By Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo
You know who might have been the most popular rider at the race? DirtCandy Graphics’ Ronnie Stewart. He lives just across the state line in Pennsylvania and often practices in New Jersey. In fact, there’s a small sand spot literally a few miles from the stadium that Ronnie hits up now and then. Not surprising, then, that he had some friends and family cheering him on, but the sheer number of them was astonishing. We saw fans donning Candyman shirts all night, including a big cheering section at one end of the stadium, and another spot featured a big sheet with 606 spray painted on it. The privateer pumped the crowd up with a huge wheelie during the parade lap. He finished a season-high fourteenth.
Ryan Villopoto not only clinched his fourth Monster Energy Supercross Championship but also scored a brand-new Toyota Tundra by winning the series-within-a-series Toyota Challenge (RV was one point behind James Stewart in the three-race Toyota Challenge standings coming in). There was some fear that RV, who owns a Ford Raptor, was going to pump up his personal ride when he won the Toyota, which he did once before. Not this time. “I’m a Ford guy. Hang on, I’m not a Ford guy; I love my Ford Raptor. Toyota doesn’t sponsor me, so if you are listening, I am open for a sponsorship,” RV told our Steve Matthes. “But other than that, if I’m going to go and spend my own money I would spend it on that. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Toyotas. I drove Toyotas for four years, so I like their trucks. But this point in time the Raptor is kind of the truck of choice. But maybe it’ll change my mind once I drive the Tundra off the lot.”
Here’s an interesting stat from a Monster Energy Kawasaki PR: In the past three races, Villopoto has got all three holeshots and led all 60 laps.
Also, this win was the 41st of Villopoto’s career. He’s climbing the ranks at an alarming rate.
MotoSport.com/Peick Racing’s Weston Peick had a quiet tenth place finish in New Jersey. Peick has been fast all year but he’s had some rough races, too. It was the soon to be RCH Suzuki rider’s first top ten since Toronto.
On to the lap charts!
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
|Lap Rank||Finish||Best Lap||In Lap||Avg Lap Time||Rider|
Nick Schmidt’s run of consecutive mains made has ended at eight after he failed to make the 450SX main in New Jersey. Crashes at the wrong time hurt his chances. On the other end, privateer Tony Archer made his first 450SX main of the season in New Jersey. Archer finished the night eighteenth.
The CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha team has basically been trading Ben LaMay and Kyle Chisholm all year, as both cycled in and out of the action due to injuries (The Chizz came in as a replacement when LaMay crashed right behind Anaheim 1, then LaMay returned just about the time Chisholm went down with injuries of his own). On Saturday, they were both racing, as Chisholm returned. LaMay made the main and finished 17th, but Chizz just missed the cut in the LCQ. Better luck in Vegas!
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer was back in action for the first time since crashing out in San Diego practice. He finished a solid third in his heat but got collected in a crash on the first lap of the main. He fought back from dead last to 11th. “It feels great to be back,” said Weimer. “The result wasn’t what we wanted but I rode good and felt strong for the full 20 laps. I’m looking forward to finish strong in Las Vegas next week to finish the season.”
Trey Canard got caught up on lap one like Weimer, but fought back to ninth. His night was highlighted by a heat race win that featured a big duel with James Stewart. "I'm frustrated with tonight's end result,” said Canard in a team statement. “I feel like I keep making progress and then making small mistakes that set me back again. The track was a challenge tonight, but I was really pleased with my bike and how everything was working. I got a good start in my heat race and was able to hold off James [Stewart] and take the win. The main event didn't go as well; I went down twice but luckily was able to work my way into the top 10. I'm looking forward to a fresh start with the motocross season."
JAB Motorsports’ Matt Lemoine’s recent barrage on the top-five continued at MetLife. Lemoine overcame a bad start to finish fifth, his third top-five finish in the last five rounds. Aside from two DNFs’ (Arlington and St. Louis) Lemoine has finished inside the top ten in every race this season.
It was a good night for the Martin brothers in New Jersey. Alex matched his season-high with a seventh, while Jeremy collected his first podium of the season. For Jeremy, who after the race said he had hit “rock bottom” earlier this year, it marked his career best finish and his first podium since Daytona last season.
Privateer Mitchell Oldenburg collected his third top-ten of the season on Saturday. Oldenburg, who missed St. Louis with a shoulder injury, finished a season-high eighth, which marked his first top ten since round 2 of the 250SX East Region in Atlanta.
What a comeback for Factory Metal Works/Club MX AJ Catanzaro, who crashed super hard in his heat race, which brought out the red flag. Yet he returned for the LCQ and made the main, and then brought it home in 13th in the main event.
Australian privateer Jackson Richardson squeaked out his first top-ten of 2014 with a tenth. It was Richardson’s second career top ten finish and his first since Toronto a season ago.
In more privateer news: Justin Starling finished a career-high twelfth … rookie Jacob Baumert finished inside the top fifteen for the first time in his career … Luke Vonlinger finished a season-high sixteenth … Zack Williams made his second straight main after missing the first six … and Cade Clason (18th) and Kyle Bitterman (20th) made their first mains of the season.