Houston Supercross Race Report

January 25, 2009 2:31am | by:
The Houston Supercross featured cold weather outside, and a strange track design inside. The first turn was actually a chicane, with the riders bearing left in a 90-degree turn into a 180-degree left, then an immediate 180-degree right. What it meant on the track was carnage, and lots of it.

  • The 450s get going, with Mike Alessi (800) taking his typical spot at the front of the pack.
  • After passing his way through the top five, James Stewart took his third win in a row and cut Chad Reed's points lead to just nine.
  • Chad Reed almost had the holeshot, but a bobble in the crowded first couple of corners cost him. Still, he came through for second again.
  • Ryan Villopoto led early before giving way to Stewart. Still, he was second for much of the race before a fall cost him the spot. He did grab his first podium, though, with third.
  • Andrew Short had another strong ride, finishing fourth.
  • Josh Grant continues to remain up front, finishing fifth.
  • After taking the win, Stewart did a victory lap. It was almost as cool as his opening-ceremonies bit.
  • The 450cc podium gets its rewards, with Stewart (center) flanked by Reed (left) and Villopoto (right).
In the 450cc class, points leader and defending champ Chad Reed of the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team looked to have the main-event holeshot, but as was frequently the case in the chaotic first turn, he was pushed out and his teammate Mike Alessi actually came away with the holeshot while Reed was hung up in the first turn, which dropped him outside the top ten.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto made short work of Alessi out front and took over the lead, while Alessi went backward, losing spots to both Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short and San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart. Stewart moved into second before the end of the first complete lap and set out after Villopoto.

However, he didn’t gain on Villopoto initially until Villopoto began making a few mistakes, which allowed Stewart to catch him. On lap four, Stewart finally made a move on Villopoto entering a section of three tabletops in which the fastest line was to jump across the tops. When Stewart made the pass, he allowed Villopoto back up the inside and lost his own drive into the tabletops. Villopoto quickly took the lead back, only to lose it again a couple of turns later.

With Stewart out front, he set sail, although he didn’t pull out a dramatic amount over Villopoto for most of the race.

Reed rounded the first lap in eighth and began moving forward. By lap five, he moved by JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant for fourth, and had only Short, Villopoto and Stewart in front of him. On lap 13, Reed made his way by Short for third, and that very lap, one turn before the finish, Villopoto washed his front end out and went down, handing Reed second.

The finishing order was set, with Stewart taking his third win in a row over Reed, Villopoto (his first podium in the 450cc class), Short and Grant.

Stewart now trails Reed by only nine points, 86-77, with 13 rounds still left to run. Stewart also sits tied for second in points with Grant.

  • Christophe Pourcel led every lap of the Lites main event.
  • Brett Metcalfe worked his way through from the tail end of the top five to finish second in his Honda (and number-24) debut.
  • Nico Izzi ran as high as second and finished third.
  • Austin Stroupe (981) makes a tough pass on Vince Friese (719) early in the main for fifth. Stroupe eventually finished fourth. Friese dropped out with apparent bike problems.
  • Blake Wharton rode a smart and smooth race to fifth.
  • The Lites podium, with Pourcel (center), Metcalfe (left) and Izzi (right).
The Lites class saw the debut of the 2009 Lites Eastern Regional Supercross Championship, and as such, the 2009 debut of a whole slew of riders.

Just like the 450cc class, the Lites class saw havoc in the first turn, but Frenchman Christophe Pourcel, of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, got away clean with the lead in the early going, with teammate Austin Stroupe chasing Yamaha’s Darryn Durham and miscalculating the tabletop second and knocking them both off the track, handing second to Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Nico Izzi and third to GEICO Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe.

Metcalfe chased Izzi around for almost half the race before Izzi began to slow and Metcalfe found his way by for second. From there, Metcalfe put in the work to try and chase down Pourcel, but he couldn’t gain fast enough, and Pourcel hung on for the win, followed closely by Metcalfe, and then Izzi, Stroupe and rookie Blake Wharton.

After their opener, the Lites East takes a break for a few weeks while the Lites West goes back to work next weekend in San Francisco.

Houston Lites Main:
1. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
2. Brett Metcalfe Hon
3. Nico Izzi Suz
4. Austin Stroupe Kaw
5. Blake Wharton Hon
6. Wil Hahn KTM
7. Martin Davalos KTM
8. Darryn Durham Yam
9. Daniel Blair Hon
10. Matt Goerke Suz
11. Jacob Saylor Yam
12. Branden Jesseman Kaw
13. Steven Clarke Suz
14. Hunter Hewitt Kaw
15. Teddy Parks Suz
16. Tyler Wharton Hon
17. Kyle Gills Kaw
18. Matt Lemoine Yam
19. Chad Ward Kaw
20. Vince Friese Hon

Lites East Points (After 1 of 8 rounds):
1. Christophe Pourcel 25/1 win
2. Brett Metcalfe 22
3. Nico Izzi 20
4. Austin Stroupe 18
5. Blake Wharton 16
6. Wil Hahn 15
7. Martin Davalos 14
8. Darryn Durham 13
9. Daniel Blair 12
10. Matt Goerke 11

Houston 450cc Main:
1. James Stewart Yam
2. Chad Reed Suz
3. Ryan Villopoto Kaw
4. Andrew Short Hon
5. Josh Grant Yam
6. Ivan Tedesco Hon
7. Mike Alessi Suz
8. Timmy Ferry Kaw
9. Kevin Windham Hon
10. Davi Millsaps Hon
11. Josh Hill Yam
12. Heath Voss Hon
13. Paul Carpenter Kaw
14. Cole Siebler Hon
15. Matt Boni Hon
16. Ben Coisy Hon
17. Kyle Chisholm Yam
18. Josh Summey KTM
19. Manuel Rivas Kaw
20. Josh Hansen Hon

450cc Points Standings (after 4 of 17 rounds):
1. Chad Reed 86
2. James Stewart 77/3 wins
3. Josh Grant 77/1 win
4. Andrew Short 71
5. Ryan Villopoto 68
6. Ivan Tedesco 62
7. Timmy Ferry 56
8. Kevin Windham 53
9. Mike Alessi 46
10. Davi Millsaps 42