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.
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.]
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.