U.S. Open Night One Race Report

Is it the end of the season or the beginning? Five days after the conclusion of the Motocross des Nations in Italy, the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open of Supercross kicked off tonight in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s event featured a new format, with a point going to the fastest qualifier, every rider who won their head-to-head race, and the rider whose mechanic won the wrench race, where the mechanics raced to see who could change a back wheel quickest.

  • James Stewart got a bonus point for being fastest in qualifying to start the night.
It’s not a huge surprise that San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart set the fastest time in qualifying, but the way he did it was pretty dramatic. He waited until the last lap of practice to bust out a very tricky triple/triple combination that dropped his laptime by almost a second. His final time was about 1.2 seconds faster than Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto. Stewart earned a point for his qualifying triumph.

Then came the head-to-head portion of the night. Unlike the McGrath Invitational, which featured a graduating ladder for riders to face stiffer and stiffer competition, the head-to-head portion at the U.S. Open was purely a matter of luck. Riders would pull a number out of a hat, and the rider who corresponded with that number would be their competitor. The only truly good race of the night in that event was between Millsaps and Villopoto, with Villopoto taking the win in the one-lap event.

This meant that four riders got the single point for the head-to-head win.

  • As part of the points-paying portion of the night, the mechanics went at it. The fastest one to change a rear wheel and then push the bike down the start straightaway earned his rider one extra point.
  • Davi Millsaps' mechanic Carlos Rivera won him the extra point.
Then came the wrench race. The top-nine main-event qualifiers (the three riders from each of the three heats who qualified direction for the main event) lined up behind the starting gate and watched their mechanics change a back wheel, then push the bike up to the end of the start straightaway. Although all of the riders were out there cheering on their guy, it was Millsaps’ mechanic Carlos, who won Millsaps a point toward his total with his performance too.

When the main event rolled around, Stewart grabbed the early lead over GEICO Powersports Honda’s Dan Reardon and never looked back. He also never did the tricky triple/triple section from practice.

Stewart led every lap of the main event, eventually winning over Millsaps, who passed Reardon at around the halfway point. Reardon hung on for a strong third over MotoConcepts Racing Yamaha’s Matt Goerke, JGR Yamaha’s Christian Craig and the rest of the field. Monster Energy’s Josh Hansen, who was fast all day, finished second to last after a start-straightaway crash out of the gate, and the last-place guy was none other than Ryan Villopoto, who had some sort of mechanical issue.

  • James Stewart led every lap of the main event on night one.
  • Dan Reardon ran second early on, but was eventually caught and passed. Still, he finished a strong third.
  • Davi Millsaps came from behind for second in the main on night one.
  • Ryan Villopoto was out early with some sort of malfunction.
  • Ezra Lusk's debut ended with a decent demonstration of speed, but no birth in the main event.
The final tally tomorrow night will determine the overall winner.

Friday Night Open Class Results
1. James Stewart, Yamaha
2. Davi Millsaps, Honda
3. Dan Reardon, Honda
4. Matt Georke, Yamaha
5. Christian Craig, Yamaha
6. Cole Siebler, Honda
7. Tyler Bowers, Yamaha
8. Nick Wey, Yamaha
9. Chris Blose, Honda
10. Michael Byrne, Suzuki

Friday Night Alpinestars 85cc Mini Invitational
1. Adam Cianciarulo, Kawasaki
2. Chris Allredege, Kawasaki
3. Jesse Masterpool, Suzuki
4. Keith Tucker, Yamaha
5. Thomas Covington, Kawasaki
6. Troy Graffunder, Yamaha
7. Colton Ford, KTM
8. Cole Heath, Yamaha
9. Andrew Pierce, Kawasaki
10. Brandan Leith, KTM
0. Nick Gaines, Kawasaki
Daniel Baker, KTM