The story coming into Seattle revolved around the weather. Reed led Stewart by just five points coming into the race, and the open-roof Qwest Field and rain-heavy Northwest weather seemed destined to create muddy and unpredictable conditions. This, perhaps, would create the chaos needed to break up the expected title scenario, where Stewart would either win all three of the final rounds of the series and the title, or Reed would grab one more win and take the crown through consistency.
To prepare, supercross promoters Feld Entertainment brought in brand-new dirt with a sandy base to help absorb the rain better. But the kicker came when the rain didn’t come, which left a sandy track that rutted up badly. Stewart showed mastery of it by notching the fastest qualifying times, while Reed struggled through the first session but came back to take the second-fastest time in the second practice session. Still, Reed never looked totally comfortable on the track. He got off to a bad start in his heat race, nearly last out of the gate, and was never able to catch the early leader, Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco. Tedesco went on to win his first heat race of the season.
Stewart answered back with a win in his heat over Monster Energy Kawasaki’s home-state boy Ryan Villopoto, who led the first few laps. This gave Stewart the first gate pick on a track that featured a short start straight and a tight first turn. Reed lined up two gates to the inside of Stewart in the main, but he once again got a terrible jump off the line and found himself tangling with the riders who bunched up in the tight first turn. Eventually the tangling took Reed down to the ground, hard, as he hit Moto Concepts Honda’s Tyler Bowers.
Meanwhile, Reed’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Mike Alessi, of course, took the holeshot with his old rivals Villopoto and Red Bull Honda Racing’s Davi Millsaps in tow. Stewart, meanwhile, started about 12th. He ended the first lap in 11th, while Reed ended the lap in 18th.
All the prognostications coming into the race indicated that Stewart and Reed could work their way into the top two positions no matter where they started—especially since last year in Seattle, Reed and Kevin Windham clawed their way from way back to finish 1-2 with the title in the balance.
This time it wasn’t happening, though. Up front, Alessi and Villopoto began pulling away from Millsaps, while Stewart started picking riders off in lighting quick fashion. Reed wasn’t as efficient, taking three laps, for example, to pass Rockstar Hart and Huntington’s Matt Boni for the 12th place spot. Reed did hit head first in his first-turn crash, and may have been struggling from the effects.
Meanwhile, Villopoto continued to pressure Alessi for the lead, and on lap eight, Alessi crashed exiting a turn heading into the whoops. Villopoto took the position and then began putting in steady laps. Eventually Stewart closed in on and then passed Millsaps to get into second, but never really made a run at Villopoto. By the 15th lap, it became clear that Stewart was either not able or not willing to make a run at Villopoto, and the partisan Seattle fans began to sense that the home-grown kid was going to win his first-ever Supercross Main Event. A few minutes later, he had completed the process, and the fans kept on cheering.
Villopoto’s win was even more impressive considering he had just missed a month of racing due to an illness, he had just left his long-time trainer Randy Lanwrence, and did not have the services of his mechanic, John Mitcheff, who was attending his father’s funeral.
Stewart took second, and Reed could only climb to seventh. This results in an eight-point swing in the series, and a three-point lead for Stewart with two rounds to go.
Millsaps took third, his third podium of the season.
The Western Region Lites Supercross title chase is just as tense as the Supercross class, as Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey came into the race with a two-point lead over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, with Weimer’s teammate Ryan Morias another nine points back.
In the main, Honda riders Jake Moss, of the Troy Lee Designs team, and Trey Canard, of the GEICO Powersports Squad, got out first, but Canard got pushed wide in turn one. Dungey was right there and elbowed his way around Moss and Morias to take the lead. Weimer did not get such a good start and found passing tough. Morias got around Moss, but Canard did as well, and then began pressuring Morias for second. This allowed Dungey to inch away and take the win. Eventually Canard washed out in a corner and handed third to Moss, but then he got Moss back. Weimer made the pass on Moss late to take fourth, but that hands Dungey a nine-point lead heading in the West Region Finale next weekend in Salt Lake City. A fourth-place finish should be enough for the Minnesota native to win his first championship.