After what many consider to be the greatest season in Monster Energy® Supercross history in 2009, Stewart and Reed are the headlining riders going into the 2010 season. For Stewart, last season’s title was the second of his career and the Florida native is eager to continue his quest to break Jeremy McGrath’s all-time win record of 72 victories. Currently, Stewart is halfway to that goal with 36 wins.
“The 2009 supercross season was tough,” stated Stewart. “I didn’t start Anaheim the I way I wanted to by DNFing but I went on to win seven in a row I believe and had the crash at Daytona. But in the end in Vegas I was able to walk away with the title. I don’t want it to be as hard as it was last year this season, but everyone is going to be there. My goal is to hold (a championship) up here again next year.”
Reed came just six points short of his third Monster® Supercross title in one of the closest battles in recent memory. He makes the move to Kawasaki this season alongside fellow contender Ryan Villopoto. The duo’s ability and motivation of one another should make a formidable tandem in the effort to steal Stewart’s crown.
“Despite the bad economy, Monster and Kawasaki stepped up to help me keep living the dream and with that you put the effort in required to win a title,” Reed explained. “Based on that, it’s been an easy transition for me. I think you live and learn along the way and you have it stored in the back but for me it’s a new year and you just want to come out the best way possible. What happened last year was last year and now I’m ready for new dramas.”
Villopoto experienced an up and down season in his rookie campaign, suffering from an illness that forced him to miss several rounds of the championship. However, upon his return he was able to break through for his first career victory and went on to finish the season by winning two of the last three races and a huge wave of momentum heading into the off-season.
“I want to race with James and Chad,” said Villopoto. “If I’m racing with them then I’m in the position to win races and hopefully that translates into the chance to win a championship. I’d never raced a 450 before last season and it’s a big jump. It’s a bike you really need to respect and if you don’t, it will bite you so it’s taken some time to learn. Chad and I haven’t really been able to ride together much. With him on the team it will be a benefit (for myself) as I’ll get to watch him and learn what he does.”
Grant shocked the supercross world one year ago when he captured arguably the biggest upset victory in the history of the sport by winning his first race in the premier class. The win instantly put him as one of the top contenders in the sport and he translated that momentum into a solid rookie campaign. He hopes lady luck is on his side again Saturday night.
“I don’t feel any more pressure this season,” expressed Grant. “I’ll take what I learned last year and will use it to my advantage this year. I learned a lot from that. I learned that you don’t have to be the fastest guy out there to win and I proved that. I’m just going to go out there and do what I’m capable of and things will play out.”
Dungey enters the AMA Supercross class fresh of capturing a pair of championships in 2009, including the AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional crown. He’s not stranger to the premier class, having raced select events during the 2008 season and boasting a runner-up finish. While he knows the transition will be tough, he has also seen the success his former AMA Supercross Lites class rivals achieved last season and feels capable of mixing it up at the front.
“It’s a big step for sure,” Dungey said. “I’ve always looked forward to (moving into the premier class). Since I was little I’ve wanted to make it to this level and now I’m here. I’m ready for it. The bar is definitely raised with the amount of talent in this class and I guess I’ll have a better idea of how everything will be after Saturday night.”
Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short finished third in AMA Supercross class points last year and worked hard in the off season on his speed. After two solid AMA Supercross class seasons without a win, Short will use his experience and race for his first premier class win.
“I worked on my speed because James and Chad are on a new level,” said Short. “For me, I was missing the speed and way off the mark, but I was able to make some progress. “I am healthy and look forward to this season. I have had two great seasons and I need to get some wins this year.”
No matter what happens, the fireworks on the track this Saturday will provide the characteristic bar-to-bar, edge of your seat action Monster Energy Supercross has come to be known for over the past few years. For fans unable to make it out to Angel Stadium, LIVE coverage can be seen on SPEED beginning at 7 p.m. PT.
A season-long subscription to the official webcast of Monster Energy Supercross, Supercross LIVE®, is available for $39.99: click here. Supercross LIVE® is the only weekly live Monster Energy Supercross race call, and features long time voices of supercross, Jason Weigandt and Jim Holley.