2013 Monster Energy AMA SupercrossThrough five Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, races, there have been four different 450SX Class Main Event winners: Davi Millsaps, Justin Barcia, Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey.
All four of these riders have won 250SX Class Championships before moving to the premier class but only Dungey and Villopoto have captured 450SX Class titles.This year’s field includes two former 450SX Class Champions in James Stewart and Chad Reed, who are winless this year. As the championship heads to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium tomorrow night, will a fifth rider take home the win?The biggest surprise has been the emergence of Rockstar Energy Racing’s Millsaps who made a statement at the season opener when he brought home his fourth 450SX Class Main Event win of his career. He erased all doubt of his season-opening win being a fluke by earning four top-four finishes and has an average finish of 2.3, the lowest average in the class.“All in all it was a good, smart weekend,” said Millsaps about his second-place finish in Anaheim Saturday night. “I didn’t get that great of a start, but somehow I came out of the first turn pretty decent, then a bunch of people went down so that helped me out. I’m not gonna complain about that. I almost threw it away on lap 18 but I pulled it together. There are a bunch of guys out there that can win any weekend. This is [Ryan] Dungey’s first win so that’s pretty cool for him. I had some good battles; it was a good race and I’m just pumped to be on the podium. I’m trying to be as consistent as I can.”Millsaps enjoyed a career-best second place overall in last year’s Monster Energy Supercross Championship, foreshadowing his epic 2013 season. Another key to Millsaps’ success has been his ability to be in it to win it. This weekend will mark Millsaps 100 consecutive 450SX Class start, which will tie him with Kevin Windham on the all-time consecutive start list.After winning the 12th 450SX Class Main Event of his career, Dungey moved from fourth to second in season point standings, narrowing his deficit from 17 to 14. Due to inconsistent finishes in Phoenix (8th) and the second race in Anaheim (6th), Dungey’s march to the top has slowed. Dungey has won in San Diego in the 250SX Class and could become a dual-class winner this weekend.Of the six different riders to earn podium finishes this year, Team Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard and TwoTwo Motorsports’ Reed are the only ones that have not scored a win. Canard has the best average finish with four and has been inside the top seven at the first four races. On Saturday night he turned in his worst performance of the season with a seventh place.“It was one of those nights that you just need to do your best to keep going,” said Canard. “I was riding really cautious in the beginning and stalled my bike. After that I made another mistake. It was a tough night but I need to just look forward and head into next weekend.”Reed has been within the top five at four of the five races and has an average finish of 5.6. At the second race in Anaheim, Reed earned his lone podium finish, and on Saturday night, he finished fifth overall. Reed may have advantage coming into San Diego; he holds the all-time win record at Qualcomm Stadium at six.“I am honestly happy with how tonight went,” stated Reed about his fifth-place finish. “I feel like we now have all the pieces of the puzzle, and it was the first time this year I felt like I could win. I know we are headed in the right direction and I really want to put it all together for a good result. Bring on San Diego.”The only two-time winner this season is Villopoto, scoring wins at the second stop in Anaheim and Oakland.“Last weekend was tough for us,” said Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto. “We’re still in a good place in the championship, but we plan on heading to San Diego to win. I won at Qualcomm last year and feel confident in my bike and team.”Barcia struggled to finish consistency after earning the first win of his career in Phoenix. The rookie premier class rider suffered back-to-back DNFs in Anaheim and Oakland, but bounced back Saturday night with a third-place finish. He’s now seventh overall.“I am really happy with how tonight went,” said Barcia from the podium in Anaheim. “This is an awesome way to come back after the last two weekends that I have had. I was riding really good and am looking forward to next weekend.”Stewart made his Monster Energy Supercross debut at the season opener for the Yohsimura Suzuki team and is patiently awaiting his first win. A two-time 450SX Class Champion, Stewart is one of the sport’s most decorated riders and currently sits 51 points out of the season point standings in eighth place. At the season opener, Stewart set the fastest lap time and subsequently pulled off with a torn ACL. However, the veteran racer has not missed a single Main Event. Saturday night in Anaheim, he finished a season-best fourth place and his average finish is 10.One of the most talked about events is the retirement announcement of Kevin Windham. After a 17-year career competing in Monster Energy Supercross, Kevin Windham decided to hang up his boots at the second stop in Anaheim. A true iron man and legend in the sport, Windham racked up 207 starts and earned 18 Main Event wins, 75 podium finishes and went 14 seasons with a podium finish. With a career average finish of 5.8, Windham is third on the all-time consecutive start list with 100.“The hardest part of all is to hang the boots up,” said Windham. “It has been such an amazing ride, and ever since the Houston supercross, where I took the big crash, it has been weighing on me hard. This is my opportunity to step away with my health. Today is the day that I step away. The GEICO Honda team has been amazing. It has been the most amazing ride, and I am so thankful for every opportunity that I have been given.”While he may not be lining up for the Main Events, Windham is still an integral part of opening ceremonies showcasing his patented ‘transfer’ jump.A dramatic turn of events took place at the Oakland stop of the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship. Defending champion Eli Tomac, who won the first three consecutive races this season, led Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen by nine points heading into Oakland. The GEICO Honda riders’ season was about to take a turn for the worse.Tomac crashed on Lap 1 and re-entered the race in 18th place to start the Main Event in Oakland. On Lap 5, he crashed again in the whoops section and was unable to finish the race. Roczen rode to his first win of his season and moved into a 11-point advantage in season standings over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Cole Seely. Tomac dropped back to third in season standings, 15 points behind Roczen.The following week, Tomac suffered from a bad start and played catch-up during the 15-lap Main Event. Out front, it was Roczen who rode to his second consecutive win of the season and now has a 20-point lead in season standings over Tomac, who moved into second place.“I got stuck back in the middle of the pack at the beginning of the race, which really hurt me,” stated Tomac. “I felt like I was riding good, but by the time I made my way into third the leaders were already too far ahead of me. The most important thing is that we got points and moved up in the standings. I need to work on my starts but we still have plenty of time to get back into the lead.”Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos finished a season-best second place Saturday night in Anaheim. Davalos started the season with a 20th-place finish and has been working his way through the point standings and is currently fourth.“We had a good week leading into San Diego,” said Davalos. “We proved that we have the speed to win last weekend in Anaheim, and I have been working hard to get there. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”After a hard crash in his Heat Race which sent him into the LCQ to fight for a final transfer spot into the Main Event, GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne struggled during the 15-lap race, finishing 10th overall. Osborne slipped from fourth to sixth in season standings. “It was a disappointing night for me,” said Osborne. “I made it into the main but threw it away again with a few more mistakes. I need to stop making these rookie mistakes.”One week after finishing a career-best third place in Oakland, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson finished fifth in Anaheim and is fifth overall in season point standings, two points out of fourth place.“Today went good but not good. Was just figuring stuff out first practice, had a good second practice,” said Anderson. “Had some crashes. Came out of the night with a fifth. I have to go and work on my notes from the night now. I don’t feel like I did too much wrong; I just need to stay out of the squirrely mid pack.”This weekend is the last Western Regional 250SX Class race until April 20 at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. Next weekend, the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship will begin at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium.Tomorrow night’s race will air live on SPEED at 10:30 p.m. EDT/7:30 p.m. CDT. CBS will feature the one-hour feature Monster Energy Supercross: Ryan Villopoto Champion on Sunday, February 10 at Noon EDT.Each Saturday from 2 – 5 p.m. local race Supercross LIVE! featuring Jim Holley and Kevin Barnett, will stream live video coverage of practice and qualifying from each Monster Energy Supercross race with special guests like Kevin Windham, Nick Wey, and other industry super stars every week.For more information or to watch previous rounds, visit supercrossonline.com/supercrosslive!
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!