Saturday in Arlington had the ingredients for being another spectacular night of Monster Energy AMA Supercross racing. Not only was it the seventh round of the series, it was also the second stop of the Toyota Triple Challenge, as well as the opening round of the 250 SX East Regional class. Instead, 250 SX rookie Adam Cianciarulo won his debut race without much drama, and the competition in the 450 class did not have the edge of the seat excitement fans have been enjoying through the first six rounds.
James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. Back-to-back wins for Stewart have him nipping at Ken Roczen’s heels for third in the standings, 14 points behind Ryan Villopoto. In an impressive ride, Stewart looked smooth, fast and completely comfortable on his RM-Z450. He’s gaining momentum and surely has Villopoto’s attention. Win.
Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. It’s taken Dungey five races to get his 450 SX-F back onto the podium and, while he didn’t look happy with second place, having given up the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot to Stewart, you can almost hear DeCoster’s sigh of relief. Dungey is still more than a race behind, but he looked fast all night. Win.
Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. Barcia used his signature aggressive style to good effect while battling for the last spot on the box. He battled variously with Roczen and Brayton for much of the race, and eventually withstood the pressure of Villopoto in the closing laps to finally claim a trophy with his CRF450R. Seven races into the season Barcia rides near his potential. Win.
Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. Extending his points lead despite missing the podium this week, Villopoto rode smart on a night that saw him slide out his KX450F in his Heat, and make a few mistakes in the Main. With Chad Reed out due to injury, he has one less top rival chasing him. Win.
Andrew Short. BTOSports KTM. Dungey has been called Mr. Consistency throughout his career, but Short is the most consistent performer through seven rounds of the series so far. He took his KTM 450 SX-F to a 7th in Phoenix, and every other round Short has finished 9th or 10th. In a deep field, he’s staking out his territory. Win.
Wil Hahn. GEICO Honda. After sitting out the San Diego round due to a hand injury, it’s great to see the 450 rookie rebound with an 8th place finish, equaling his previous best-of-season result. No slippage. Win.
RCH Soaring Eagle Supercross Team. It was a big night for the team owned by Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart. Both Josh Grant and Broc Tickle had their best finishes of the year on their Suzuki RM-Z450s, and both finishing in the Top 10 (Tickle, 7th; Grant 9th). Win.
Chad Reed. Discount Tire Racing Kawasaki. No amount of grit and positive thinking is going to overcome the kind of injuries Reed sustained from his heartbreaking last lap crash at Qualcomm Stadium. Reed said he was going to Arlington and would try to race—garnering huge props from his fans, who tweeted #ironman all week—but after starting a hot lap to get a Qualifying time, Reed had to pull off and head to the hospital. Surely he’s cost himself at least a week’s recovery time by not staying off his KX450F and giving his body adequate time to heal. Will he be back at Atlanta? We hope not; we want a fully recovered and healthy Reed on the track. Lose.
Eli Tomac. GEICO Honda. Having missed the first four races of the season, rookie Tomac is certainly at a disadvantage in terms of experience and racing edge. Still, we were hoping to see Tomac equal or better last week’s performance, not drop down four places in the finishing order. Lose.
TV Fans. Who wants to see the live showing of Monster Energy AMA Supercross in low-definition on Fox Sports 2? Answer: No one. We’re spoiled and we want every race in HD. Lose.
Photos by Simon Cudby and Jake Klingensmith