Anaheim III Race Report

February 8, 2009 7:15am | by:
Mud races are supposed to be the great equalizers of motocross and supercross. When it’s muddy, things are unpredictable. However, at Anaheim III, despite heavy rain throughout most of the afternoon, the track remained remarkably dry, as it stayed under plastic covers until the evening time, when most of the weather had already passed. The track conditions were such that the valleys between the jumps were a bit wet and rutted from the removal of the plastic, and from seepage, and the jumps themselves were actually really dry and hard-packed.

However, the starting line was a mess, with thick mud behind the starting gates and down most of the start straightaway, which put a premium on gate picks and jumps out of the gate.

  • James Stewart grabbed the early lead and led every lap of the main event, despite rainfall and extremely slippery conditions.
  • Chad Reed fought his way through from a poor start to finish a close second to Stewart at the finish.
  • Davi Millsaps grabbed his first podium of the season at Anaheim III.
  • Ivan Tedesco was fourth after fighting it out for a possible podium spot with his teammate Millsaps.
  • Josh Grant ran up front, and even though he crashed pretty hard, he remounted and finished fifth.
  • Stewart celebrates his fifth win in a row.
In the 450cc main event, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi got to the first turn a few feet in front of San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart, who pole-putted around the inside of the 180-degree first-turn to come out of the turn alongside Alessi. Alessi had the inside going into the next turn and held the lead until a couple of turns later, when Stewart took the inside away from Alessi and took over the lead. Then Alessi went down in the next turn, almost taking his teammate Chad Reed and Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco down with him. Alessi remounted last, while JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant took over second in front of Davi Millsaps, Tedesco, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham, and Reed.

Stewart immediately began to pull away on the slick track, while Grant held second, but on lap eight, Grant lost second to the charging Reed, who came through the pack to catch him, and almost immediately afterward, Grant landed on some Tuff Blox and went down, remounting in sixth.

Grant had to re-pass Windham for fifth, which he did on the 12th lap. In third and fourth, Millsaps and Tedesco were going at it, and out front, Stewart and Reed were trading top laptimes that culminated in both riders dipping into the 59-second range, but Reed dropped the lowest laptime of the two, and actually dropped a 59 twice, while Stewart only did it once.

Still, as the laps dwindled down, it became increasingly clear that Reed was going to run out of time, and he did exactly that, as the rain began to fall late in the main, he couldn’t get close enough to Stewart to mount a serious challenge, and Stewart took the win – his fifth in a row – with just over three seconds to spare over Reed, who was as far back as 12 seconds behind Stewart earlier in the race.

Millsaps hung on for third, fighting off his teammate Tedesco, while Grant kept his perfect top-five streak alive, despite his fall, with fifth. Grant was also the last rider on the lead lap at race’s end.

Stewart now trails Reed by three points going into San Diego next weekend, and preliminary weather reports show another possible mudder inside Qualcomm Stadium next Saturday night.

[Editor's note: If you're looking for Villopoto -- he didn't make the main event after crashing out of both his heat race and the LCQ.]

450cc Main:
1. James Stewart Yam
2. Chad Reed Suz
3. Davi Millsaps Hon
4. Ivan Tedesco Hon
5. Josh Grant Yam
6. Andrew Short Hon
7. Kevin Windham Hon
8. Josh Hill Yam
9. Kyle Chisholm Yam
10. Timmy Ferry Kaw
11. Mike Alessi Suz
12. Matt Boni Hon
13. Steve Boniface Hon
14. Paul Carpenter Kaw
15. Nick Wey Yam
16. Heath Voss Hon
17. Daniel McCoy Hon
18. Josh Hansen Hon
19. Tommy Hahn Kaw
20. Troy Adams Hon

450cc Championship Points Standings (after 6 of 17 rounds):
1. Chad Reed 130
2. James Stewart 127/5 wins
3. Josh Grant 111/1 win
4. Andrew Short 102
5. Ivan Tedesco 91
6. Ryan Villopoto 88
7. Kevin Windham 82
8. Davi Millsaps 75
9. Mike Alessi 68
10. Timmy Ferry 67

  • Justin Brayton (114) got the holeshot in the Lites main over Jake Weimer (19). Brayton finished third.
  • Weimer eventually took the lead from Brayton and scored his second win in a row, and third of the year.
  • Ryan Morais (116) eventually worked his way around Brayton (114) for second. It was the second PC 1-2 of the year at Anaheim.
  • Ryan Dungey went down in the first turn and finished fourth, losing the points lead to Weimer in the process.
  • Jeff Alessi had a strong ride for fifth in the Lites main.
  • Weimer (center), Morais (left) and Brayton (right) celebrate on the podium.
Coming into Anaheim III, both Ryan Dungey and Jake Weimer had won two main events, and both had won a main event inside Angel Stadium. In the main event, Muscle Milk/MDK KTM’s Justin Brayton grabbed the holeshot over Weimer and his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Ryan Morais, while Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Dungey went down in the first turn.

Weimer immediately went to work on Brayton out front, and Brayton held him off for about half of the race before Weimer actually t-boned him going into a turn as he went for a block pass and Brayton sped by. It wasn’t long after that before Brayton sort of gave way to Weimer out front, and it was only about a lap later before Morais followed suit.

By lap 10, Dungey had fought his way all the way up to fifth, just behind Jeff Alessi. Dungey was by Alessi by lap 11 for fourth.

On the last lap, as Weimer led into a tricky double only a couple of turns from the finish, he was pushed to the inside of the track by lapper Jake Moss, who was apparently trying to move over for Weimer but instead moved over in front of Weimer. It prevented Weimer from doing the double, and Morais jumped it into the lead momentarily before he messed up the very next turn, allowing Weimer back to the inside. Weimer took the win – his second in a row – and took over the points lead from Dungey, who finished fourth behind Morais and Brayton. Jeff Alessi finished a strong fifth, the last rider on the lead lap at the finish.

Lites Main Event:
1. Jake Weimer Kaw
2. Ryan Morais Kaw
3. Justin Brayton KTM
4. Ryan Dungey Suz
5. Jeff Alessi Hon
6. Ryan Sipes KTM
7. Dan Reardon Hon
8. PJ Larsen Kaw
9. Chris Blose Hon
10. Eric McCrummen Hon
11. Adam Chatfield Hon
12. Trey Canard Hon
13. Ryan Clark Hon
14. Jake Moss Hon
15. Kyle Cunningham Kaw
16. Ben Evans Hon
17. Sean Borkenhagen Hon
18. Derek Costella Hon
19. Justin Keeney KTM
20. Daniel Hendrix Hon

Lites Western Regional Points Standings (After 5 of 8 rounds):
1. Jake Weimer 113/3 wins
2. Ryan Dungey 110/2 wins
3. Ryan Morais 102
4. Justin Brayton 88
5. Ryan Sipes 69
6. Chris Blose 68
7. Dan Reardon 56
8. PJ Larsen 51
9. Jeff Alessi 39
10. Eric McCrummen 38