If there was ever a time and place for Chad Reed to prove he could match or beat James Stewart, it was the AMA Supercross main event on February 14 inside Qualcomm Stadium. Chad has a strong history in San Diego, matching Jeremy McGrath with 5 wins there (in 6 attempts), the track was dry, and he finally got the start we’ve all been waiting for. Surely we were in for a 20 lap gloved-knuckle brawl for the ages, right?
Wrong. The two fastest riders in the world rounded the first corner nearly side by side, and as always for the guys in second and third, chasing Mike Alessi and his #800 holeshot machine. Stewart made quick work of Alessi in the second corner, leaped the next rhythm section in what seemed like a single bound, and was gone. Reed had no problem getting around his teammate and into second, but showed none of the fire that we’ve come to expect from the lion-hearted Australian.
Stewart’s gap grew by a full second per lap, thanks almost completely thanks to a crazy line where he skimmed across the top of two tables that everyone else was jumping. Less than four-hundredths of a second kept Stewart away from a 45 second lap time, while only Reed and Josh Grant joined him in the sub-47 club. They were also the only other riders who tried Stewart’s line.