Stewart Earns 50th Career Win at St. Louis Supercross

Mar. 31, 2014 By Scott Rousseau, Photos by Rick Shepherd
Ryan Villopoto led James Stewart early in the race, but Stewart took the lead and never looked back.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart notched his his fifth Monster Energy AMA Supercross win of the year at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, which is also the 50th career victory for the 28-year-old racer.

Stewart had a good start but had to run down three-time and defending series champion Ryan Villopoto to earn the win. The victory puts Stewart further into select company, as only he and seven-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath have reached the 50-win plateau in the 40-year history of the series.

“That’s unbelievable,” Stewart said. “You guys really don’t understand. I used to watch Jeremy McGrath on videotapes, and it is such an honor to be even close to him. I’m just a kid from Haines City, Florida, who wanted to be like my dad. He rode motorcycles. I wanted to be just like him. I would have never, never thought that I would be one of the best, second all-time in Supercross. It’s unbelievable.”

Villopoto returned just one race after the mysterious illness that hampered him the previous weekend in Toronto. The Monster Energy Kawasaki-backed Villopoto took the lead early in the race but was unable to hold off Stewart as the event wore on.

“Last week was a real struggle,” Villopoto said. “We woke up in the morning with bad stomach pain, and it got so severe that I had to go get checked out. They [doctors] didn’t come up with much, but I was able to come back and salvage what I could.”

MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot for the 22-rider 450cc main event, though Villopoto was right there with him, as well as Stewart and Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia. Villopoto made his way past Alessi for the lead on lap one, and Stewart was able to re-pass Barcia to regain third place.

Justin Barcia earned third place to take the final podium spot behind Stewart and Villopoto.

Alessi didn’t hand over second place to Stewart easily. Stewart finally passed him in the first long rhythm section after the finish line jump, and he then set his sights on Villopoto.  After battling for many laps, Stewart finally got the opening he was looking for on lap 11, using the same rhythm section where he had passed Alessi earlier. Stewart slid up underneath Villopoto in the left-hand turn, and although the two never made contact, Stewart’s position prevented Villopoto from making a clean corner, and Villopoto relinquished the lead.

“You know, in the heat race I was kind of following him [Villopoto], and I felt like maybe I was a little bit faster than he was in a few sections,” Stewart said. “I was able to see his lines in the heat race, and I didn’t want to get around him and show him where I could pass him. He rode great. I just saw him going outside and I tried to leave him some room. It was a little bit closer than I thought, but we’re racing for race wins.”

And what was Villopoto’s response? He let Stewart go. Villopoto had made it perfectly clear even before the night began that he wasn’t about to engage in a heated battle with anyone and potentially jeopardize is monstrous series points lead.

“It’s a long season, and I put myself in the beginning of the season where I am right now, with a 25-point lead,” Villopoto said. “If it’s there we’ll take it, for sure, but if not we’ll be smart. We didn’t put the work in at the beginning of the season to mess it up now.”

Barcia took third by holding off Red Bull KTM teammate Ken Roczen. Afterward, Barcia said that he was happy with third place but not satisfied.

“I’d like to win,” Barcia said. “Everyone wants to win. It was a good night, though. The track was gnarly, but my bike was really good tonight. I had a lot of fun. I definitely want to get up with those guys. James and RV are running a really strong race. I was just a little off tonight.”

Martin Davalos led the field in the 250cc class in St. Louis.

After AMA Eastern Region 250cc Supercross series points leader Adam Cianciarulo suffered a shoulder injury in Toronto that required season-ending shoulder surgery, the pressure is on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Martin Davalos to bring home the Eastern title for the team. He managed to get a great start in the 15-lap main event, followed by CycleTrader Yamaha’s Alex Martin, with Justin Bogle emerging from the rest of the 22-rider field to run third. It took Bogle another two laps to get around Martin for second place, but by then, Davalos had a 2.3-second lead.

Davalos held onto his lead but Bogle was able to move into contention with six laps to go. Unfortunately for Bogle, a mistake in a whoop section made him lose several bike lengths in the process. Lapped traffic was also beginning to take its toll on both Davalos and Bogle, who once again ran down Davalos on the last lap, setting up a last-lap battle for the win. Bogle tried to set up Davalos for a last-corner block-pass, but there was just too much distance between the two frontrunners, and Davalos was able to get off the corner before Bogle could block him. Davalos earned his second career 250cc Eastern Region Supercross win and take over the points lead for the series.

Martin Davalos earned the win (middle), while Justin Bogle finished second (left) and Blake Baggett third (right).

“I just focused on riding my own laps,” Davalos said. “Justin [Bogle] was riding great. The whoops were really, really sketchy, and I caught up [to] a lot of lappers, so it was tough to stay focused and not make a mistake. Justin caught me at the end a little bit. I was able to manage to win. I’m so happy and so happy for my team.”

There was a tense moment during the race when GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn took a brutal tumble in a rhythm section on lap two of the first 450cc heat race. The race was red-flagged one lap later so that the Asterisk Mobile Medical crew could assist Hahn, who was conscious and alert. Hahn was transported to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where he was diagnosed with a broken right humerus [upper arm] bone.

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series moves back to the Western Region for round 14 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, April 5.

Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series
St. Louis Results (Round 13 of 17)

450 Main Results
1. James Stewart-Suz
2. Ryan Villopoto-Kaw
3. Justin Barcia-Hon
4. Ken Roczen-KTM
5. Trey Canard-Hon
6. Eli Tomac-Hon
7. Josh Hill-Suz
8. Andrew Short-KTM
9. Ryan Dungey-KTM
10. Justin Brayton-Yam
11. Nick Wey-Kaw
12. Mike Alessi-Suz
13. Chris Blose-Hon
14. Jimmy Albertson-Hon
15. Cody Gilmore-Kaw
16. Ben Lamay-Yam
17. Nick Schmidt-Hon
18. Ronnie Stewart-Suz
19. Killian Rusk-Yam
20. Tevin Tapia-Suz
21. Augie Lieber-Suz
22. Weston Peick-Suz

450 Points Standings (After 13 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto-268/3 wins
2. Ryan Dungey-233/1 win
3. James Stewart-232/5 wins
4. Ken Roczen-215/2 wins
5. Justin Brayton-196
6. Justin Barcia-176
7. Andrew Short-166
8. Broc Tickle-126
9. Wil Hahn-122
10. Chad Reed-111/2 wins

250 Main Results
1. Martin Davalos-Kaw
2. Justin Bogle-Hon
3. Blake Baggett-Kaw
4. Kyle Cunningham-Hon
5. AJ Catanzaro-Hon
6. Cole Thompson-KTM
7. Matt Bisceglia-Hon
8. James Decotis-Hon
9. Alex Martin-Yam
10. Gannon Audette-Kaw
11. Vince Friese-Hon
12. Landen Powell-KTM
13. Jackson Richardson-Hon
14. Zack Williams-Hon
15. Jesse Wentland-Hon
16. Levi Kilbarger-Hon
17. Justin Starling-Hon
18. Luke Vonlinger-Hon
19. Aaron Gulley-Kaw
20. Jeremy Martin-Yam
21. Matt Lemoine-Kaw
22. Gavin Faith-Hon

250 Points Standings (After 7 of 8 rounds)
1. Martin Davalos-134/2 wins
2. Justin Bogle-119/1 win
3. Blake Baggett-100/1 win
4. Adam Cianciarulo-95/3 wins
5. Vince Friese-86
6. Cole Thompson-79
7. Kyle Cunningham-76
8. James Decotis-67
9. Alex Martin-60
10. Matthew Bisceglia-58
10. Matthew Lemoine-58 Newsletter
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