Photos by Pete Peterson
Round seven of the 2013 supercross season means the start of the 250F East series, but the track looked like it didn’t get the memo. The layout inside Cowboys Stadium was hard packed and tricky, with a lot of crashes all day and night. The conditions favored smoothness over aggressiveness where the battle was to finish without mistakes rather than going for big moves.
Rockstar Energy’s Davi Millsaps held onto his point lead with another cool and confident ride in the main event. Monster Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto did what he needed to take the win with some breathing room. TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed, who looked one year ago like he was sure to win until his season-ending crash, looked like he didn’t quite have the speed or risk-taking for a podium, and missed it by one when Red Bull KTMs Ryan Dungey nabbed the third place spot from him on the fourteenth lap of the main.
In the 250F East coast division, the racers were seeing their first racing of the year. It was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson who took the victory, looking like he’s a step ahead of his competition as the season starts. Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Blake Wharton took second after making the main through the LCQ, and Geico Powersports Honda’s Wil Hahn got the final podium spot, earning it was one of the very few riders all night who managed to pass through the pack on the hard pack track.
The heat races got underway with the best race of the night as Wilson, Motoconcept’s Gavin Faith, and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin were all going for, at at one time in, the front position. Eventually Wilson pulled a slight margin, Hahn washed out his front end, and Musquin held steady in second. The second 250F heat was the first of young Geico Powersports Honda’s Zach Bell’s career, but he rode with a lot of body English and confidence from his holeshot right up until a really horrible crash over one of the track’s triple. Bell separated from his bike and landed hard. He was down for a couple minutes, but got up on his feet and onto the Asterik Mobile Medical Unit’s Mule to head off the track for observation. The race, 4 laps into the 6 lapper, was red-flagged then restarted with yet another staggered start. Three years ago no one would have believed this start style for a race too far into the lap count to make a gate drop seem fair. The racers lined up in the positions they’d held and restarted. It looks odd, but it’s a good and fair way to reward riders for the positions they’d worked up to before the red flag. The race has a wild finish with Wharton aggressively diving inside Team National Switchgear/Shea Racing/PassportWorld.com/SMS Racing KTM rider Steven “Scuba” Clarke coming out of the final corner. The two tangled up the face, with neither crossing in a finishing position. The AMA’s official finish line scoring isn’t necessarily counted from the lip of the jump, so initially Wharton was awarded 9th (qualifying into the main), even though he didn’t make it over the jump in 9th. The AMA considered the finish, and awarded 9th to Clarke, who also hadn’t crested the jump before several other riders had passed. All told, it seemed like another odd, but fair move on the part of the AMA officials.
The 450 heat racing didn’t have the same level of dicing or interesting happenings. In the first heat, Ryan Villopoto got off in the lead, but Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, who looked confident and smooth in practice, stayed close and eventually passed to take the heat race win. JGRMX’s Justin Brayton rounded out the podium in third. The second 450 heat started with a Motoconcepts’ Mike Alessi holeshot, with Davi Millsaps, the night’s fastest qualifier, in second. Justin Barcia, just like his teammate Canard in heat one, dropped the bike in turn 2 and would have to play catch up. Barcia made it harder on himself with a second crash, and did not qualify directly. On lap two, Millsaps passed into the lead and held it until the checkers. Dungey eventually got by Alessi for second, with Alessi taking third.
The big news in the LCQs is that Zach Bell was actually okay from his brutal crash and not only lined up on the line, but finished second, behind Blake Wharton, to qualify into the main event. Barcia won the 450 main without any drama or apparent struggle, and N-Fab/TiLube’s Chris Blose fought his way into the second position, to earn the final spot in the main event.
The 250F main started badly for Marvin Musquin with a crash in the first turn. He quickly recovered, but would be starting his points chase this season from dead last. AG Motorsports Honda’s Kyle Peters holeshotted and lead for a short while until Dean Wilson took over the lead on the opening lap and was never challenged. Blake Wharton, with the 19th gate pick, found himself up near the front and on lap 2 took over second position. He would hold that comfortably until the checkers. The two men on the move where Wil Hahn, who battled from near 10th to get up to the podium, and Marvin Musquin who passed his way through riders on the tough-to-pass track to finish in sixth.
The 450 main had a little more action up front, but again the hard pack track seemed to punish aggressive riding or bold moves, and mostly the riders finished near where they started. Davi Millsaps was credited with the holeshot award, but Villopoto was in the lead before the second turn and quickly put some breathing room between him and the rest and held there for his third victory of the season. Chad Reed moved into second place for about four laps, but Millsaps cooly passed him back and took control of second place for the rest of the race. Millsaps rode… well, like a champion. With (at that point) over a race win’s worth of points over Villopoto, Millsaps rode smart and came off the track that bit so many other riders with 22 points. Dungey found himself at Reed’s rear wheel, and on lap 14 made the pass and held there for 3rd. Reed would eventually finish fourth, with Justin Brayton finishing 5th.
Where was Stewart? Trapped in the pack again? No such luck. Stewart was out with a mechanical DNS that was discovered on the starting line. For a day that looked to be going well for him, possibly a turn around point in the season, ended before the 30 second board even went up in the air. Stewart left Dallas 79 points down on Millsaps, so his title hopes took a hard hit. But with the erratic results 2013 has provided so far, anything can happen. The main in the championship lead right now is Davi Millsaps, and if he can keep doing what he’s doing, consistently getting podiums and wins, his 21 point cushion will be very difficult for any rider to overcome.