New Orleans Supercross Report

March 15, 2009 3:40am | by:
  • James Stewart (7) pushed Mike Alessi (800) wide to get the holeshot at the start of the 450cc main.
  • Stewart (7) was quickly joined by defending champ (and winner of the last two races) Chad Reed (1) out front, and the battle ensued.
  • After a few laps, Stewart found his rhythm and began to pull away.
  • Despite doing the same rhythm through the track's toughest rhythm section as Stewart, Reed began to lose ground after a few laps. He finished second again.
  • Broc Hepler (60) ran third for basically the entire race, grabbing his first 450cc podium finish.
  • Local boy Kevin Windham came from well back in the pack to pass Andrew Short for fourth late in the race.
  • Short was fifth.
  • Stewart took his eighth win of the season. He now sits eight points behind Reed in the title chase.
  • The 450cc podium.
At the return of AMA Supercross to New Orleans, anticipation was high. With Chad Reed winning the last two races in a row, and Stewart faltering both times, it was easy to wonder if Reed could keep his streak alive.

At the start of the 450cc main, though, it was Stewart who made an aggressive push in the first turn to push Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi wide in the turn and take over the lead. However, Reed was quickly on Stewart’s tail, and early on the first lap, he even made an attempt to pass Stewart, only for Stewart to push him high in a turn.

Over the first two or three laps, Reed seemed to have little trouble hanging with Stewart, and on the second lap, when Stewart busted out a tricky rhythm through the tracks’ main rhythm section, which Reed duplicated a lap later. Once they were both doing that rhythm, they quickly pulled away from third-placed Broc Hepler, and continued to do so.

However, by about five laps into the race, the battle for the lead had died down, as Stewart had pulled clear. Stewart took the win – his eighth of the year – while Reed was second – for the eighth time as well. Hepler hung on for third – his first 450cc podium.

Alessi ran fourth for more than half of the main before he and Josh Hill tangled, going down, which handed fourth to Andrew Short and fifth to Windham, who was putting pressure on Short and eventually made the pass stick on lap 14. However, Windham wasn’t close enough to Hepler to do anything and had to settle for fourth. Short was fifth, Alessi recovered for sixth, and Josh Grant finished seventh – the last rider on the lead lap.

AMA Supercross Class Results, New Orleans
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
3. Broc Hepler, Kittanning, Pa., Yamaha
4. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
6. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki
7. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
8. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
9. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
10. Matt Boni, Geneva, Fla., Honda

AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 246
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 238
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 179
4. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 165
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 152
6. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahasse, Fla., Honda, 148
7. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 146
8. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki, 146
9. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 139
10. Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Yamaha, 102

  • Austin Stroupe (981) got the holeshot in the Lites main.
  • Daniel Blair (125) ran second early on, but eventually lost the spot to Branden Jesseman (74), who went on to finish second in the main event.
  • Blake Wharton (61) came from outside the top five to finish third - his first-ever professional podium finish.
  • Christophe Pourcel (377) started midpack and eventually caught up to fourth - his first-ever supercross finish off the podium.
  • Wil Hahn (50) finished fifth.
  • Stroupe celebrates his second victory of the season.
  • The Lites podium.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe grabbed the Lites holeshot, and it wasn’t long before GEICO Powersports Honda’s Daniel Blair was sitting second, in front of Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki’s Branden Jesseman, Chad Ward, Dennis Jonon, Blake Wharton and the rest of the field.

Stroupe immediately began to pull away as Jesseman worked on Blair for second – a spot he took from Blair on the fourth lap before Blair came under pressure from his teammate Wharton, who had fought his way into contention. At about the halfway point, Wharton made the pass stick on his teammate, and the top three were set, with Stroupe eventually taking the win over Jesseman and Wharton.

Points leader Christophe Pourcel started outside the top 10 and passed his way back up to fourth. It was his first American supercross where he wasn’t on the podium. Fifth went to Muscle Milk/MDK KTM’s Wil Hahn. Blair eventually finished seventh, just behind Darryn Durham.

Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, New Orleans
1. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki
2. Brandon Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki
3. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda
4. Christophe Pourcel, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki
5. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, KTM
6. Darryn Durham, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha
7. Daniel Blair, Modesto, Calif., Honda
8. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha
9. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki
10. Steven Clarke, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki

Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Christophe Pourcel, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki, 115
2. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki, 84
3. Nico Izzi, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 82
4. Branden Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki, 73
5. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, KTM, 68
6. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 66
7. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., KTM, 57
8. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Yamaha, 51
9. Steven Clarke, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki, 51
10. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki, 50