Monster Energy Kawasaki Rider James Stewart Wins Phoenix

January 14, 2008 11:05am

PHOENIX (January 14, 2008) – Monster Energy Kawasaki rider James Stewart took the win and a share of the points lead during the second round of the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross Series, an FIM Championship with an impressive victory at Chase Field.

After a clean start, Stewart ran a smooth race, leading all 20 laps of the main event to put his Kawasaki KX™450F on the top step of the podium for the first time this season. His teammate Timmy Ferry didn’t fare as well, a rider knocked one of the safety blocks on the track in front of him, leaving Ferry with no place to go. The veteran recovered to finish 10th.

The Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites race was an action filled event with the top five riders trading positions throughout the feature. One of the riders involved in the thrilling duel was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Brett Metcalfe who finished on the podium in third.

Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent

Stewart’s wire-to-wire victory was his 25th career supercross win and though he was challenged early, he was able to pull out to a comfortable lead later in the race. The win comes on the heels of Stewart running a tactical race in the season opener after being hit from behind in the first corner.

“I had a good start and we made it past where we did last weekend so that was a plus,” said Stewart. “I was definitely pumped going into that first corner and I knew I didn’t want to tip over. I knew Chad (Reed) was going to make a charge, that’s what he does and I just let the race come to me.  I think he almost made a pass on me, but I wasn’t too worried, it is a long race and a long season and we have to be smart about it. I rode as hard as the track would let me.  Every race, every lap it gets tougher and tougher, but I’m not worried about my endurance.  I feel good, I’m super stoked.  I’m happy for everybody at Monster Energy Kawasaki, this is our first win for Kawasaki in a while and for me it is satisfying. It’s good to get a solid race under our belt and also a win, it definitely feels good.”

The layout of the Chase Field track allowed the riders to choose one of two whoops sections on every lap.  The outside line started with three small jumps followed by the whoops section while the inside line was just the opposite.  It began with a whoops section and closed with three jumps. During the first practice, the riders experimented with each line but in the second session, nearly all of the riders stayed to the inside. Stewart’s fast lap during both practices came by using the inside line and during the race he continued to use the preferred line until he ran into lapped traffic.

“With the little berm on the inside line it was definitely getting rough going into it,” said Stewart.  “The toughest part was when you get to lappers.  The outside was obviously slower and I have to thank Mikey (Williamson) for the timely signal, because I went to the outside to get around them and he may have got past me if I went to the outside again.”

For Ferry, the race was more difficult as he got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time on the opening lap. He was running fourth when he hit a track block thrown out in front of him, but the veteran recovered well to finish 10th.

“I think if I could have just moved over two feet or predicted the future, I would have known what to do,” said Ferry. “I had a good start and was running near the front when a guy in front of me hit a block and kicked it out on the track. I didn’t have anywhere to go and I just went down. There wasn’t much I could do about it.”

Though he faced adversity during the race, Ferry made the most of it and battled his way through the field.

“I had the fourth fastest time during the race and considering I was passing guys, I’m happy with that,” said Ferry. “I actually felt like I rode better this weekend than I did at Anaheim. For the most part I rode a good race and just had some bad things happen.  We’ll move on the next week and keep riding well.”

In the AMA Supercross Lites class, Metcalfe rebounded from a tough season opener to put his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki KX™250F on the podium. Metcalfe rode a steady race never losing contact with the leaders and battled in some pretty tight situations to finish third.

“I am glad we were in the battle this week,” said Metcalfe. “Unlike last week, I kept it together, made the triples and kept it on two wheels. We have six races to go and it helps a lot to get up on the podium. I know everything is there and I’ve got to put it together and I was able to do that. I’ve got that feeling in me. Now I just need to maintain it for the rest of the year.”

Metcalfe’s teammate Austin Stroupe opened fast at Phoenix, finishing the first practice session with the second fastest time. Unfortunately he couldn’t keep the speed as he failed to qualify for the main event.

“I had a great start in the heat race but I went over the top of the berm,” said Stroupe. “Then I had a problem in the rhythm section which pretty much ended that race for me. In the last chance qualifier I got a decent start but I was on the outside and I got bumped and I just couldn’t make it back up.  I’m going to refocus and continue working hard to eliminate mistakes.”

The Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki team came into the Phoenix event on the strength of two top-10 finishes. In Phoenix, Tommy Hahn finished 14th and Andrew McFarlane 21st  and the team looks to regain its momentum again at Angel Stadium next week.

Next week, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team will be back at Angel Stadium for retro night. The layout will mimic the track used for what some consider the greatest supercross race of all time, the 1986 Anaheim event.  Looking ahead to it, Stewart thinks the retro track will be entertaining for the fans.

“I think it is going to be pretty cool,” said the defending series champion Stewart. “It’s going to be a change for us with the track going old school.  (Series track designer) Dirt Wurx and everyone knows what they’re doing and hopefully they won’t put the two foot table tops that look like a wall out there.”

Monster Energy® AMA Supercross
Chase Field
January 12, 2008

AMA Supercross Series
1 James M Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Monster Energy Kawasaki
2 Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha
3 Kevin Windham, Centreville, 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 Joshua Hansen, Murrieta, Calif, Yamaha
9 Charles J Summey, Huntersville, N.C., Yamaha
10 Timmy Ferry, Largo, Fla, Monster Energy Kawasaki
19 Jeff Gibson Blacklick, Ohio,  Kawasaki

Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites
1, Jake Weimer, Rupert, ID, Honda
2, Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, MN, Suzuki
3, Brett Metcalfe, Murrieta, CA, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
4, Broc Hepler, Kittanning, PA, Yamaha
5, Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, CA, Yamaha
6, Justin Brayton, Murrieta, CA, KTM
7, Wil Hahn, Decatur, TX, Yamaha
8, Daniel James Reardon, Murrieta, CA, Honda
9, Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, TX, Honda
10, Billy Laninovich, Lake Elsinore, CA, KTM
14, Thomas Hahn, Alvord, TX, Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki
21, Andrew McFarlane, Menifee, CA, Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki