There's nothing cooler than a hometown victory. Recent history proves that there is something to be said for the extra push a rider feels when he is breathing familiar air through his lungs. Way back in 1990, Snohomish, Washington's Larry Ward earned his first supercross win inside the Seattle Kingdome. Last Saturday night, Poulsbo, Washington's Ryan Villopoto had the Seattle fans pumping their fists in hometown victory once again.
To get there he had to battle past his lifelong rival, Mike Alessi, and hold off the fastest supercross racer the world has ever known. He succeeded in both categories and took the win with almost the same margin that Ward did all those years ago. The race was yet another amazing chapter in the relentless 2009 Monster Energy Supercross series.
Almost every aspect of the race was unique. Extremely soft dirt greeted the riders and the track would quickly deteriorate and be inconsistent all through the night. This forced a lot of mistakes that could have ended the night for some big names, including James Stewart, who swapped through an entire rhythm section, never letting go of the throttle and narrowly avoided a huge crash.
As for Chad Reed, well, it just wasn't his night. Chad never looked comfortable, and he struggled through his practice, heat, and main event laps. In the main, he barely made it 20 feet out of the gate before going down and smacking his head. He simply couldn't go fast after he got up, and a 7th place finish turned his narrow point's lead into a 3-point deficit with two rounds left.
The real surprise came from Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi. After posting his usual holeshot, he did something very unusual. Instead of sliding through the pack, he looked forward and began to pull away. Something should be said for the confidence he must have felt when he looked over his shoulder and saw his two childhood nemeses in the aforementioned Villopoto and Millsaps. Mike charged forward and set the fastest lap of the main event before losing his front wheel in a lazy corner and handing the lead to Villopoto, who was applying pressure. He would finish 4th. Anyone ready for the Nationals? Mike Alessi is.
Where was James Stewart? A bad start and a few mistakes saw him enter the top three just at the halfway point. Plenty of time to catch Millsaps, but not enough to reach RV Park. After not racing for almost a month, Ryan gave Monster Energy/Kawasaki their first win since the 2008 Phoenix supercross.