Monster Energy AMA Supercross – Houston 2014 | Winners & LosersWhat is it with the top Supercross racers? They are intensely trained and carefully monitored, yet seemingly vulnerable to unexplained illnesses that leave their performance in the weekend’s race questionable. Two weeks ago, it was Ryan Villopoto spending most of his Saturday in an emergency room, and this week it was James Stewart who could barely keep anything down all week. Let’s see how everyone faired at NRG Stadium in Houston .
WinnersRyan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. There’s a reason why Ryan Villopoto has shown up on the Winners side of all but one of my 13 previous columns, and it’s the same reason why he is now 45 points ahead of his closest competitor. The guy knows what it takes to stay on top in a grueling 17-race series. He led wire-to-wire in the Main at Houston, despite qualifying out of a Semi after going down in his Heat, and is marching ever closer to his inevitable fourth-consecutive Monster Energy Supercross title. Win.Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. Justin Barcia is finally starting to string together some good results, and put his CRF450R onto the podium for the third weekend in a row. His 2nd place finish moves him up into fifth in the points, where he should finish out the season—barring any disastrous mishaps. It’s too bad he waited so long to get on track in his sophomore season. Win.Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. Finding his way back to the podium after three races off the box, Ken Roczen rode a solid, if uneventful, race. He battled briefly with Barcia, and eventually rode his 450 SX-F to a 3rd place finish. Roczen has spent half of his rookie season on the podium, and half off. Win.James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. Suffering from a stomach bug all week, James Stewart didn’t have the energy to ride a full Qualifying Practice on his RM-Z450. And while he did not look strong in his Heat—“I got a decent start and was able to pass for the lead but by the second lap, I was just done. I had no energy, I felt really weak and I made a few mistakes” —Stewart still managed to win and take the best gate pick of the night. Stewart was not able to mount a challenge in the Main, but rode to a gutty 5th place finish, moving ahead of Dungey in points. Win.Mike Alessi. Smartops MotoConcepts Racing Suzuki. Villopoto grabbed Mike Alessi’s favorite gate position, and perhaps that’s why Alessi missed out on the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot award by a half a wheel, but it didn’t stop the #800 from riding a very consistent race. From lap 2 onward he maintained his position, getting passed only by Dungey before a season’s best 8th place result. Also, Alessi is one of only six riders to ride every Main this year. Win.Andrew Short. BTO Sports KTM. With yet another Top 10 finish, Short has clinched at least 7th place overall for 2014. With Justin Brayton out, he’ll almost surely take over 6th position and, if Barcia gets sloppy, 5th is not out of the question. Win.LosersJustin Brayton. Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha. From battered and bruised last weekend in St. Louis, to broken before he even got to a Heat race in Houston, it has not been a good couple of weeks for Justin Brayton. He went down two times in practice, suffering a broken hand on the second mistake when his missed a whoop with his front tire. Tough going. Lose.Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. After,making a mistake early on that created a chain reaction taking down Weston Peick and Josh Grant, Ryan Dungey had to work his way up from almost last place. He managed to rally his 450 SX-F to 7th by the end of the 20 laps, but he slips behind Stewart in points. Lose.
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!