the space he needed to win his first-ever AMA Supercross Lites main event – one race after failing to qualify for the main event altogether.

“I’m sure it will sink in tomorrow or something,” Weimer said, “but right now, it’s pretty hard to believe.”

Dungey hung on for second and extended his points lead in the West to nine over Lawrence, who wound up fifth on the night. Metcalfe finished third, just in front of Hepler and Brayton.

AMA Supercross

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s holeshot artist Mike Alessi lived up to his reputation in the 450cc main event, grabbing the holeshot just in front of defending champ James Stewart of the Monster Kawasaki squad and San Manuel Yamaha’s Chad Reed, who won the opening round.

James and Chad were thisclose for the first 10 laps.

Stewart quickly assumed the lead, with Reed right on his tail, and the two proceeded to put on a clinic, as they lapped consistently in the 46-second range, while everyone else was running laps of 47 seconds and higher. Stewart even got into the 45s on a couple laps during the main event.

For the first few laps of the main, Reed was all over Stewart and was threatening to pass, but as the time wore on, Reed slipped little by little and fell further and further behind. Stewart ended up winning his first main event of the year by just under two seconds over Reed, with Torco Racing Fuels Honda’s Kevin Windham, and Honda Red Bull Racing teammates Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco rounding out the top five.

Reed and Stewart are tied atop the championship leaderboard each with 47 points with 15 rounds left still to run. The series heads back to Anaheim in one week’s time for Anaheim II.

Kevin Windham rode strong for third.

AMA Supercross Class Results, Phoenix

1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha
3. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
5. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
6. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki
7. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
8. Josh Hansen, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
9. Charles Summey, Huntersville, N.C., Yamaha
10. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki

AMA Supercross Class Season Standings

1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki, 47
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha, 47
3. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 36
4. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki, 31
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 31
6. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 30
7. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 24
8. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 22
9. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Honda, 21
10. Grant Langston, Clermont, Fla., Yamaha, 19

Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Phoenix

1. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Honda
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
3. Brett Metcalfe, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
4. Broc Hepler, Kittanning, Pa., Yamaha
5. Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
6. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
7. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Yamaha
8. Dan Reardon, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
9. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Honda
10. Billy Laninovich, Fort Worth, Texas, KTM

Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings

1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 47
2. Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 38
3. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 35
4. Dan Reardon, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 31
5. Broc Hepler, Kittanning, Pa., Yamaha, 28
6. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Honda, 25
7. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Yamaha, 25
8. Brett Metcalfe, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 22
9. Tommy Hahn, Alvord, Texas, Kawasaki, 22
10. Michael LaPaglia, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 18