Irvine, Calif. (April 21, 2008) – Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Branden Jesseman scored a runner-up finish in the AMA Supercross Lites class at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. His teammate Ryan Villopoto finished fourth. In the AMA Supercross class, Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn finished fifth and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Travis Preston came home ninth. Monster Energy/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki rider Kelly Smith rocketed to the holeshot, while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry was 21st.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent
Jesseman came into St. Louis on the heels of his best finish of the season last week. He got a great start out of the gate and led the first four laps of the main event. Jesseman held on for the runner-up finish.
“Getting my second-straight podium is great,” said Jesseman. “I feel like I can breathe again. My Kawasaki is capable of winning every race and I was just putting pressure on myself. I came out and gave it all that I could and I’m glad I could get two podiums in a row.”
Jesseman has been riding with his Pro Circuit teammate Villopoto at the Kawasaki test track and the time the two have spent together has paid off.
“I got a good start in the heat race,” said Jesseman. “I came in second behind Ryan (Villopoto). My starts were good all night. I’ve been riding with Ryan all week and it has been paying off. My Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has been good since day one. Whether it is practice or the race, the bike is always top-notch.”
Villopoto came into the event at St. Louis with hopes of claiming the Eastern Region AMA Supercross Lites championship, but it didn’t come together as contact with another rider near the finish line on the seventh lap knocked him out of contention. Villopoto regrouped to finish fourth and hold onto second place in the season standings.
“I don’t really know what happened,” said Villopoto. “I came in right before the finish line and went over the little single jump. It seemed like he jumped right into me. He hit me and blasted me off the track. My body hit the pole holding up the finish line and my bike ended up in the whoops section. I’m disappointed. I had to get back on the bike and finish the race.”
Monster Energy/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki rider Smith qualified for the main event through his heat race and used the early gate pick to launch himself to the front of the field and earn the holeshot award. Smith’s run at the front was short lived as a rider behind him miscalculated a jump and landed on his back.
“I felt like the old days for me,” said Smith. “It was my first holeshot on the big bike, but my night ended shortly after that when Davi (Millsaps) jumped into the back of me. We’ve been doing pretty well. It was kind of a last minute decision to run some races. Kawasaki hooked us up with some good bikes. We haven’t had much time, but it is turning out to be a pretty good deal.”
Top Five Again
Hahn made a strong run on his Kawasaki KX™450F, earning his second top-five finish in four races. Hahn rode strong all weekend, leading his heat race and running with the leaders in the main event. Hahn returns to the lites class next week for the final round of the Western Region at Seattle, Wash.
“I just tried to be consistent and avoid the carnage out there,” said Hahn. “I put in some strong laps and just wanted to hang in there at the front. I was pumped. I’ve had some bad luck the last two races, but I’m sure if I would have stayed up I would have been close to the top five in those too. It felt really good to lead the heat race. It’s been a while. I came close to leading the main last week. I was happy to be back at the front.”
Preston didn’t get the start he was looking for in the main event, but he battled a challenging track and ran a competitive race. Preston was able to hold on and score his fourth top-10 finish of the season with a ninth place.
“I seemed to get tired today,” said Preston. “I’m not sure if it is starting in the middle of the season, or what. Some of these tracks just wear me out. I should have had a better finish, but I got a little winded and out of control, so I backed her down and finished ninth. It seemed like chaos. In the first turn I saw dudes flying off the track. It was a hard track to pass too, so you had to be very technical to get by people. I am staying consistent and staying inside the top ten, so that’s all right.”
In the heat race, Ferry was part of a three-way battle for the lead for much of the eight-lap event. On the final lap, Ferry took an aggressive line through one of the rhythm sections and went over the handlebars. Ferry was unable to get up in time to earn a transfer spot, but knew he was guaranteed a spot in the main event.
“I felt like I was riding well in practice,” said Ferry. “I was riding really well in my heat race until I clipped a jump and went over the bars. The crash set me up for a bad gate pick. Davi beat me last week in the main event and this was my chance to show him I’ve got more speed. I was trying to get the heat race win and get in his head a little bit, but it didn’t work out. I jammed my thumb in the crash. It wasn’t too bad. I just ran a couple of laps in the LCQ and pulled it in to give Dana (Wiggins) a chance to work on the bike.”
Just a Start
To get into the main event, Ferry used a provisional gate pick forcing him to start from the far right of the starting gate. He jumped out and was in a good position going into the first corner before he went over the berm and ended his night early in 21st position.
“I went in hot in the first turn and I was taking a big chance,” said Ferry. “I wanted to pull off something big from the outside. I had 21st gate pick. It just didn’t work out. I ended up on the ground. It was a rough day. I just knocked the wind out of me in the first turn. Once I caught my breath, I just wanted to get out there and finish the race and try and get some points, but it was just not meant to be.”
Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series
Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis, Mo.
April 19, 2008
AMA Supercross Results
1. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha
3. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
5. TOMMY HAHN, ALVORD, TEXAS, MOTOSPORT XTREME KAWASAKI
6. David Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
7. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
8. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Honda
9. TRAVIS PRESTON, HESPERIA, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
10. Jason Thomas, Melrose, Fla., Honda
21. TIMMY FERRY, LARGO, FLA., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
AMA Supercross Points Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Yamaha, 318
2. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 305
3. David Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 244
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 241
5. Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Yamaha, 196
6. TIMMY FERRY, LARGO, FLA., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 190
7. Nathan Ramsey, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 173
8. Davis Vuillemin, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 146
9. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Honda, 136
10. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., KTM, 131
AMA Supercross Lites Results (East Coast)
1. Trey Canard, Elk City, Okla., Honda
2. BRANDEN JESSEMAN, NEW BRIGHTON, PA., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
3. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Honda
4. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POULSBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
5. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
6. KYLE CHISHOLM, SEMINOLE, FLA., MOTOSPORT XTREME KAWASAKI
7. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., KTM
8. Nico Izzi, Saint Clair, Mich., Suzuki
9. Michael Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., KTM
10. Bill Payne, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda
AMA Supercross Lites FINAL Points Standings (East Coast)
1. Trey Canard, Elk City, Okla., Honda, 147
2. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POULSBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 137
3. Nico Izzi, Saint Clair, Mich., Suzuki, 99
4. BRANDEN JESSEMAN, NEW BRIGHTON, PA., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 94
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Honda, 91
6. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Yamaha, 86
7. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 84
8. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., KTM, 84
9. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., KTM, 73
10. Bill Payne, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda, 71
12. KYLE CHISHOLM, SEMINOLE, FLA., MOTOSPORT XTREME KAWASAKI, 58