450 Words: A2

January 21, 2008 3:23pm

It only took three races for the 2008 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, to take on an entirely different complexion. It started out looking to be a two-horse race between defending champion James Stewart on his Monster Energy Kawasaki, and that of 2004 AMA champion Chad Reed on his San Manuel Yamaha. They split wins in the first two events and came into Round 3, tied with 47 points apiece. But prior to the main event Saturday night, James Stewart made a shocking announcement at 6:15 p.m. that he would be bowing out of the race—and likely the entire season—with a knee injury, putting sole control of the championship into the hands of Reed. You can watch the announcement from Saturday night on Racer X Films.

What happened next came to nobody’s surprise, really. Reed rode both his heat and main event looking calm and relaxed, taking full advantage of Stewart’s absence by putting in 20 clean and consistent laps to take a convincing win—his second of 2008—over premier-class rookie Josh Hill and veteran Kevin Windham. In fact, the win now puts Reed in front of Bob Hannah on the all-time SX win list, and he’s tied with Rick Johnson, who was honored as part of the opening ceremonies. But chances are that won’t be for long. With Stewart on the sideline, barring injury, bad luck or a mechanical failure, Reed now has a chance to win out. It’s definitely not out of the question. Reed has never been known to throw it away. The series is headed to San Francisco this weekend, and it may be wet, again, which could be the only thing that derails Reed.

But if he did win out, that would give him 15 consecutive wins, topping the existing record of 13 wins in a season which is shared by both RC and MC; and would give him a total of 16 in the 17-race series.

Kevin Windham sits second in points.

And look who is in second place in points now—Kevin Windham. The Torco Racing Fuels Honda rider is only 16-points down on Reed, and if there’s any rider who could step up and challenge Reed, it’s Windham. His 5-3-3 scores is proof that his confidence and speed is building each race, so here’s hoping Windham put everything together for 20 laps.

And let’s not forget the incredible ride by Yamaha’s Josh Hill, who finished second in only his third AMA Supercross main event. Hill kept Reed in his sights for the first half of the race, and we can expect to see the young Yoncalla, Oregon, resident on the podium again. Yamaha had to be nervous when they were riding close, as they had a little dust-up practicing earlier in the week, but in the end, a 1-2 for blue didn’t seem remotely possible just an hour before the race,