JAMES ESCAPES A1 OPENER WITH A HARD-FOUGHT 6TH
The largest Supercross gathering on the planet in any given year, the Anaheim 1 series opener once again hosted the world’s best racers and most dedicated fans on Saturday night to kick-off what many are predicting to be the most competitive season in Supercross history. The 2012 AMA Supercross Series title is the prized possession at the end of the 17-round battle, and no one knows the importance of a strong start better than two-time champ, James Stewart.
Sure, a sixth-place finish wasn’t what JS7 woke up dreaming about on Saturday morning, but with solid points, his health, and a few key learning experiences under his belt, James and the rest of the JGRMX squad are armed and ready for a huge showing next weekend at round number two.
For now, here’s how things shook down in Angel Stadium, but be sure to check back next Saturday for detailed coverage from Phoenix…
SUPERCROSS QUALIFYING HEATS
• With series championship contenders Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto safely advancing out of Supercross Heat #1, the gates dropped for the second Supercross-class heat race of 2012, and James jumped out to a solid top-five start.
• Midway through lap two, JS7 took over the third spot and set his sights on Red Bull teammate Ryan Dungey in second.
• Shortly after the start of lap three, Stewart put the move on Dungey for second, and immediately began reeling in Andrew Short up front.
• James took over the lead on lap five, and continued to throw down consistently quick laps as he walked away with the heat win.
SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
• With the sold out Anaheim crowd on their feet, the gate finally dropped for the much-anticipated Supercross-class main event, but unfortunately James got pushed wide and off the track through turn one.
• Sitting just inside the top-ten as the pack circulated during the first go-around, James had his work cut out for him as defending series champ Villopoto inherited the early lead and quickly began stretching out a gap between himself and second-place Reed.
• By the halfway point, JS7 had worked his way into the third spot, but with leader Villopoto way out front, he appeared to be putting in what many would call a safe and conservative ride.
• While battling with Dungey for the third spot, the two Red Bull riders began reeling in second-place Reed.
• By lap 16, a three-way battle for second ensued, as Stewart got back by Dungey and began closing in on Reed. Just moments later, however, James went down in a rhythm section, and his shot at an opening-round podium was gone.
• JS7 remounted in fourth, but lost two more positions while trying to get his bike dialed back in.
• James ended the night in a disappointing sixth place, but was in fairly high spirits after the race and looks forward to turning things around next weekend in Phoenix.
1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Chad Reed
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Justin Brayton
5. Jake Weimer
6. James Stewart
7. Andrew Short
8. Kevin Windham
9. Mike Alessi
10. Josh Hansen