Heading up the 125 ace riders are AMA 125 East Supercross champ Grant Langston and AMA 125 West title winner Ivan Tedesco. Both ride for Monster Energy Drink/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.
Langston, 22, from South Africa, earned his first AMA Supercross title last month in Pontiac, Mich., in the closest AMA 125 Supercross Series in history. Josh Hansen tied Langston in the final 125 East standings, but Langston won the title by virtue of having more wins on the season. It marked the first time the championship ended in a points tie.Langston took three wins during the seven race 125 East Series en route to winning the title. It marked a successful comeback for Langston who missed much of the 2004 racing season on the sidelines with injury. He’s looking forward to Las Vegas. “A win in the Shootout would obviously be a great way to close out the Supercross season,” said Langston.Fellow East Region riders such as Josh Hansen and Davi Millsaps, who both earned victories in the 125 East Series this year, back Langston.”Everyone is on top of their game coming into Las Vegas,” said Hansen, son of former AMA Supercross champ Donnie Hansen. “This race means a lot as far as bragging rights. It’s Las Vegas so I’m sure a lot of riders are going to take some gambles to try to get the win.”Tedesco heads up a strong contingent of West Region riders. Tedesco earned his second straight THQ AMA 125 West Supercross championship last month in Seattle.This will mark the ninth year of the East/West 125 Shootout. East riders lead the series with five wins to three for the West, but the West has two riders in Andrew Short and Nathan Ramsey, who have each won the prestigious Shootout before. Ramsey, who rides for Red Bull KTM, will be a rider to watch. The three-time West Region race winner has twice taken home the Shootout crown. He has the chance to become the first rider to win the East/West Shootout three times.Andrew Short, one of the leading West riders and 2003 Coombs Shootout winner, feels the West riders have a great chance this year. “I’m going to make some enemies back East,” said Short, who rides for Honda and won the 125 West round last weekend in Houston. “Millsaps is fast and Grant (Langston) has a lot of experience, but I think with West riders like Tedesco, Ramsey and myself we’re going to be tough to beat.”The Dave Coombs Sr. 125 East/West Shootout is named after the late pioneering motocross promoter Dave Coombs, Sr., who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.While the 125 riders will be the focus in Las Vegas, there is still a round of the THQ AMA Supercross Series to go. Kawasaki’s James Stewart is the hottest rider in the series having won three of the last four rounds. Stewart twice won the East/West Shootout as a 125 rider and is now looking to end the season in the 250 class on a high note as well.Stewart won last weekend in spite of crashing in practice and bruising his ribs. “My mom was a great inspiration for me tonight,” Stewart said. “I had a rough weekend and she just told me to go out there and have fun,” Stewart continued. “My crew did a great job with my Kawasaki and I finished strong, so now I’m pumped about Vegas.”Chad Reed and newly crowned THQ AMA Supercross Series champ Ricky Carmichael are also hoping to score a win in Las Vegas.Carmichael is looking for his third win in Las Vegas, Reed his second. Honda’s Kevin Windham is the defending race winner and has closed out the season strong with a pair of podium finishes in the last three rounds.Doors open at Sam Boyd Stadium at 12:30 pm, the main event starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available at the Thomas and Mack Center Box Office, all UNLV outlets (including Galleria at Sunset, The Meadows Mall, the Boulevard Mall, all Station Casinos and Fiesta Properties), or you can charge by phone at 1-866-8-FINALS. The stadium also features a non-alcoholic family section. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request Family Section for an alcohol-free family atmosphere.The Las Vegas Supercross finale will be televised nationally on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 8 starting at 1:00 pm EST.