450 Words: PhoenixMonday, January 14, 2008 | 12:16 PM
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Aside from that unfortunate practice crash in 2005, Phoenix’s Chase Field has been good to James Stewart. In fact, he is the only rider to win Phoenix in both the Supercross and Lites class. In his first two seasons as a professional in 2002 and ’03, Stewart won the 125cc main event here aboard his two-stroke KX125. In ’04 he rode East, and then in ‘05 Stewart suffered a broken arm in practice. The 2006 Phoenix SX saw Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed lead Stewart across the finish line, but James came back last year to take his first AMA Supercross main event win in Arizona.
But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. If you watched the broadcast on SPEED yesterday or were in attendance Saturday night, you know that San Manuel Yamaha’s Chad Reed is not going to lie down. In fact, Reed’s heat race overall time was faster than Stewart’s (6:09.35 to 6:09.54), which gave him the first pick on the gate for the main event. And for the first 10 laps of the main, Reed gave Stewie everything he could handle, and then some. But with the #22 breathing down his neck, Stewart remained poised, didn’t make any costly mental errors, and managed to pull away. The series is now tied with 300 laps left on the schedule.
And let’s give a nod to the boys in red. Torco Racing Fuels Honda’s Kevin Windham put in a solid 20 laps for his first podium of the new season, while Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Lastly, it was very good night for the upstart Gibbs Racing/Toyota/Yamaha team, as both of their riders scored top 10 finishes (Josh Hansen 8th, Charles Summey 9th).
Now it’s back to Anaheim, and we’re all even again at the top!