In a spectacular night of racing, James Stewart won the opening round of the 2010 AMA Supercross series in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 9 aboard Yamaha’s all-new YZ450F. But the victory was not easy, as Stewart had to chase down rookie rival Ryan Dungey for most of the race, finally passing him for the lead with just three laps remaining.
Meanwhile fellow YZ450F pilots Josh Hill, Ivan Tedesco and Justin Brayton finished sixth through eighth, respectively, while Grant Langston rounded out the top 10. Stewart’s other main rivals both had trouble, as Chad Reed withdrew after one lap with a broken wheel and Ryan Villopoto finished fifth. Also in Supercross Lites West, Yamaha YZ250F-mounted Broc Tickle won his heat race before finishing sixth in the 15-lap main event.
While much of the US was in a deep freeze, Southern California weather conditions proved perfect at Angel Stadium, with a near-capacity 43,841 fans in attendance. Davi Millsaps won the first Supercross heat race and Stewart the second, setting the stage for a hotly anticipated 20-lap main event. When the gate dropped, Stewart and Reed shot off the line side by side – but it was Dungey claiming the holeshot, with Villopoto and Stewart close behind and Reed mired back in sixth.
Dungey set a blistering pace and gradually built up a gap of over four seconds over Stewart. But the L&M Racing Yamaha rider turned on the gas in the closing laps, passing Dungey for the lead and then forging a 3.4-second advantage at the flag, despite a late-race attack by his rival.
James Stewart Speaks…
"Ryan went out really strong in the beginning part of the race," Stewart said afterwards. "We stayed pretty much consistent until I started to push myself during the last 10 laps and that is what racing is all about. I wanted to be there at the end and I was." Yamaha Supercross team manager Jim Perry added, "It was a good start for the 2010 season, with five new 2010 YZ450s in the top 10 for the first main event of the season."