Kawasaki celebrates Stewart's San Diego win
KAWASAKI SHINES IN SAN DIEGO; STEWART WINS
Grant Langston posts a runner-up finish in the Supercross Lites class
SAN DIEGO (February 11, 2006) -- Kawasaki Racing Team's James Stewart put in another thrilling performance aboard his KXT450F to win his fifth Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross race this season. The 20-year-old Floridian kept a near-capacity crowd of 69,005 on its feet at Qualcomm Stadium Saturday night for 18 solid laps before passing Ricky Carmichael to take the win. Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Grant Langston gave a hero's effort aboard his KX250F to capture a runner-up finish in the Supercross Lites race.
Stewart kicked-off the very cool, dry evening by earning a hard-fought victory in his eight-lap heat race. Shortly after the starting gate dropped, Stewart was punted off the track by Jeremy McGrath in the first turn, forcing him to the back of the pack. Despite the setback, Stewart rode incredibly fast and posted some of the fastest lap times of the day to regain the lead and take the win. "I guess Jeremy was trying to get me back from last week," said Stewart from the podium. "I don't mind, I rode hard and came back all the way to the front and I'll be back in the main."
In the main event, Stewart got a good start and settled in behind Ricky Carmichael before the end of the first lap. As the laps clicked away, Stewart rode a very solid race while never allowing more than a few bike lengths between him and Carmichael. Once the two-lap board came out, Stewart made his move and put a perfect block pass on Carmichael in a 180-degree turn to take the lead and then the win. With the win, Stewart gained three points on Carmichael in the series standings and now sits 11 points behind him heading into the next round at St. Louis.
"Ricky and I had a good battle," said Stewart. "Throughout the race I sized him up and made my pass. It feels good to ride on a track that has tacky dirt. I knew that after last weekend I had a long way to go so this win feels good."
Stewart's teammate, Michael Byrne, made his way to the main event by finishing second in his heat race. In the main event, Byrne got a good start and had his Kawasaki KX450F running in the sixth position after one lap. He slid into the seventh spot one lap later and would eventually finish in that position.
Meanwhile, in the Supercross Lites class, Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto captured his second heat race win of the season with Langston close behind. The pair rode incredibly fast aboard their KX250Fs to preview the main event. Unfortunately, however, both riders were shut out going into the first turn of the Supercross Lites main event and they were forced to climb up through the pack. Langston led the charge from 13th with Villopoto close behind as the pair picked off riders one-by-one and lap-by-lap before the white flag waved. Langston's heroic effort to capture his second win for the season ended too soon, as he crossed the finish line a mere 0.837-seconds behind Andrew Short. Villopoto rounded out the top five while Richmond Kawasaki's Darcy Lange finished seventh.
The Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series heads East to St. Louis next weekend (Feb. 18) for round six at the Edwards Jones Dome.