Weekly Notes Part 2: Anaheim 2 – This Week in Monster Energy® Supercross
AURORA, Ill. (January 18, 2008) – Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, returns to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., for Round 3 of 17. Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Team San Manuel’s Chad Reed are tied at 47 points a piece in the AMA Supercross class heading into the weekend. In the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey leads Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence 47-38.
This weekend the Suzuki factory race team prepares for their return to Angel Stadium in Anaheim for Round 3 of racing at this venue.
Dungey, 2007 AMA Rookie of the Year for AMA Supercross/Motocross, heads into this throwback Anaheim 2 race, having won the first Lites round at Angel Stadium two weeks ago. Dungey followed up that performance with an impressive second-place finish at Phoenix. The 18-year-old Dungey is in southern California training on his Suzuki RM-Z250 under the tutelage of his mentor Johnny O’Mara.
“Hopefully there’s no rain in the forecast this week,” said Dungey, referring to the first Anaheim race’s swamp-like conditions, thanks to southern California rains. “Then we can get in some good riding days and do our program. So far, we’ve been testing at the Suzuki test track because you’re always trying to get better. Right now, the RM-Z250 is great and I’m really happy with it. I feel like we’re going in the right direction. Wednesday night, we had an autograph signing at Chaparral, and that’s always one of the more enjoyable ones because a lot of people show up and all the teams are there. The line of fans wraps around the whole building; it’s pretty cool.”
In the AMA Supercross class, Dungey’s teammates Mike Alessi and David Vuillemin are also in southern California training on their Suzuki RM-Z450s in preparation for Anaheim 2 race.
“Last week we focused on being more aggressive and better corner speed, which I believe I made improvement on,” said Alessi, who won the Progressive Holeshot Award in last week’s AMA Supercross class main. “This week I’m focused on getting my results closer to being on the podium. We are testing at the Suzuki track much all of the week with a fun ride day on Thursday. Finally, my girlfriend Danielle’s grandmother is turning 90 on Friday, and we’ll do something special for her.”
Added Vuillemin: “For most of this week I’ll be focused on testing and training like my teammates. I plan to test one day and then do some general supercross and motocross riding to get ready for the throwback race in Anaheim. I’ve also been working out regularly at the gym, playing racquetball, bicycling and swimming. I feel good about this second Anaheim race. It’s close to home and it’s the center of the world for the first several races of the season. The 1986-like track will be pretty interesting. I hope it will be good for the bikes of 2008!”
Brayton, who was fresh off a podium finish at Anaheim 1, finished sixth at Phoenix while his teammate finished 10th. Although sixth wasn’t as high up as he would like to have placed, Brayton was still able to benefit from the Phoenix round. “I learned in Phoenix that I can run with the top six guys,” said Brayton. “I was in contention for a podium spot throughout the entire race. Now, I just need to be more aggressive.”
Laninovich had a better result in Phoenix than Anaheim 1. “I was able to stay in the top ten and was not far off the leader’s pace. Now that I know the pace I have to run, I will be better prepared for the second round at Anaheim,” commented Laninovich.
Both riders are excited about the throwback track planned for the Anaheim 2. Brayton, who was ill this week, is regaining strength and said he looks forward to riding a course that’s not in the normal routine. “I’ve been working with Rick Johnson, who is assisting in developing the Anaheim 2 track, and from what he’s told me, it should be fun,” reported Brayton. “However, if it’s as fast as everyone says, then I will have to bring out my old Toyota AMA Arenacross Series skills.”
MDK KTM factory rider Nick Wey is excited for Anaheim 2. “It looks like we will have good weather this time, so I am excited to ride a dry course at Anaheim 2.” Wey didn’t have the best of luck at last weekend’s race but feels confident in himself and the bike going into the third round.
In addition to busily preparing for the weekend’s race, the teams also celebrated MDK KTM factory rider Martin Davalos’ 21st birthday on Tuesday. Davalos is busy training at his home in Georgia as he is set to contend the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship.
The Monster Energy® Kawasaki team is rolling back to Angel Stadium as Monster Energy® Supercross turns back the clock for throwback night.
The team’s pit area will also have a museum feel as they bring back historic Kawasaki motorcycles to the event. Fans will be able to see the evolution of a supercross motorcycle as bikes from a bygone era will be on display. Jeff Ward’s 1984 Kawasaki SR125 factory race bike that won the AMA Motocross Lites championship will be on display, along with his 1987 AMA Supercross class championship winning Kawasaki SR250. Also under the tent will be the bike Ward rode to the 1988 AMA Motocross championship, a Kawasaki SR250 factory race bike. The display will also feature old photographs and team gear.
In the Monster Energy® area, Jeff Emig’s 1996 AMA Motocross championship-winning Kawasaki will be on display.
With history on everyone’s mind at Anaheim, Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Stewart hopes to repeat his performance from last year where he won his second Anaheim 2 race (2003 supercross lites). Stewart feels he is ready to stay on the top step of the podium.
“It was good to get a solid race under my belt,” said Stewart, the defending AMA Supercross class champion. “To get the win in Phoenix feels really good, but we better show up this weekend, too, because it is going to be a tough race. The track should be pretty cool. It will be a change with them going old school but it should be fun.”
For Timmy Ferry, the throwback night will be like old-home week as the 31-year-old rider turned pro in 1991. With all of his experience, Ferry sees similarities between the Chase Field layout and the Anaheim 2 track at Angel Stadium – giving him confidence for the race.
“I expect the track to be a lot like Phoenix,” said Ferry. “It should be pretty easy, kind of fast, but who knows how bikes are are going to adapt to that kind of track with the different style jumps. I think the racing will be really close and we should be fast again.”
In the AMA Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Brett Metcalfe scored a podium finish in a very competitive race at Phoenix. With the championship moving to an older layout, Metcalfe isn’t overly concerned.
“I think it’s going to be cool to see what happens,” said Metcalfe. “There are going to be some different obstacles and different stuff which should be exciting, but no matter what, it’s always going to be the best guys at the front. I’m going to run a solid race and be a little more aggressive to stay up front.”
Metcalfe’s teammate Austin Stroupe is looking to repeat the performance he had in his AMA Supercross Lites debut two weeks ago at Angel Stadium. Stroupe, who was born four years after this layout was first raced, finished fifth in his debut.
JGR Yamaha’s squad answered back in Phoenix after lackluster performances by Josh Hansen and Charles Summey. Hansen and Summey finished ninth and 10th respectively, giving the team its first two top 10 finishes.
Team Solitaire’s Ryan Clark has gotten off to a rocky start in 2008 as he has failed to make the main event at the opening two rounds. In Phoenix he spent most of the week working with the local media, which provided some valuable coverage and track time for the AMA Supercross class veteran.
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