Sign of the (Lap) Times: Las Vegas SX

Sign of the (Lap) Times: Las Vegas SX

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By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo

 

One racer's misfortune is almost always another's gain, and this was true in several cases in Las Vegas. James Stewart was in a tight points battle with Ryan Dungey for second overall before DNF'ing in MetLife Stadium with a tweaked knee. In Vegas he suffered another DNF when his forks developed a problem. The benefactor was Ken Roczen, who moved up to third overall in the standings after finishing the night in third place. Elsewhere in 450SX, Mike Alessi managed to squeak by Wil Hahn for the final spot in the top ten by a single point, despite DNFing after experiencing a chain problem. Whether or not this was on Alessi's mind as he was frantically trying to fix his machine in the gap of the finish line double, one of the most dangerous places on the track to hang out, is up for debate. The track crew had to eventually drag Alessi's bike off the track, with Alessi in tow still trying to fix the problem.

Injuries in 250SX East put privateer Vince Friese in contention for an impressive third in the final rankings, and the Factory Metal Works/Club MX rider made it happen—but barely—as he finished tenth after an early crash. That was still enough to jump past the likes of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki riders Blake Baggett and Adam Cianciarulo. But then he nearly got caught from behind….

Kyle Cunningham, who recently told us he’s been racing a 2013 CRF250 all year, always does well in Vegas. Despite crashing in the main while attempting to chase down Matt Bisceglia for third, Cunningham finished a strong fourth, which bumped him up to fourth for the season. He came up just four points short of Friese in a bid for third.

Friese capped a superb season by snagging third in the final 250SX East standings.Photo: Simon Cudby
Friese capped a superb season by snagging third in the final 250SX East standings.Photo: Simon Cudby

Speaking of Cunningham, the SmarTop MotoConcepts rider informed us on Saturday morning that he will not be accompanying the team to Canada this summer. He will retain his SmarTop MotoConcepts support (bikes and sponsors), but will stay stateside to contest the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. He’ll probably get his bike transported to the races in the AG Motorsports rig next to Kyle Peters.

By the way, Friese’s third-overall ranking as a privateer is the best non-factory 250SX result since Greg Schnell did the same way back in 2000 for Motoworld Racing. Look for more on Friese later this week.

On to the lap charts!

450SX Class

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider1
1  1 1:08.673 4 1:10.552 Ryan Villopoto
2  2 1:09.612 6 1:11.200 Ryan Dungey
3  3 1:10.029 4 1:11.720 Ken Roczen
4  4 1:10.288 5 1:12.365 Justin Barcia
5  5 1:10.746 4 1:12.590 Trey Canard
6  6 1:10.840 4 1:13.131 Josh Hill
7  20 1:11.048 4 1:11.875 Weston Peick
8  7 1:11.291 7 1:12.941 Josh Grant
9  8 1:11.314 7 1:12.698 Jake Weimer
10  17 1:11.861 3 1:13.723 Mike Alessi
11  21 1:11.989 5 1:13.500 Tyler Bowers
12  10 1:12.092 5 1:13.718 Andrew Short
13  9 1:12.740 6 1:14.310 Chris  Blose
14  11 1:13.095 7 1:15.138 Kyle Chisholm
15  22 1:13.559 2 1:13.559 James Stewart
16  12 1:13.610 6 1:16.144 Ben LaMay
17  13 1:13.789 6 1:16.987 Jimmy Albertson
18  16 1:13.985 4 1:18.753 Kyle Regal
19  14 1:14.261 2 1:18.287 Nick Schmidt
20  15 1:15.557 5 1:20.388 Cody Gilmore
21  18 1:16.332 5 1:21.891 Ronnie Stewart
22  19 1:19.505 3 1:29.459 Bracken Hall

250SX West Region

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 1:09.669 2 1:10.835 Cooper Webb
2 1 1:09.826 7 1:10.612 Dean Wilson
3 5 1:09.830 5 1:12.282 Malcolm Stewart
4 6 1:09.984 5 1:12.813 Jason Anderson
5 3 1:10.035 7 1:11.194 Justin Hill
6 4 1:10.270 7 1:11.444 Cole Seely
7 8 1:11.026 3 1:14.599 Shane McElrath
8 7 1:11.472 6 1:14.013 Zach Osborne
9 10 1:12.555 7 1:14.140 Jake Canada
10 9 1:12.893 6 1:14.634 Jessy Nelson
11 12 1:13.081 5 1:15.456 Scott Champion
12 11 1:13.458 13 1:15.848 Michael Leib
13 13 1:14.179 2 1:17.045 Zack Freeberg
14 14 1:16.435 5 1:18.341 Dakota Tedder
15 22 1:17.101 6 1:07.954 Ross Johnson
16 15 1:17.516 3 1:19.409 Preston Mull
17 21 1:18.412 4 1:23.602 Aaron Siminoe
18 18 1:19.045 4 1:23.622 Chris Howell
19 20 1:19.195 3 1:25.414 Colton Aeck
20 17 1:19.299 4 1:22.147 Blake Lilly
21 16 1:19.500 5 1:21.283 Chad Gores
22 19 1:20.103 4 1:21.729 Ruben Alanis

 

250SX East Region

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 1:09.860 5 1:12.048 Jeremy Martin
2 2 1:10.187 5 1:13.555 Justin Bogle
3 3 1:11.796 2 1:14.066 Matt Bisceglia
4 4 1:11.946 5 1:15.125 Kyle Cunningham
5 21 1:12.962 3 1:16.179 Matt Lemoine
6 5 1:13.665 3 1:16.114 Jimmy Decotis
7 7 1:13.799 6 1:15.842 Alex Martin
8 6 1:14.384 7 1:16.417 Mitchell Oldenburg
9 9 1:14.477 14 1:16.205 Jackson Richardson
10 8 1:15.039 3 1:17.312 Gannon Audette
11 10 1:15.877 6 1:17.973 Vince Friese
12 11 1:16.102 4 1:18.289 Landen Powell
13 12 1:16.907 3 1:18.878 AJ Catanzaro
14 15 1:17.961 6 1:19.601 Jacob Baumert
15 13 1:17.991 8 1:19.186 Levi Kilbarger
16 14 1:18.036 7 1:19.437 Zack Williams
17 17 1:18.155 4 1:22.843 Taylor Potter
18 16 1:18.404 2 1:21.354 Justin Starling
19 20 1:20.224 3 1:24.018 Kyle Bitterman
20 18 1:20.938 2 1:26.210 Bryce Stewart
21 22 1:23.420 2 1:27.103 Nick Desiderio
22 19 1:24.233 3 1:26.697 John Pauk

 

250SX East/West Shootout

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 1:09.101 5 1:09.921 Justin Hill (W)
2 3 1:09.397 4 1:11.201 Jason Anderson (W)
3 4 1:09.520 2 1:11.175 Copper Webb (W)
4 2 1:09.592 9 1:09.858 Dean Wilson (W)
5 20 1:09.854 2 1:09.854 Malcolm Stewart (W)
6 5 1:10.141 5 1:11.377 Jeremy Martin (E)
7 17 1:10.248 5 1:11.283 Justin Bogle (E)
8 6 1:10.547 6 1:12.052 Cole Seely (W)
9 9 1:11.225 4 1:13.229 Shane McElrath (W)
10 7 1:11.281 5 1:12.522 Jake Canada (W)
11 8 1:11.594 4 1:12.911 Kyle Cunningham (E)
12 10 1:12.609 5 1:13.489 Jessy Nelson (W)
13 11 1:12.803 8 1:13.764 Michael Leib (W)
14 12 1:13.192 4 1:14.382 Matt Bisceglia (E)
15 13 1:14.070 3 1:15.092 Jackson Richardson (E)
16 14 1:14.305 5 1:16.742 Alex Martin (E)
17 15 1:14.439 5 1:17.521 Mitchell Oldenburg (E)
18 16 1:16.313 4 1:18.200 Landen Powell (E)
19 19 1:16.805 3 1:17.904 Jimmy Decotis (E)
20 18 1:17.272 2 1:17.272 Gannon Audette (E)
21 21 DNF DNF  DNF Matt Lemoine (E)
22 22 DNS DNS DNS Zach Osborne (W)

Breezy days are nothing new in Las Vegas, but Saturday morning was downright windy. How windy? More than a few EZ-Ups met their demise (Racer X's included) as the wind whipped up, leaving toppled tents and mangled metal in its wake. The majority of the damage took place in the privateer pits, leaving a few riders without shade in the baking desert sun. TLD Lucas Oil Red Bull Honda's Malcolm Stewart also felt the effects during practice when the wind blew him wide over the finish line jump, causing him to crash hard after landing on some Tuff Blox. Luckily, he got up okay.

Oh, and later in the East/West Shootout, Malcolm accidentally caught his rear brake heading over a jump and had a huge endo. Luckily, he got up okay (again).

There's some news on the other Stewart, James, from Las Vegas as well. We talked to Jake Klingensmith, the Yoshimura Suzuki PR man, on Saturday and learned that even though James did indeed sting his knee pretty good (it had to be a good one to prevent him from finishing) in MetLife Stadium, he still plans on racing the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. That, ladies and gentleman, is good news.

The Candy Man! PS: If someone offers you candy in the pits, it's Ronnie Stewart's sister, not a stranger. Photo: Simon Cudby
The Candy Man! PS: If someone offers you candy in the pits, it's Ronnie Stewart's sister, not a stranger. Photo: Simon Cudby

Since we're talking about the Stewarts, we've got to include Ronnie Stewart in this conversation. Ronnie really caught fire this season, making his first 450SX main in Indianapolis and then not missing one since to finish the year twenty-ninth in points. Racer X ran into Stewart's dad on track walk in Vegas and asked what the difference was. The answer? Nothing had really changed, other than Ronnie got better at starts. Who knew starts were so important? We also learned the origin of his nickname, "The Candy Man." It was born out of his main sponsor, Dirt Candy, but gained additional traction when his sister started bringing candy to the races to hand out. 

Alex Martin probably didn't enjoy getting lapped by his brother in the main on Saturday night, but if there's a silver lining (other than the fact that Alex finished eighth in the points, two spots ahead of Jeremy) it's that Jeremy put his brother a lap down mere seconds before taking the checkers on his first win, meaning Alex had a front-row seat to his little brother's first win. It was no doubt a special moment for two of the nicest guys in the pits.

Saturday night bore witness to the final 250SX rides for several riders. Dean Wilson, Cole Seely and Jason Anderson all got booted from the class on Saturday night, although Wilson and Seely were the only two who actually pointed out. Anderson hadn't actually exceeded the points threshold for three seasons, but the rules say that a rider who wins a championship is allowed a retroactive maximum of three years in the class. Hello 450SX for Mr. Anderson! In addition, Malcolm Stewart said in a podium interview that “This is my last race on a 250.” Is there a 450SX deal in the works for Malcolm in 2015?

The Cycle Trader.com Rock River Yamaha team set a personal best in Las Vegas by putting three riders in the main events: Kyle Chisholm (11th in 450SX), Ben LaMay (12th in 450SX) and Alex Martin (7th in 250SX East).

At 32 years old, BTOSports.com KTM’s Andrew Short isn’t exactly in the prime of his career. Yet the thirteen-year veteran logged another solid season, and was one of the most consistent riders in 450SX. Short finished tenth or better in 16 of 17 rounds—joining Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey as the only other riders to achieve the feat—and finished sixth in points—his best finish since 2011. With teammate Matt Goerke out with injury for much of the season, Short carried the BTO KTM banner with pride in 2014.

Shorty just keeps on being Shorty. Age don't matter.Photo: Simon Cudby
Shorty just keeps on being Shorty. Age don't matter.Photo: Simon Cudby

It’s been a trying season for JGR Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant. A season filled more downs than ups, and one riddled by injuries. Although Grant never flashed the podium speed he typically does, he is leaving supercross healthy and ready for the outdoors—where he should improve. But Grant did end the season on a high-note, matching a season-high seventh in Sin City. Grant’s previous season-high came at round 1 in Anaheim.

Traveling from race to race, mostly working of the back of a rental car while the Factory Metal Works/Club MX team hauls his bike to and from the races, Chris Blose continued to grow in 2014 and blossomed down the stretch. The veteran privateer finished a season-best ninth in Vegas—his second top ten of the season—securing a spot inside top twenty in points.

It was a banner night for Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha. The teams’ 250SX East Region rider, Jeremy Martin, secured the first win for the team since Ryan Sipes in Seattle in 2012. In the West Region, Copper Webb led for a number of laps before having to settle for second—the rookies’ third podium on the season.  To cap off the evening Webb and Martin finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout.

51Fifty Energy Drink’s Jake Canada overcame an early crash in the 250SX West Region main event to catch and pass fellow privateer Michael Leib to capture “Top Privateer” honors out west. Canada finished the night tenth and was the only privateer to finish inside the top ten in 250SX West Region points.

Oh, what a year 2014 could have been for Jimmy Decotis. The veteran privateer led a number of laps, wowed the Northeast crowd with a heat race win at MetLife and overall had a good year. But, it was this close to being great. Decotis was able to finish the season strong and earned his first top-five of the season in the 250SX East Region main in Vegas.

Jake Canada was in a knock-down drag out duel for top privateer in 250SX West with Michael Leib and Dakota Tedder. He came out on top.Photo: Simon Cudby
Jake Canada was in a knock-down drag out duel for top privateer in 250SX West with Michael Leib and Dakota Tedder. He came out on top.Photo: Simon Cudby

Did anyone have a more productive, but quiet season than privateer Mitchell Oldenburg? The second year pro out of Texas, by way of Minnesota, finished inside the top ten in four of seven races, and ended the season with a career-high sixth place finish. If not for a late-season shoulder injury that caused him to miss two rounds, Oldenburg had a legitimate chance at top ten in 250SX East Region points.

Gannon Audette finished the season on a high, with a season-best eighth in the 250SX East Region main. The Minnesota native completed his first season in Monster Energy Supercross since his rookie season in 2011—he missed all of the 2012 and 2013 Monster Energy Supercross seasons due to injury.  

What a turnaround season for third year pro Justin Starling. Starling, who had made two main events in his previous two seasons, made six mains in 2014 and finished just one point back of Jesse Wentland for twentieth in East Region points.

Privateer Chris Howell entered 2014 well off anyone’s radar. But the Spokane Valley, Washington, native made quite a name for himself in the 250SX West Region by making five straight mains to end the season. With his sixth main made in Vegas, and his subsequent eighteenth place finish, Howell passed the injured Darryn Durham to capture twentieth in points.

In more privateer news: Blake Lilly (seventeenth) made his first 250SX West Region main … Bryce Stewart (eighteenth), John Pauk (nineteenth) and Nick Desiderio (twenty-second) all made their first 250SX East Region mains of 2014 … both Jackson Richardson (ninth) and Landen Powell (eleventh) had season-highs in the 250SX East Region main.

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