St. Louis Race Report

April 19, 2008 11:59pm
In the last three rounds of Monster Energy/AMA Supercross racing, it's expected that one champion be crowned at each round. In St. Louis, the first supercross champion of 2008 was made official.

Coming into the event, Lites legend Ryan Villopoto, of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad, trailed Torco Racing Fuels Honda's Trey Canard by three points, and with both riders sitting on three wins, essentially whoever won the race would win the championship. It seemed most "in the know" assumed Villopoto, who has proven championship cred, would do as he has done for the last three weeks and go out and win the race, and the championship.

However - and yes, it's cliche - but there's a reason why they run the races.

Canard (48) grabbed the holeshot in the Lites main, but Villopoto's teammate Branden Jesseman (77) took over the lead right off.

Canard's teammate Josh Grant (20) took over second temporarily, although Canard was able to pass his teammate back without much of a fight.

Grant (20) fought off Villopoto (2) early in the main while Canard worked on Jesseman out front.

Canard (48) grabbed the lead, but it didn't last long, as Villopoto (2) came through and passed both him and his teammate Jesseman for the lead.

Canard (48) tried to fight back...

...but he wasn't having an easy time of it, surrounded by PC bikes.

Villopoto (2) began pulling away from Canard (48), and it seemed as if the race - and the championship - was over.

However, Canard (48) began closing back in on Villopoto (2), and two turns before the finish on lap six...

...Canard (48) was close enough to challenge.

Then, in the very next turn, Canard (48) jumped to the inside of Villopoto (2) and the two collided...

...with Villopoto (2) catching the short end of that stick and hitting the finish-line pole (a la the famous Eric Sorby/Travis Preston incident of a few years ago).

That was all it took. Canard went on to win the race - his fourth of the year - and the championship, in his rookie season.

Jesseman hung on for his best finish of the year in second, while Grant finished third and Villopoto recovered for fourth.

Canard celebrates his first professional championship.

Canard claims his prize.

The Lites podium, with Canard (center) and his number-one plate, flanked by second-placed Jesseman (left) and third-placed Grant (right).

Then came the 450cc main, where Canard's teammate Kevin Windham (14) was hoping to capitalize on San Manuel Yamaha's Chad Reed's (22) injury to gain some much needed points heading down the home stretch.

However, it was Reed (22) with the early lead, with Windham (14) second and Motosport/Xtreme Kawasaki's Tommy Hahn (foreground) third.

Windham (14) put pressure on Reed (22) right away...

...and kept the pressure up, until...

...Windham (14) finally made the pass on lap four in the whoops. The injured Reed (22) couldn't do much about it...

...and Windham went on to win his third main event of the season.

However, Reed hung on for second, which meant that Windham was only able to gain three points on his rival. Windham now trails Reed by 13 with two races left.

Honda Red Bull Racing's Andrew Short grabbed the final podium spot in a race marred with crashes, including a first-turn fall that cost Monster Energy Kawasaki's Timmy Ferry his race, and another first-lap race that knocked Short's teammate Davi Millsaps down, forcing him to come from behind for sixth.

Reed's teammate Nathan Ramsey had his strongest race of the year, finishing fourth.

And Hahn finished a strong fifth.

Windham (middle) celebrates his win, while Reed (left) looks much less happy with second, and Short (right) hangs onto his third-place trophy.

AMA Supercross Class Results, St. Louis
1. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
4. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
5. Thomas Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Kawasaki
6. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Honda
7. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
8. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Honda
9. Travis Preston, Hesperia, Calif., Kawasaki
10. Jason Thomas, Melrose, Fla., Honda
AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha, 318
2. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 305
3. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Honda, 244
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 241
5. Joshua Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Yamaha, 196
6. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki, 190
7. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 173
8. David Vuillemin, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 146
9. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Honda, 136
10. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., KTM, 131
AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, St. Louis
1. Trey Canard, Elk City, Okla., Honda
2. Branden Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki
3. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Honda, 71
4. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
5. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
6. Kyle Chisholm, Seminole, Fla., Kawasaki
7. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM, 70
8. Nico Izzi, Saint Clair., Mich., Suzuki
9. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., KTM
10. Billy Payne, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda, 60
Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Trey Canard, Elk City, Okla., Honda, 147
2. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 137
3. Nico Izzi, Saint Clair., Mich., Suzuki, 99
4. Branden Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki, 94
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Honda, 91
6. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ken., Yamaha, 86
7. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 84
8. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM, 84
9. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., KTM, 73
10. Billy Payne, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda, 71