2011 AMA Supercross
The 2011 Supercross season – touted by many as the most competitive in history – may be remembered for how the evening unfolded Saturday night in Salt Lake City and its impact on the title.
It was a perfect example of how fast fortunes can change and the significance of a solid race result. Going into the penultimate round, four riders were separated by nine points (Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart), a very narrow margin given the unpredictable nature of Supercross competition.
When the gate dropped for the main event, San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart stepped out front and began gapping the field. Stewart dropped the Yamaha in a slow corner, picked himself up, only to get off hard fifty feet after remounting. Stewart, as he’s done so often, mounted a gallant charge to salvage some points.
The mishap allowed the top three riders in the point standings, Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki), Chad Reed (Two-Two Motorsports Honda), and Ryan Dungey (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) to take up the same positions on track, Villopoto having been handed the lead with Stewart’s fall.
At the line it was Villopoto with the win, his sixth of the season, extending his points lead to 318. A cushion perhaps going into Vegas for the final, but by no means cruise control. Chad Reed, with his second, is at 309 points. And rounding out the podium, Ryan Dungey has 306. Stewart regrouped to finish tenth, taking his total points to 284.
Stewart was doing everything right, he was leading the main event, a win would have put him solidly in the mix going into Vegas. Seeing him fall was heartbreaking, because we all love a good race, and the series was shaping up for a battle royal in sin city. But, this is racing.
There will be a lot of speculation and the requisite “what-ifs?” that always accompany situations like this, but unfortunately, Stewart is out of the championship title chase.
The focus is now shifted to three very worthy racers; Villopoto, Reed and Dungey. These three riders go into Las Vegas for the finale, separated by twelve points. Rest assured, what happens in Vegas next weekend, will definitely not be staying Vegas.
2011 Supercross Championship Point Standings (one round remaining)
Ryan Villopoto 318
Chad Reed 309
Ryan Dungey 306