Doug Henry Takes X Games SuperMoto Gold - News - Dirt Rider Magazine

After watching him best Juha Salminen at the Orange Crush GNCC and finish top-five at the Southwick National, no one should have been surprised by Doug Henry's stellar performance in the X Games SuperMoto race. Henry chased down early leader and fellow Yamaha rider Chad Reed to finish ahead of McGrath and Reed, earning his first X Games gold medal.The X Games track was far from the traditional SuperMotard course. The majority of the course was dirt with many obstacles and rhythm sections. Huge ramps took racers in and out of the arena to the road racing section in the parking lot. The start was motocross-style (on dirt) complete with a starting gate.The race was twice as long as last year's, running 45-laps and lasting nearly an hour. But the biggest difference in this year's race was the mandatory pit stop and tire change. Pit crews were even required to wear flame-retardant suits. In the end, all the elements made for a great race.Competing in this year's Supermoto was the usual suspects: Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, Chad Reed, Eric Bostrom, Doug Henry, Kurt Nicoll, etc. But the notoriety of last year's race and the growing popularity of SuperMoto attracted more new faces. The resulting line up was an eclectic mix of riders from all disciplines of racing: supercross, motocross, freestyle, road racing, flat track, off road and even desert. Baja 500 winner Mouse McCoy competed in his first-ever SuperMoto race at this year's X Games.After Saturday's practice and qualifying, many of the riders speculated that the American motocross riders would most likely have the advantage with the numerous dirt sections and obstacles. Although the qualifying times didn't reflect those predictions, the final results did.Chad Reed took the holeshot and lead the early race with Doug Henry on his heels. After a few laps and a bit of dicing, Henry was able to overtake Reed. Once he made the pass stick, Henry opened up a gap and led the remainder of the race all but unchallenged.An early crash left Jeremy McGrath mid-pack with a broken handguard. But fortunately it was a long race. McGrath put his head down and charged for the 45-laps, working his way back up. In the last few minutes of the race, McGrath got around Reed to take second place behind Henry. Moto GP rider Eric Bostrom and KTM's off-road guru Kurt Nicoll rounded out the top five."The thing that I love about this race after racing Supercross for such a long time—it's a lot more business over there," said McGrath. "This is a lot more fun. Even though everybody wants to win, the athletes over here get treated the way they're supposed to and I think that's great.""My endurance was good," said Reed, "I had to hold my body in an awkward position the whole race and I had to get used to the 450cc from the beginning."Pit strategy was a big part of the race. Gas stops and wheel changes on-the-fly are not standard procedure for the majority of teams who were participating. Crews could be seen practicing their pit stops all weekend—which seemed to have paid off. The pit stops during the race were NASCAR-worthy and fans loved the spectacle."I was thinking of the pits because I wanted a little bit of a gap," said Henry. "You never know what could happen so I tried to get a gap and come out of the pit stop ahead."The big downhill into the arena was the most troublesome spot on the course and made for some spectacular crashes. Before the ramp was a tricky step-up that was tempting to hit at speed, but as Husqvarna's Eddy Seel demonstrated during Sunday morning's practice, could easily turn into a huge downhill endo. Seel hit his front tire on the lip and went completely over the bars at the top of the ramp. Luckily he was unhurt aside from a minor foot injury.During the race, Mouse McCoy had another huge wreck on the big downhill when he blew a crank in mid air. When he touched down on the ramp the locked motor sent him catapulting over the bars. The bike landed on him as he tumbled down the ramp, but luckily Mouse was able to walk away (professional stuntmen really know how to tumble)!" going up the face of the step-up wide open, hit the ramp and it locked up and just threw me right over the bars," said McCoy after the race, "It's the worst place in the world your motor could ever blow! It was just really bad timing. I got pretty beat up but my (Troy Lee) road race gear saved me when my bike landed on top of me."There's more to come on this week from X Games 11 including a behind the scenes look from the Moto X pits, hardware, interviews and more photos.

MC triples into the rhythm section and prepares to pass Kurt Nicoll.
Doug Henry reels in early race leader Chad Reed.
_Photo by: Dom Cooley
Moto GP racer Eric Bostrom leans it waaaaay over.
_Photo by: Paul Buckley
Joel Albrecht models his Two Brothers Racing fire suit.
MXer turned Indy racer Jeff Ward
Chad Reed descends the downhill ramp - the site of some spectacular crashes over the weekend.