450 Words: Salt Lake CityTuesday, May 3, 2011 | 3:40 PM
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The Salt Lake City Supercross has come and gone, and the 450 title chase has somewhat sorted itself out with one race remaining. James Stewart crashed while leading and that was it for his title hopes, he’s almost mathematically eliminated. Out front with a nine point lead is Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed is in second and Ryan Dungey is third. These three riders all have a shot at the title but unless there is a complete disaster for RV, the championship will be his this Saturday night.
Stewart's title chances were dashed after an early crash at Salt Lake City.
Photo: Matt Pavelek
This race was a snapshot of what we’ve seen all year. Stewart stepping out to the lead, showing blazing speed in the whoops before going down twice in forty feet. Without the supercross crown and Stewart hinting on Twitter that he’s not doing the outdoors, it appears that we can judge Stewart’s season as a failure despite the five wins.
We saw Villopoto charge hard and he was even catching the seven a bit while pulling away from Reed and Dungey. RV set the fastest time of the night while inching toward Stewart and it would have been a great race to the end had James stayed up. Villopoto’s ride was clutch, his six wins tops the series and if he wins this thing- there isn’t anyone who can say he wasn’t the fastest and most consistent guy week in and week out.
As far as Reed, he didn’t have the speed of Stewie or Villopoto (but he did have a factory Honda) but he hung in there tough, found some lines and learned as he went along. Then he made a push at the end and showed some speed, finishing second by less than a second. No matter how he did, it was a good race for the two-two and it’s been a good season for the Aussie.
Defending champion Ryan Dungey is still alive but will need help from RV and Reed if he wants to repeat.
Photo: Matt Pavelek
The defending champion Dungey, right there at the start, helplessly watching as the three riders in front of him just slowly pulled away. Yes he’s better than anyone else in the class but just like all year, he didn’t have that extra 2 percent that the other three had. It has to be frustrating for Dungey, but he’s young and his superb 2010 season set the bar real high. Take away his titles last year and we’re all talking about how good he’s doing in his second year in the class.
It is funny that after all the nuttiness that has gone on this year, the penultimate round of the series gave us everything we needed to see in twenty laps.
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Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.