There was a lot to worry about at the Salt Lake City Supercross, the penultimate round of the Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Championship, with San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed only three points apart, the weather uncertain, and only one round to follow the event before the championship comes to an end.
Although second practice was canceled due to weather, the first practice was a sort of bizarre mix of dry, dusty dirt and mud puddles, as the track was under plastic until just before practice. By the heat races, though, the track was a little sloppy, but overall in good condition. Reed and Stewart won their heat races, and both had some sort of problems. While Reed’s problem was never identified, he barely won his race over Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps, who fell earlier in the race and had to pass teammate Andrew Short on his way back up to Reed’s rear fender. In Stewart’s heat, he got his shift lever jammed up and stuck in third gear. Although he still won his heat, his team was forced to replace the engine before the main event. The owner of last week’s fastest main-event laptime, Mike Alessi, missed the main in Salt Lake City.
Reed got the holeshot in the main event, and although Stewart didn’t start out near the front, somehow he squeaked immediately up into second with Millsaps third, Short fourth, Matt Boni fifth, Yamaha’s Broc Hepler sixth, and the rest of the field.
With what happened in Jacksonville, everyone stood in anticipation of what might happen between the two riders inside Rice-Eccles Stadium. Just before the halfway point, Stewart made a pass stick on Reed as the two headed down the start straightaway, but Reed countered in a right-hand 180 following, pushing Stewart wide enough that he ended up in the Tuff Blox, and Reed took the lead back. However, only three or four laps later, Stewart had caught back up and made the pass stick a second time – this time for good. As the two raced out front, some more drama ensued when they lapped Stewart’s teammate Kyle Chisholm. According to eyewitnesses, Chisholm obeyed the blue flags and moved over for Stewart and Reed, but a couple of turns later made a run back at Reed. The two hit, and Reed lost just enough time to lose contact with Stewart, never to gain it back. Chisholm was black-flagged and was eventually removed from the race track and disqualified from the race. The ruling as of the typing of this story is that Chisholm isn’t just DQ’d from the Salt Lake City round, but suspended for next weekend’s race in Las Vegas.
Stewart won the main event, though, and pulled out to a six-point lead over Reed in Vegas. In other words, Reed needs to win in Vegas and have Stewart finish fourth or worse to win the title.
Millsaps finished where he started – in third – followed by last rounds winner Ryan Villopoto, Short, and Toyota/JGR Yamaha’s Josh Grant, who passed GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham on the last lap of the main for the spot.
With Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey out in front of the Lites West by nine points over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, Dungey needed to finish fifth or better in the main event to clinch the title, if Weimer won the race.
Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Jake Moss grabbed the main-event holeshot while Dungey quickly settled into second with Moss’ teammate Chris Blose, Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki’s PJ Larsen, Weimer’s teammate Ryan Morais, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard and the rest of the field. Weimer finished lap one in ninth, although he was further back earlier in the lap.
Moss led the first seven laps before he fell over in a turn, handing the lead to Dungey. It wasn’t soon after that when Canard joined him in the battle for the lead, passing Dungey on lap 12 of 15. That battle allowed Weimer to catch them, and he only took a lap to get around Dungey for second before setting out after Canard. On the last lap, Weimer nearly passed Canard a couple of times, but actually thought he had one more lap when he got the checkered flag. Canard won the main, followed by Weimer, Morais (who passed Dungey for third with two to go), Dungey fourth and MDK/Mucle Milk KTM’s Justin Brayton.
Fourth place was good enough to secure Dungey his first professional championship.