Monster Energy Supercross – San Diego 2014 | Winners & LosersThe San Diego round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series had its share of surprises, triumphs, and heartbreaks.
James Stewart takes his first win, Chad Reed suffers multiple injuries, and everyone is still wondering when Justin Barcia is going to show up in the Final.WinnersJames Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. Stewart grabbed as many points as he could Saturday night in Qualcomm Stadium, landing on the top step of the points-paying-AMA-Monster-Energy-SX box for the first time in over a year. This still leaves him a race plus one point behind Ryan Villopoto, but we like what we’re seeing from JS7.Yes, he’s had two less-than-top five finishes this year, but his other four races show a more patient and happier Stewart than in 2013. “It’s been a long time since I led a race,” Stewart said after the race. “To get half way and get a little smile on my face, like here we go, and feel good. I’m happy.” Big Win.Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. Villopoto continues to show why he’s a three-time AMA Supercross champ – consistency. He chased Stewart the entire 20 laps, got close enough to challenge several times, but kept it on two wheels to settle for 2nd. In a season where we’ve had four different winners in six races, it’s clear that staying on the box is key. Villopoto extends his lead leaving the west coast. Win.Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. The rookie continues to impress. He charged out of the gate in his Heat and won going away, besting Villopoto – who finished 3rd – by over seven seconds, earning the best gate pick of the night. Roczen didn’t get off quite so quickly in the Main, but managed to tuck into 4th right behind Chad Reed by the 2nd lap.Roczen doggedly pursued Reed until getting around him and into podium contention by lap 8. Roczen was hounded continually by Reed, and Ryan Dungey, all the way till the end of the race. Four podiums and just 9 points off Villopoto in points – awesome riding by the rookie. Win.Weston Peick. MotorSports.com. A second-consecutive top five finish for the privateer, and coming out of the LCQ, no less; how can we not be impressed? He got off to a crummy 14th place start, but kept his MotoSport.com Suzuki moving through the pack, and passed celebrated Honda riders Tomac and Barcia with a handful of laps to go. He has moved into the top 10 in overall points, and is the surprise of the year. Win.Eli Tomac. GEICO Honda. Tomac finishes 20 laps for the first time this season. No, not on the box, not in the top five, and he had to qualify out of the Semi, and Tomac was almost 34 seconds behind Villopoto by the time he crossed the finish line in 7th = but he finished, something he hadn’t yet accomplished this year. He was the only GEICO Honda rider competing Saturday, as teammates Wil Hahn, Zach Osborne, and Zach Bell were injured. Win.Andrew Short. BTOSports KTM. Short continues his string of top-10 finishes, and won the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot award by switching up his routine and starting in third gear. Win.Phil Nicoletti. Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha. Nicoletti had an eventful night. Filling in for injured JGRMX rider Josh Grant, Nicoletti got the holeshot in his Heat on his YZ450F, but crashed while leading the field. Teammate Justin Brayton was unable to avoid running into the downed rider, hitting Nicoletti’s helmet hard with his front wheel. It was a scary moment, but Nicoletti was able to line up for his Semi.He almost garnered another holeshot, then faded to 6th, one spot away from qualifying for the main. Fortunately, he made it happen in the LCQ. While his ultimate 20th place finish may be disappointing, Nicoletti showed a lot of heart, and promise, as JGRMX’s fill in rider. Win.Our Troops. In support of Operation Homefront, Feld Motor Sports honored the men and women of the armed forces at the San Diego stop of the Supercross tour, with the first ever Military Appreciation Race. Teams showed their support for our nation’s finest with camo-inspired graphics and helmet flags. “Tonight was our military-themed race and everyone here was one big family,” said Stewart, who works with the Infinite Hero Foundation, which provides access to rehabilitation programs for veterans and their families. A big Win for America’s winners!LosersChad Reed. Discount Tire Racing Kawasaki. With more wins at this stadium than any other Supercross rider, this should have been Reed’s night. While he wasn’t riding fast enough to chase down Stewart or Villopoto, he had a good race, battling Roczen to the final lap. While trying to put a pass on Roczen, the KTM rider moved to his left, trying to pass a slow-moving back marker.Reed to clipped the back wheel of Roczen’s KTM 450 SX-F, going down hard, fracturing his scapula, collarbone, and T1. Fourth place points beat an ER visit, and who knows how many missed races. He tweeted that he’s lining up next week, but that is wishful thinking with that list of injuries. Have we seen Reed’s last SX race? Loss.Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. Roger DeCoster can’t be happy with his veteran rider. This is the fourth race in a row that Dungey hasn’t been on the podium. Yes, it beats the heck out of last week’s dismal finish (due to a crash and resultant bike failure), but being consistent only works in a hyper-competitive field if you’re consistently on the box. Dungey’s 4th place finish leaves him 6th place in points and more than a race behind Villopoto. Loss.Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. A haircut and shave gave Barcia a new look at Qualcomm stadium, but his Saturday night finish looked the same. Six races into the season, Barcia has made the podium a grand total of zero times. The field is deep, of course, but most SX followers had probably reserved one of the top 5 spots for the factory Honda rider and his CRF450R. Every week, he falls farther behind the leaders in points – Barcia is now 37 points adrift and in 7th place. Loss.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!