What Really Happened: San Diego Supercross

James Stewart and Justin Hill left San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium with lots of momentum in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series after taking big-time wins this weekend.

James Stewart pass Ryan Villopoto on the opening lap of the main and then held his ground for the remainder of the race. Photo By Shan Moore

James Stewart grabbed his first main event win of 2014 in San Diego this weekend, and the Yoshimura Suzuki rider did it in impressive fashion, passing Ryan Villopoto on the first lap and then holding off the defending series champ for 20 laps to take the “W”. The win was Stewart’s 46th of his career, leaving him just two wins behind the all-time Supercross wins leader Jeremy McGrath.

“We’ve been close all year,” said Stewart. “We had a chance to pass for the lead at Anaheim and then went down. And at Oakland to ride really good and just run out of time, so we were there all along, but now we finally put it all together. We all knew we were close; it was just a matter of time. Tonight, we put 20 solid laps in, and I thought we were fairly aggressive in the opening laps and we ran a solid pace all night.”

After the race, Villopoto admitted that he and his team struggled with bike setup, but the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider still left Qualcomm Stadium with the points lead intact and was more or less pleased with his runner-up finish.

“We were fighting the bike all day, and I felt like we should have been better in practice, but we made a change before the heat races and that’s what we stuck with for the main, and it seemed like it was pretty dialed in,” said Villopoto. “James was able to get around me early and it seemed like we were running back and forth, a couple of tenths here and there from each other. That made it hard to pass, but he rode strong tonight.”

Ken Roczen held on to claim a podium finish in third. Photo By Shan Moore

Ken Roczen didn’t like the track and didn’t like the way he rode, but the Red Bull KTM rider still came away with a solid third place finish and now sits second overall in the series standings, nine points behind Villopoto.

“I’m not too happy with my race in the main event, but I’m happy to get another podium,” said Roczen. “I was just really sketched out, I made a lot of mistakes and almost crashed, so I’m clearly not happy with the riding, but we’re in the championship hunt, so everything is good.”

On the final lap of the race, Chad Reed got squirrelly in the whoops and ran into the back of Roczen when Roczen got out of shape trying to pass lapper Nick Wey. That caused Reed to go down and injure himself.

“I’m bummed about Reed and I hope he’s okay,” said Roczen. “On that last lap, I don’t know if he got on my rear, but I was really close to Nick Wey and I got squirrelly in the whoops and Reed hit me, so I hope he’s okay.”

Weston Peick finished fifth for the second race in a row. Photo By Shan Moore

Riding what is basically a privateer Suzuki, Weston Peick stunned the factory boys again by grabbing his second-straight fifth place finish this weekend. The Motorsports.com/Fly Racing-backed rider started around 15th in the main event, and then amazingly worked his way into the top-10 before passing Andrew Short, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac. And, he had to come through the LCQ to get into the main! “I think it actually worked to my advantage having to come through the LCQ, since I had a lot more laps to get the track down and figure out those lines,” said Peick. “There was a kind of slow section of the track that I was capitalizing on, and that’s where I made most of my passes. That was one of the only places on the track where you could make clean passes and I was just kind of squared everybody up and shot to the inside and made a block pass.”

Surely it will be just a matter of time before this guy gets a factory deal.

Justin Hill grabbed the first SX main event win of this career. Photo By Shan Moore

Justin Hill took advantage of a nasty crash by Dean Wilson to take the lead in the 250 main event, and from there the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider rode a steady race to claim his first-ever supercross main event win. Points leader Jason Anderson tried to reel Hill in late in the race, but Hill was able to maintain a gap over the Rockstar Energy Racing rider.

“What an amazing feeling to get a win,” said Hill. “I had a lot more confidence after getting on the podium in Oakland and I was able to stay focused. I was so focused I missed the white flag; so when I got the checkered I kept charging thinking there was one more lap. This is just so awesome.”

Dean Wilson took a nasty looking crash in the main event of the 250 race. Photo By Shan Moore

After winning the fastest heat race and earning the first gate pick for the main, Dean Wilson grabbed the lead early in the 250 main event and looked to be on his way to a second big win. However, the Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider endoed hard in the whoop section and dropped outside the top-10, which makes it that much more difficult to win the title.

Malcolm Stewart came away with his first-ever podium. Photo By Shan Moore

After leading a short distance of the race, Malcolm Stewart claimed his the first podium finish of his career with a third place. The TLD/Lucas Oil Honda rider even ran over Dean Wilson’s bike when Wilson went down, but he managed to keep it on two wheels and carry on. Malcolm was particularly pleased that both he and his brother, James, finished on the podium in the same race.

San Diego Notes:

• Chad Reed revealed on his twitter feed Sunday that he broke his scapula, collarbone, and fractured his T1 in his crash on the last lap of the main. However, he says he’ll be riding next weekend in Dallas. We’ll see…

• Jake Weimer went down hard in practice, dislocating his shoulder and hurting his wrist, and according to his team will be evaluated before next week’s race.

• Eli Tomac finally completed a race in his inaugural season aboard the GEICO Honda 450, and his seventh-place result with brother Greg, a Captain in the U.S. Air Force cheering him on, made for a satisfying Military Appreciation Day at Qualcomm Stadium. “Not bad for just my second race back,” said Tomac, who suffered a flat tire in last weekend's main event and was unable to finish. “I'm feeling better and better and my shoulder (injured in practice during the first race of the year) is stronger. It's still not 100 percent but it's very close. I know that as it gets better, I'll get better overall.”

• GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn went down in practice and hurt the same hand he injured last week at Anaheim. The hand was still hurting when the evening program rolled around so the Honda rider elected to sit the race out. “I probably should have waited a week but I wanted to race here, especially with it being Military Appreciation night,” Hahn said. “I really tried to ride but as soon as I crashed (in practice) I realized right away that it happened because my hand isn't healed all the way. If I was able to grip the handlebars like normal, I wouldn't have gone down. I decided to take the night off to make absolutely sure I can race up front next weekend in Dallas.”

Results

450 Class

1. James Stewart (Suz)

2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

3. Ken Roczen (KTM)

4. Ryan Dungey (KTM)

5. Weston Peick (Suz)

6. Justin Barcia (Hon)

7. Eli Tomac (Hon)

8. Brock Tickle (Suz)

9. Justin Brayton (Yam)

10. Andrew Short (KTM)

250 Class

1. Justin Hill (Kaw)

2. Jason Anderson (KTM)

3. Malcolm Stewart (Hon)

4. Cole Seely (Hon)

5. Shane McElrath (Hon)

6. Jessy Nelson (Hon)

7. Michael Leib (Hon)

8. Scott Champion (Yam)

9. Jake Canada (Hon)

10. Dean Ferris (KTM)