As if there was any doubt, the Detroit, Mich. round of the 2008 AMA Supercross series on April 12 proved that Chad Reed is one of the toughest athletes on the planet. After suffering a huge crash in practice and going to the hospital battered and bruised, he still rode his L&M Racing YZ450F to a remarkable 12th place in the 20-lap main event to preserve a 16-point lead over Kevin Windham with just three races to go in the championship. Meanwhile Josh Hill finished a strong fourth to maintain fifth place in the series on his Yamaha Factory Racing YZ450F, while Ryan Morais claimed a terrific second in the Supercross Lites race aboard his Yamaha of Troy YZ250F.
Reed’s crash happened in the first practice session, when he cart-wheeled hard onto a take-off ramp with his bike landing on top of him. After medical evaluation, he returned to the track and used a provisional starting position to get into the main event. When the gate dropped Reed suffered more bad luck in a first-turn crash, picking up his YZ with one hand afterwards and then chasing after the field in last place. Incredibly, he passed rider after rider to finally get to 12th and earn nine valuable points. “I’ve always been the guy that goes out there and gives it everything I possibly can,” an exhausted Reed said afterwards. “I couldn’t do it tonight – I had nothing. But we’re going to fight to the end.”
Hill’s experience was thankfully more pleasant. He got a top-10 start and began moving forward from there, steadily working his way up to fourth behind Windham on lap four and then strongly challenging for a podium finish. But the long race ultimately took a toll as Hill tightened up and had to settle for fourth. “It was good to see Josh set the fastest time in practice and win his second heat race of the year,” said Yamaha Supercross team manager Jim Perry. “I was also glad to see Ryan get back on pace in Supercross Lites. It was one of his better rides, and another good result for the Yamaha of Troy team.”
Moto X Gold for Burkhart, Adams & Hepler
Yamaha riders had a field day by winning four “gold helmets” – the highest honor – at the inaugural Moto X World Championships at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. on April 12-13. Graves Motorsports’ Mark Burkhart claimed the win in the SuperMoto race on his YZ450F and freestyle maestro Nate Adams flew his YZ250 to the Speed & Style gold on Saturday. Then on Sunday, Yamaha Factory Racing Supercross Lites star Broc Hepler took the win in the Moto X final on his YZ250F, while Adams repeated with Freestyle gold. With a huge TV audience watching close-up coverage, Yamaha definitely came out on top on this sunny SoCal weekend.
Burkhart started Yamaha’s win fest with a commanding victory in the 10-lap SuperMoto final, which joined a Supercross-style track inside the stadium with a parking-lot outside loop. He won his heat race and got to the first turn in mid-pack in the main event, only to get shoved wide in turn two. Burkhart took most of the race to progress through the field, mastering a brave triple-triple jump combination to gain time on the leaders. He cruised to the win after taking over the lead from Jeff Ward on lap eight. “My bike definitely worked better than other guys’ in the dirt,” he admitted. “I know the suspension helped me do that triple.” Later on Saturday, Adams busted out an exhilarating performance to win the Speed & Style competition, in which two riders simultaneously perform on separate courses, throwing freestyle jumps together with speed on the racetrack.
On Sunday Yamaha Factory Racing’s Broc Hepler returned to action after breaking his thumb last February, finishing second in his heat while Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence won his own. Interestingly the two YZ250F riders were the only 250 riders in the main event. Although Lawrence crashed in the race Hepler got off to a great start, taking the lead on lap two and holding it to the finish against a field of 450s. “I was glad to see Broc come back so strong and I am looking forward to seeing him in the two remaining Supercross Lites rounds in Seattle and Las Vegas,” said Yamaha Supercross team manager Jim Perry. Later Adams put the finishing touches on the weekend by winning the Freestyle competition to earn his second Moto X gold.
Congratulations to all!