AURORA, Ill. (January 25, 2008) – With three rounds of Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, in the books, Team San Manuel’s Chad Reed, of Tampa, Fla., races for his second win at San Francisco’s AT&T Park this Saturday. Reed, the current AMA Supercross class points leader won in San Francisco in 2004. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle, Plaine, Minn., scored his second Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class win last weekend in Anaheim, Calif., and will make his San Francisco debut this weekend. Dungey leads Yamaha’s Broc Hepler, of Kittanning, Pa., 72-50.
This weekend marks the inaugural broadcast of Monster Energy® Supercross in high-definition technology on CBS Sports, Sunday, January 27 at Noon EST. CBS Sports opened the 2008 season with a one-hour preview show and will air a total of seven races this year before closing out the championship with a season-recap show Sunday, May 4 at Noon. The Western Regional AMA Supercross class will air on SPEED Saturday, February 2 at 6:00 p.m.
Going into this weekend’s AMA Supercross race in San Francisco, the Suzuki Factory Racing team is revved up and ready to go. Flying high off of last week’s victory in the AMA Supercross Lites race at Anaheim 2, Dungey is excited about his San Francisco debut. Dungey’s AMA Supercross-class teammates, Mike Alessi and David Vuillemin, are just as eager to return to the city where they’ve had strong results.
After three races, 2007 AMA Rookie of the Year for AMA Supercross/Motocross Dungey has two victories and a second-place finish for the 2008 season. He’s hoping to pick up another win at AT&T Park this Saturday night.
“I’ve never been to San Francisco, so I don’t know what to expect,” admitted Dungey. “But racing in a new stadium should be cool and the track map looks fun, so it should be a good time. I’m looking forward to it. So far this year, I’ve tried to be consistent – that’s what we work hard for, you know, to be the strongest guy out there, to make good decisions and put yourself in good places on the track. I know the weather forecast calls for rain and if it’s a mudder – well, we’re going into the weekend with a positive outlook and we’ll be prepared for whatever the race brings.”
Meanwhile, Dungey’s teammate Alessi raced in San Francisco in 2006 and picked up a podium position while contesting the AMA Supercross Lites class. Going into this weekend’s race, Alessi has two, confidence-building main-event holeshots under his belt and is looking to bring home a top-five finish.
“Going into San Francisco, my training schedule will be the same as always,” said Alessi, who finished fourth at Anaheim 2 last weekend. “We leave for San Francisco Wednesday night in the motor home and that should be an adventure. Because we have a free day there, we plan to tour Alcatraz and maybe see the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m excited about the race because the last time I raced there it rained and I actually had a lot of fun. It was my first-ever podium in AMA Supercross and I got third. I like riding in the mud.”
Like Alessi, Vuillemin has had good experiences and strong results at San Francisco in the past. Going into the race weekend, the Frenchman has been training and testing with the team, focusing on sprints and raw speed.
“I like San Francisco,” said Vuillemin. “I’ve done well in several races in the city and the racing is pretty fun. It looks like we are going to have some rain, though. AT&T Park is an open stadium and I hope the track crew will do a good job covering the track and making it safe. I am staying in San Francisco on Friday and downtown is pretty fun. I’m looking forward to doing some shopping before I go to the stadium to prepare for the race.”
Monster Energy® Kawasaki is ready to race in San Francisco, and Timmy Ferry is hoping he can get a clear first lap and not have to drive through the field like he has the last two races. Ferry has run well on the AT&T Park layout, finishing fourth last year.
“I’m looking forward to the soft dirt in San Francisco,” said Ferry. “Hopefully the rain won’t be too bad and maybe even hold off because I run well there. It’s a technical track, kind off like the Anaheim 2 track with the sand, which will let me use some of my talent to get up front.”
If it is muddy, Ferry can look to the sloppy conditions of the season opener to know he has a good chance. Ferry finished third at Anaheim 1 on a track that was muddy throughout the event.
Ferry will be racing without a teammate at San Francisco as James Stewart underwent surgery this week to repair his injured left knee. Though he had a win and a second in the first two races, Stewart was not at his best and he and the team decided it would be best for him to get his knee fixed as soon as possible.
“I’m really sorry for the fans,” said Stewart. “We’re going to get through this, and I’m going to be as ready as I’ve ever been when I get back on my bike.”
The second race in Anaheim provided momentum for the Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team as Austin Stroupe earned his first career AMA Supercross Lites podium and his teammate Brett Metcalfe finished fifth. Stroupe earned the holeshot in the main event and rode a steady race to finish third. The young rider is hoping to keep running up front.
“Anaheim 2 was great, and I just need to keep concentrating to stay on the podium,” said Stroupe. “It is a big change to be running supercross and battling these great riders every week, so I just need to stay focused. For San Francisco I’m going to be ready to get another great start and hopefully another good finish.”
After his fifth place finish at Anaheim 2, Metcalfe was ready to race again as he missed another podium finish. The Australian rider finished third in Phoenix two weeks ago.
“I just need to be a little more aggressive,” said Metcalfe. “We have everything in place and as long as I ride the way I know I can, I’ll be back on the podium in San Francisco.”
MDK KTM rider Nick Wey is excited to head North to San Francisco for the fourth race of the Monster Energy® Supercross season.
Wey, who has suffered from bad starts the last two events, thus forcing himself to have to work through the pack, is excited about the possibility of another mud race. A ninth-place finish at Anaheim 1 has been the highlight of his season so far, and he looks to improve upon that result this Saturday.
“I have made the necessary changes to my training and my bike in the past week that should positively effect how I place this weekend in San Francisco,” commented Wey.
MDK KTM Factory Team Manager Steve Lamson agrees, “We’ve struggled the past few rounds, but we are putting that behind us and have full confidence that this week will bring the results we know Nick and his MDK KTM machine are capable of.”
MDK KTM Lites rider Justin Brayton is recovering from a cold that has plagued him since last Friday. “I’ve spent the last couple days resting so this cold doesn’t get the best of me. Last weekend’s race was tough; it hurt my head to even put my helmet on, and my body was more fatigued than normal,” stated Brayton. Despite the illness, Brayton did manage a top-10 finish at the third race that would have been closer to a top five had he not fallen in the sand section on the last lap. He still managed to salvage ninth place and now sits fourth in overall points. “I am pumped for a mud race this weekend, because I did well in the last one and I need to make up some points.”
His teammate Billy Laninovich is looking forward to showing fans that he can ride in the mud. Laninovich had a spell of bad luck at the Anaheim 1 mud race and was not able to qualify for the main event. Since then he has finished inside the top 10 at the last two rounds. He intends to continue his upward trend by improving upon his seventh-place finish he earned last weekend. “I’m improving every week. I feel comfortable on my bike and my endurance is there,” reported Laninovich.
MDK KTM Team Manager Danny Paladino is confident in both Lites riders and also excited about heading North. “MDK was originally started in Northern California so we are excited to go to San Francisco and race in front of our hometown crowd.”
Yamaha’s Josh Hill, of Yoncalla, Ore., finished a season best second place at Angel Stadium. A rookie in the premier AMA Supercross class, Hill, 18, currently sits in ninth place with 37 points. As a rookie in last year’s AMA Supercross Lites class, Hill, who is the youngest rider within the top 10 in AMA Supercross class points this year, finished third overall last year.
“These guys that I am racing were my heroes growing up,” said Hill. “I got on the line tonight and said that I am as good as these guys. I was worried about keeping pace with Chad (Reed). I knew that if I could do that, I would be up near the front. I tried as hard as I could to stay up there. All of the guys at Yamaha have been helping me so much. It has been a phenomenal season so far. I am so happy. I put in so much hard work during the off-season and it’s paying off.”
Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider James Stewart, the defending Championship title holder and points leader heading into Round Three, did not compete in last Saturday night’s race in Anaheim, Calif. Stewart injured his left knee during his win in Phoenix, and after evaluating the injury following practice, Stewart and the team decided to not compete in tonight’s event.
Although Stewart is out for the season, Chad Reed doesn’t expect the next 14 races to be a cake walk.
“I think with James gone, it’s almost harder, because you have to be so much more focused,” said Reed. “I am going to try and put my head down and get some wins. They changed up the track, and it seemed like everyone was a little lost. It got rough, and everything was not perfect. We put the bike in cruise control and watched the laps go down.”
Torco Fuels Honda-backed Kevin Windham, of Centerville, Miss., earned his second consecutive podium last weekend, finished third behind Hill. Windham, who is 11 years older than Hill, says that the next generation of supercross riders provides a bright future for the AMA Supercross class.
“With all of these young kids coming up, it shows that the sport has a bright future,” said Windham. “
After missing the entire 2006 and 2007 AMA Supercross Lites class seasons due to injuries, Yamaha’s Broc Hepler scored his first podium of the 2008 Western Regional AMA Supercross season last weekend in Anaheim.
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