James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. Stewart didn’t get the holeshot, but he was into the lead before the end of the second lap. He kept his RM-Z450 on two wheels, and effectively managed his lead over Ryan Villopoto. Yes, he’s out of the overall points battle – he’s in 3rd, but still 49 points adrift – but we are reminded that Stewart is on par with Villopoto, speed-wise, and in number of wins this season. As a bonus, Stewart also tied Ricky Carmichael for second place in Supercross career wins. Win.
Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. It’s getting repetitive to list Villopoto as a winner each week, but what else can you say about the guy? Villopoto knows how to win, even when he’s not winning, and at this point in the season the cushion is getting pretty cush. Ryan Dungey, Villopoto’s closest competitor, with six rounds to go, is more than a race down. Win.
Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. Dungey is the last man standing; no one else has much of a chance of catching Villopoto. Dungey is the only rider besides Villopoto with seven podiums this year, so all he can do is continue showing up and riding consistently, and wait for the champ to have some bad luck. Everyone besides Villopoto has had at least one throwaway race this year. Maybe the odds will roll Dungey’s way before Vegas. Win.Andrew Short. BTOSports KTM. Give Short enough time and he may just land on the podium this season. He’s clearly on the march. He was 6th in Indy, 5th in Daytona, and brought his 450 SX-F to a 4th place finish at Detroit. Next stop: the box. Win.
Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. An early mistake caused Roczen to stall his bike, collecting a rock in his rear brake. That effectively ended his race before the 2nd lap was completed. Once the stubborn rock was dislodged, Roczen rejoined the race a lap down, ending the night in 20th. Last week Roczen still had a glimpse of a chance, but he’s now gone from 29 to 50 points down. It’s over. Lose.
Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. Better than last week, but he couldn’t make his pass on Short – after an eight-lap chase – stick. One would think a younger full-factory rider with highly touted skills would trump a 30-something satellite rider in the waning years of his career. Who would have expected Barcia would only have one podium after eleven races? Lose.
Wil Hahn. GEICO Honda. While Hahn probably has a Top 10 series finish locked up in his first 450 season, the 450 rookie couldn’t be happy with his 15th place finish in Detroit, as it is his worst result thus far. “I fell early and then I fell again. I really never gave myself a chance,” Hahn said. “I needed to use my head, but I didn’t.” Lose.The Fans. Followers of Monster Energy AMA Supercross are finding less to get excited about in the latter half of the 2014 schedule. With several top level riders out due to injuries – Chad Reed, Eli Tomac, Trey Canard, Jake, Weimer, and Davi Milsaps – many of the remaining riders seem to have taken their past results and adopted the positions in the finishing order. Races are becoming processional, as there aren’t many passes. Detroit was not very exciting. Let’s hope the competition perks up this week in Toronto.
Photography by Simon Cudby