Pardon us while we get super melodramatic and cliché here, but Josh Hansen was supposed to be hurt—but if he is, he overcame a broken hand with a ride that was all heart.
After a huge crash in the whoops during practice, Hansen said he had a broken hand. He grabbed the holeshot and won his heat, then grabbed the start again in the main. The kids were there to battle him, though, with Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac taking their shots. Tomac got closest, 10 laps in he got inside Hanny in a sweeper and made the pass for the lead. Hansen came right back, squared him up and took him to the tuff blocks—showing his experience. From there, he pulled away, and Tomac fell into the clutches of a battle with Roczen and Tickle. He held them off, but had to settle for second.
James Stewart had a bunch of tricks in his pocket for this one—notably a quad-quad through a tricky rhythm section. He grabbed the start and started using that jump section combo to immediately pull a lead, even though his closest rival this year, Ryan Villopoto, was right behind him at first. Villopoto, and the rest of the field, had no answer, and Stewart dominated. Villopoto ran second the whole time, Chad Reed ran third, and Mike Alessi got a good start and ran fourth early before Justin Brayton busted through for the spot. Trey Canard came through traffic for fifth.
The big news involved defending champion Ryan Dungey, who broke a chain while he was battling toward the top five after a bad start. He did not finish, taking 10th place.
Look for a full race report and photos later tonight.
And don't forget to tune in on SPEED tomorrow at 4 PM and 5 PM EST. Who cares about the superbowl?