After being on the podium for all of the XTRM/AMA Supermoto Championship series races this year, the expectations in the CHM Supermoto Racing Team were high for the exposure and purse money that the ESPN produced X Games could produce.
For 2009, the format of the race along with the course layout was designed with a European influence, which meant a starting line on pavement, as opposed to dirt, and a dirt section that was not as Supercross-like, and more along the lines of an FIM World Supermoto layout than in years past.
Friday would consist of a one hour practice session followed by a 30 minute timed qualifying, or “seeding” session. “Seeding” in that the best lap during the session would determine each riders grid position.
All fiver of the CHM riders….three “Invitees”, Micky Dymond, Sylvain Bidart, and Stevie Bonsey, and two “Alternates”, Jason Conlon, and Dustin Hoffman all took part in the practice session and all looked good and ready to “pin-it” during the seeding session.
Due to their “alternate” position, Jason Conlon and Dustin Hoffman would have to both have a good time in the seeding session and then hope for one of the “Invitees” to not be able to make the race….which is exactly what DID happen to the most hyped rider coming into the 2009 X Games 15 Moto-X Supermoto field.
All of the Roger Hensley prepped, Honda CRF450R’s were working well and now it was up to each of the riders to get in their best time during the 30 minute “best lap” format to secure the best starting grid position possible, and then Jason and Dustin would have to additionally hope for one of the spots to open due to a non-starter amongst the invitees.
The Seeding session went well for all five riders although Stevie Bonsey, riding with the #80 plate in honor of the number that his mentor, Kenny Roberts, rode with during his rookie year in the AMA Grand National Series, took a hard hit when he slightly over-jumped the second of two large table-top jumps that made up the dirt section but would be ok, despite hitting his head pretty hard.
Sylvain Bidart: 6th Micky Dymond: 10th Jason Conlon: 14th Stevie Bonsey: 18th Dustin Hoffman: 22cnd
After the seeding finished, two big stories emerged. One was that James Stewart, the most talked about rider coming into the event, was very fast and had turned the 3rd fastest time, but also that during the session when he was so fast he also hit one of the water barriers that line the pavement hard enough to injure his shoulder and he wouldn’t start the race on Saturday which meant that Jason Conlon, due to his best time of the alternates, would be in the show! Unfortunately, with only one non-starter, young Dustin Hoffman would have to wait until next year to make his first X Games Supermoto start.
Saturday Main Event: Moto-X Supermoto Race
The weather was perfect…..warm but not hot, and the four CHM riders on the grid were ready to “pin-it to win it”.
With the narrow run to the first turn, the start was crucial and it was a good one for Sylvain Bidart as he was able to elbow his way into third right behind his main AMA rival, and defending X Games Gold Medalist, Jeff Ward, and #1 qualifier, Ivan Lazzarini.
Micky Dymond was a few spots back in 8th, Jason Conlon and Stevie Bonsey were side by side at the back of the pack and trying to pick off riders in the very tight first laps.
Sylvain was flying and held the podium position for half of the race but had a pack of very fast riders including 2007 X Games Gold medalist, Mark Burkhart, and 2 time FIM World Champion, Adrien Chareyre right behind him.
Burkhart was able to make a move around Sylvain and Jeff Ward on his way to the front and then it was Chareyre who got around Sylvain. Behind Sylvain, Micky Dymond had his hands full with HIS AMA rival and closest competitor in the American series, Derek Costella. The two of them battled nose to tail for the complete race with Costella getting past Micky on the final laps to secure 8th. Jason Conlon and Stevie Bonsey battled each other for most of the race with “#18”, Conlon, getting a little gap on “#80” at the flag.
X Games 15 final finishing positions:
Sylvain Bidart: 4th Micky Dymond: 9th Jason Conlon: 15th Stevie Bonsey: 16th
After the race team manager Roger Hensley was happy but not satisfied. “You want to win everything for sure, that’s why we’re out here. I’m really proud of the effort that everyone put in from the mechanics to the riders. Sylvain, had a great chance there but we ended up close, but no cigar, as they say. I hope we put on a good show for our sponsors. I think we got some TV time there and we’ll be lookin’ at some redemption and a national championship here with two races left in the AMA season”.
The CHM Supermoto Racing Team wishes to thank their sponsors:
CHM Exhaust, Pro Honda Oils, Sunoco Race Fuels, Dunlop Tires, Supermoto Engineering, Hammerhead Designs, Race Tech Suspension.
About the CHM Supermoto Racing Team:
The CHM Exhaust Supermoto Racing Team is one of the original and longest running teams in the AMA Supermoto Championship series. Based out of Rosamond, California, and managed by ex professional motocross racer, Roger Hensley, the CHM Team competes in the XTRM/AMA Supermoto Championship Series.