450 Words: Steel City

September 2, 2008 12:08pm
Glen Helen
1. James Stewart (1-1)
2. Mike Alessi (2-2)
3. Davi Millsaps (3-3)
4. Tim Ferry (4-4)
5. Ivan Tedesco (7-5)
6. Michael Byrne (9-7)
7. Sean Hamblin (8-8)
8. Cody Cooper (14-6)
9. Nick Wey (10-10)
10. Jeff Alessi 13-9)
Steel City
1. James Stewart (1-1)
2. Tim Ferry (2-2)
3. Broc Hepler (3-3)
4. Michael Byrne (4-4)
5. Andrew Short (5-7)
6. Jimmy Albertson (7-6)
7. Sean Hamblin (6-9)
8. Josh Hill (11-5)
9. Ivan Tedesco (9-8)
10. Matt Boni (13-11)

{LINKS} When interviewing and talking to riders prior to the start of a new season, it’s a common practice to ask them where they’d like to see themselves finishing by season’s end.  So for this final year-end “450 Words” feature, I decided to take the top 10 from Steel City and compare them to the top 10 from the opening round of the series, which took place over three months prior on May 25 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA.

James Stewart, who Steve Matthes claimed to be a “dark horse” prior to the season because of his knee injury, managed to stay pretty consistent throughout the ’08 season, scoring wins in every single moto and leading all but 13 of the 382 laps. He finished up his season just like he began it—a perfect 1-1.

  • Broc Hepler
Stewart’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate, Tim Ferry, scored a solid 2-2 at Steel City after battling with hometown hero Broc Hepler. Ferry finished 4-4 at Glen Helen after a so-so supercross season.

Probably one of the most obvious home-track advantages we see in the sport today belongs to Broc Hepler and Steel City. After another injury-plagued season, Steel City marked Hepler’s third race back, and after being lapped a week ago at Southwick and finishing a mediocre 11-18, Hepler came to Delmont and ran an impressive 3-3 in the premier class. But Glen Helen, on the other hand, is his absolute worst track. He was on the sidelines this time, but he’s never done well there overall.

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Michael Byrne finished a quiet fourth overall with a 4-4 at Steel City. At Glen Helen he finished sixth overall via 9-7 scores. His summer resurgence was one of the feel-good stories of the series.

Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short went 5-7 for fifth overall at Steel City. Back at Glen Helen he finished fifth in the first moto, but a mechanical in Moto 2 gave him a 36th.

  • Andrew Short
Short’s teammate-for-a-day, Jimmy Albertson, went a rock-solid 7-6 for sixth overall and pulled the second moto holeshot in his debut as a Honda factory rider. At Glen Helen Albertson was a no-show as he was in the midst of working out a deal for the outdoors—he was still a privateer!

Sean Hamblin finished seventh overall at Steel City with a 6-9 on a factory Yamaha, coming from way back in both motos; he was seventh overall at Glen Helen on a privateer Tuf Powersports-backed Yamaha. His story (and Tuf Racing and Yamaha both stepping up for him) is another good one.

Team Yamaha’s Josh Hill was eighth overall at Steel City with an 11-5, a vast improvement over his 34-15 at Glen Helen. But it was still not what was expected from this mercurial factory rider, though there was some consistency: His pants came undone at both races!

Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco went 9-8 for ninth overall in Delmont; he went 7-5 for fifth overall at Glen Helen, but was probably a bit healthier, too.

DNA Energy/BTOSports.com/BBMX’s Matt Boni finished 10th at Steel City with a 13-11. It was his second top 10 of 2008 (he finished eighth overall at Unadilla.) Boni was a no-show at Glen Helen.

For more on Steel City and a wrap-up of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championships, check out the Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com.