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San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., won his series-leading ninth race of the season in front 36,984 excited fans inside Toronto’s Rogers Centre, the lone race outside of the United States for the 2009 Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season. Just one week after giving away victory with a crash while leading, the 2007 series champion bounded back resoundingly leading every lap. In the AMA Supercross Lites class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, of Corona, Calif., won his fourth race of the season to capture his first career AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Regional Championship with one race remaining.
With four races left of the 17-race title chase, the championship battle appears to be coming down to the wire at the culminating round in Las Vegas. Stewart reduced his deficit to points leader Chad Reed, of Tampa, Fla., to just eight points and needs to continue to earn victories in order to keep pace with the consistent Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider.
James Stewart Speaks…
"Every week it’s 100 percent," said Stewart. "Everyone makes mistakes once in a while but it’s a long championship and there’s gonna be drama all the way to the end. I went too far inside (on the start) but it worked out and then I turned it on. I want to thank all my guys at San Manuel. We’ve been working hard all week to get here. At the end of the day, I know me, my team, and everyone involved are giving 100 percent and that’s all we can do."
As the gates dropped on the 20-lap main, renowned starter Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., grabbed the holeshot aboard his Rockstar/Makita Suzuki. Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn, of Decatur, Texas, and Stewart followed in second and third with Reed fifth. The series’ top two riders asserted themselves at the front of the pack by the completion of the first lap. The Australian native and reigning series champion stayed close to Stewart throughout the first half of the race, but settled into second en route to recording his ninth runner-up finish of 2009. Factory Yamaha’s Josh Hill, of Yoncalla, Ore., brought home a season-best third place finish.
Chad Reed Speaks…
"The track was tough tonight," stated Reed. I gave it all I had. I just made way too many mistakes and (James) slipped away. I want to thank everybody at Rockstar/Makita Suzuki. We’ll just move onto to Jacksonville (next week). It’s always good to have close racing (for the title) but I’m looking forward to that week off. It will be good for everyone. (My team) wants to be there every week and win this thing. It’s our goal."
Pourcel entered the first turn of the 15-lap AMA Supercross Lites main event in third place as Division 7/Star Yamaha’s Broc Tickle, of Holly, Mich., grabbed the holeshot. His teammate Matt Lemoine, of Collinsville, Texas, followed in second. By the corner two, Pourcel made his move with an impressive inside line that rocketed him to the front. From there, the French rider never looked back to continue one of the most remarkable career comebacks in the history of the sport.
Chris Pourcel Speaks…
"It feels great to come to America and achieve so much success in my first full season," said Pourcel, who after an accident in 2007 wasn’t sure if he would ever walk again let alone race. "I’ve worked really hard all season and so has my team. Tonight I got a good start and had a really good first lap. I’m really proud to win my first championship. It’s been a really great season."
Pourcel’s teammate Austin Stroupe, of Lincolnton, N.C., worked his way through the field to finish second while Tickle held on for an impressive third place finish, his best result of the season. The 2009 AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Regional Championship concludes next weekend.
The AMA Supercross class race from Toronto will air on CBS Sports Sunday, March 29 at Noon EST. The Eastern regional AMA Supercross Lites class race will air on SPEED Sunday, March 29 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Racing continues next weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., for the first-ever Monster Energy® Supercross race at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Saturday, April 4.
AMA Supercross Class Results, Toronto
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
3. Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Yamaha
4. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
5. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
7. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
8. Matt Boni, Geneva, Fla., Honda
9. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
10. Ben Coisy, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 293
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 285
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 209
4. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 190
5. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahasse, Fla., Honda, 179
6. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 173
7. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki, 170
8. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 166
9. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 165
10. Josh Hill, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 128
Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Toronto
1. Christophe Pourcel, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki
2. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki
3. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha
4. Branden Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki
5. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Yamaha
6. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, KTM
7. Matthew Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki
8. Vince Friese, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Honda
9. Daniel Blair, Modesto, Calif., Honda
10. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda
Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Christophe Pourcel, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki, 156
2. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki, 128
3. Nico Izzi, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 112
4. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 102
5. Branden Jesseman, New Brighton, Pa., Kawasaki, 91
6. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, KTM, 83
7. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, 82
8. Matthew Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki, 82
9. Daniel Blair, Modesto, Calif., Honda, 75