Monster Energy Supercross Race Report: Round 1, Anaheim, California

So, I just rode a dual sport bike back to the Dirt Rider offices from the first round of the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross Series. While the three minute lifted-truck-dodging ride didn't leave me much time to ponder, there are a few things I'd like to tell you in case you missed the LIVE race coverage tonight on Speed.

First, let's get the results out of the way, here's the rundown courtesy of the Monster Energy Supercross people. Then, I'll tell you what I saw.

Rookie Josh Grant Wins First-Ever Monster Energy® Supercross Race at Angel Stadium

Weimer Opens Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Championship with Huge Win

Anaheim, Calif. (November XX, 2009) - JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha rookie Josh Grant, of Riverside, Calif., won the first AMA Supercross class race of his career before 42,309 fans at the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season opener at Angel Stadium. Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, won the opening race of the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class championship.

San Manuel Yamaha's James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., picked up the AMA Supercross class holeshot as Grant and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Chad Reed followed in third. Reed, the defending Monster Energy® Supercross champion, quickly moved into second place and began his chase on Stewart.

On lap 2 Reed passed Stewart, the 2007 AMA Supercross class champion. Stewart answered back on lap six as he regained the lead, but just a few turns later Reed and Stewart collided, causing each of them to crash. Upon reentering the race, Stewart was hit by GEICO Powersports Honda's Kevin Windham. Stewart was unable to restart his bike and return to the race, while Reed reentered the race in third place.

Grant took over the lead and rode to a flawless win. Honda Red Bull Racing's Andrew Short finished second and Reed finished third.

"I don't know what to say right now," said Grant. "To get my first win out of the way is huge, and I am so pumped. I saw those guys (Stewart and Reed) on the ground and just raced hard to the win."

GEICO Powersports Honda's Dan Reardon, of Menifee, Calif., opened the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class main event with the holeshot, leading Weimer and KTM's Justin Brayton, of Murrieta, Calif., through turn one.

Defending class champion Jason Lawrence was involved in a massive pile-up that collected several riders, including defending Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites class champion Trey Canard, of Shawnee, Okla.

Weimer moved around Reardon on lap two and began to extend his lead. While riding in second and third place, respectively, Reardon and Brayton crashed into one another, losing several valuable positions. This allowed Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ryan Morais, of Murrieta, Calif., to move into second.

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., started tonight's race in 10th place and finished third. Morais finished second and Weimer scored the second AMA Supercross Lites class win of his career and leads the points race.

"This was a great start to the season," said Weimer. "It couldn't be any better than tonight. I look forward to a great season."

AMA Supercross Class Results, Anaheim 1
1. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
2. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
3. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
4. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki
5. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
6. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
7. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Honda
8. Ben Coisy, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
9. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha
10. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y. Kawasaki
AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 25
2. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 22
3. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 20
4. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki, 18
5. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 16
6. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 15
7. Ben Coisy, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 14
8. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Honda, 13
9. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha, 12
10. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y. Kawasaki, 11
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Anaheim 1
1. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
2. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
4. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda
5. Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
6. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM
7. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
8. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda
9. Ben Evans, Boise, Idaho, Honda
10. Chris Gosselaar, Spring Valley Lake, Calif., Kawasaki
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 25
2. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 22
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 20
4. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda, 18
5. Jason Lawrence, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 16
6. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ken., KTM, 15
7. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 14
8. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda, 13
9. Ben Evans, Boise, Idaho, Honda, 12
10. Chris Gosselaar, Spring Valley Lake, Calif., Kawasaki, 11
Tonight's AMA Supercross and AMA Supercross Lites class races will be broadcast on SPEED tomorrow, Sunday, January 4 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. EST. Racing resumes next Saturday, January 10 at Phoenix's Chase Field.

For more information on the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossOnline.com.

Now, for what you didn't hear in that press release. Lites first.

First, let's talk about was how FAST Jason Lawrence was the whole evening on his Yamaha. Sure, he didn't win. And yes, he might have technically "cut" the track at one point on his way to fifth place, but seriously folks, he's faster than ever: so fast that he almost had to eliminate that pesky back corner and two doubles. Besides his speed-induced track cut, everyone should watch out for number one. He was a first lap pile up away from putting a serious dent in the Pro Circuit one-two punch.

Then again, we have to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad once again. Weimer and Morais are going to be the twin-tornado force in the West: sucking up other teams' semi trailers and. I'm predicting they'll be the most consistent finishers on the track week-in and week-out and both will likely be in the hunt. It's early, yes. But those Pro Circuit bikes always find their way up front (and they usually stay there).

Dungey Disappeared? Not really. But he did do a nasty endo over a simple out-of-corner double in his heat race and was basically handed 3rd place after a hard-charging Justin Brayton (KTM) and Holeshot-winning Dan Reardon (Geico Honda) both went down in a tight hairpin corner. Dungey seemed a little off the pace but I heard from the pits that his mechanics are fast as heck. Apparently, his motor failed right before his heat race as they were warming it up. Someone had a clock on the Suzuki crew and they did a complete motor swap in around 13 minutes. Not bad. Dungey is a championship contender and his race results tonight proved you don't have to be the fastest all evening, just lucky in the main. He'll impress as the season goes on. It's a long year.

Now to the big boys.

The main event race was one of the most eventful opening rounds I've ever seen. Congrats to Josh Grant for winning his 450 Supercross debut. But there's more!

There was an epic battle between Rockstar Suzuki's Chad Reed and L&M Yamaha's James Stewart for six laps before everything went south. Somehow, Reed accelerated his new Suzuki faster than Stewart did before a short whoop section. It looked like Stewart slowed up a bit or Reed just charged harder, either way the cushion between the two wasn't enough and Reed's front tire ended up taking out Stewarts rear and depositing both riders onto the ground in a not-so-soft or slow way. It looked like one of those instant impacts. You know the kind--you're riding along fine and dandy then WHAM! You're on the ground and don't know why. That's what happened to Reed and Stewart.

It's really sad because the two were pulling away from third place Josh Grant and battling like crazy. It was also sad because Stewart and Reed were very slow getting up. Stewart actually slumped next to his bike for a bit with that my-head-sucks-right-now look.

As if losing the lead and second place wasn't bad enough, the duo had to deal with a pack of hungry 450s breathing down their necks as they tried to remount. Reedy did a good job (his bell must not have been rung as violently as Stewarts) and managed to jump up without incident. Stewart wasn't so lucky and pushed his bike right into a mid-whoop Kevin Windham--knocking himself and Windham back to the ground. This is more evidence that Stewart's head was foggy. That's not something he'd do if he was thinking straight. Stewart walked off the track, waving to the crowd cheering him off and then chucking his helmet in disgust when he got closer to the exit.

Josh Grant inherited the lead and cruised (almost) to victory. Somehow, on lap 18, his Yamaha grabbed a bale banner and nearly pitched him over the bars. His rear brake began to cook the plastic banner and his bike puffed smoke around and around until finally smoking off the finish line to take the first 450 win for himself (in his first 450 race!) and the first win for the JGRMX/ Toyota /Yamaha team. That's huge.

Andrew Short hung in there for second place, again proving that being in the right place at the right time is muy importante in Supercross.

What about that other 450 rookie? You know, Ryan Villopoto? Well, he had a pretty darn good night, too. First, he won his heat race. This was almost unbelievable. I'm not sure how many 450 rookies have won their first heat races. And, if he didn't get stuck in a bad start in the main, I'm sure he'd have easily pushed the top five and likely the top three. He's podium material. And he'll be there, soon.

The coolest thing about this rookie business is that it seems the "rookies crashing" thing is over.

Some people did crash, though, and cut their Supercross season short.

Broc Hepler made it about ten minutes into practice before he broke his collarbone and Nate Adams (yes, the freestyling Nate Adams) blew up his wrist after coming up short on a triple.

There's a new freestyle halftime show and fat-suit race which is sort of funny and weird at the same time. No more mini KTM bikes. There are a lot of cool pit activities with Toyota and other sponsors and some interesting marketing strategies by some of the teams this year including beer pong and go-go dancers.

More on that later.

I'm going riding tomorrow so I'll talk to you later!

I should also have photos of Weimer, Grant and the rest of the show up early next week. Hang in there.

-Jesse

Chad Reed Supercross Suzuki
Ryan Villopoto Supercross Kawasaki