This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: St. Louis
AURORA, Ill. (March 28, 2014) – Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart became the winningest rider of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season last weekend in Toronto by capturing his fourth victory and taking control of second on the 450SX Class all-time wins list with the 49thwin of his career. This weekend, Stewart leads his world-class counterparts into St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome for the 13th stop of the championship.
**FOX Sports 1 will air the St. Louis race live at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT**
**Live Coverage from St. Louis will also be available on the authenticated FOX Sports GO app**
**CBS will air Supercross: Behind the Dream Sunday at Noon ET**
Team Honda Muscle Milk announced long-awaited news this week when it confirmed that Trey Canard would make his 2014 debut in St. Louis. Canard was hurt over the Thanksgiving holiday last November and has been on the mend ever since. He’s fully recovered from a broken arm and is ready to get on track and battle alongside his rivals.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and racing with all these guys each week,” said Canard. “Since getting back on my bike and training for motos, everything has gone smoothly. I’ve been riding a lot at home in Oklahoma, and the Honda team came out and did some testing with me last week. I feel really good and my CRF450R is working awesome. However, I expect it will take a little while to get up to full race speed, but I will give 100 percent effort regardless.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto avoided a major blow to his hopes of capturing a fourth consecutive title in Toronto. The three-time winner this season and championship leader was struck with a stomach illness the morning of the race, which forced him to spend the afternoon in the hospital and miss each of the three practice sessions. Villopoto was granted a provisional, which allowed him to race the night show, and ultimately overcame adversity to finish sixth in the Main Event and lose just five points in the standings. Villopoto has continued to have his health monitored in the week leading up to St. Louis and expects to be a full strength when he looks for his third straight win inside Edward Jones Dome on Saturday.
“We’re ready to get back on the podium,” said Villopoto. “Last weekend I was a bit under the weather, but I’m all good now and had a solid week on the bike. We’ve won in St. Louis the past two years and plan to make it three.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey did his best to take advantage of the opportunity to gain ground on Villopoto in Toronto, and ultimately did so with a third-place finish – his sixth straight podium result. Dungey has more podiums than any rider in the championship with eight and thanks to his five point gain on Villopoto last week, enters St. Louis facing a 25-point deficit and in search of his second win at Edward Jones Dome.
Fellow Red Bull KTM rider Ken Roczen looked to be on his way to a podium finish in Toronto after grabbing the early lead, but the rookie lost ground in the closing laps, ultimately falling from first to fifth. Roczen sits fourth in the 450SX Class standings and will look to fight his way back into the title fight.
Stewart’s back-to-back victories over the last two weeks have given him four wins over the last seven races and has made him the hottest rider in the championship. His ninth-to-first ride was one of the most impressive of his career and it paid big dividends. He’s battled back to third in the championship after a few tough outings and is looking to claim his first win in St. Louis since 2011.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” said Stewart after the race. “We had an issue in the Heat Race but I went back and told the team what was wrong and they straight-up fixed it. I was able to come back out for the Main Event but I got a horrible start. I didn’t think I had a chance to win – I was just trying to get up and gain a few points. But I just kept going, going, and going on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, and the next thing you know, I was in third. I was catching the leaders and making passes and I was able to get up in the lead. And for me, to break Ricky Carmichael’s record with a ride like that, it was pretty awesome. Now we’ll just go to St. Louis and see if we can win some more races.”
Toyota/Yamaha/N-Fab/JGRMX rider Justin Brayton grabbed his best finish in nine races with a fourth-place finish in Toronto. Brayton grabbed a top three start in the Main Event and maintained his pace with the lead pack to generate some momentum coming into St. Louis. Brayton sits fifth in the 450SX Class standings.
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia was in a position to win in Toronto for the first time this season. After a second-place start, the sophomore 450SX Class rider moved into the lead on Lap 3 and went on the lead the next 11 laps before giving way to Stewart. The runner-up effort was Barcia’s best finish of the season and just his second podium result. The strong result moved him into sixth in the championship.
“I rode a good race today and although I am bummed I couldn’t get the win, I am pumped on the improvements we made,” stated Barcia. “The team was awesome and we got the bike working really well. I have never made changes before the Main Event and we made some suspension changes before the race and it turned out great. I had a really fun night and felt like I was riding good, but James [Stewart] was just riding better. Getting good starts is so key and that is what I have been struggling with. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season, so to be on the podium again is great. I hope we can continue this the rest of the season.”
After a consistent start to the 2014 season, BTOSports.com KTM’s Andrew Short saw his top-10 streak come to an end in Toronto. The veteran had finished inside the top 10 in the 11 races leading into Toronto, but following a start deep inside the top 10 he battled the entire Main Event to keep the streak intact but ended the night in 11th. Nevertheless, Short is ready to bounce back in St. Louis.
GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn endured a tough outing in Toronto. The rookie 450SX Class rider started outside the top 10 and during his journey through the field, got caught up in another rider’s incident and fell to the tail end of the field. Hahn showed his resiliency and fought back to finish 14th.
Fellow 450SX Class rookie and GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac missed his seventh race of the season in Toronto, nursing an injured shoulder. It has been announced that he will return to action on Saturday night in St. Louis.
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco had high hopes in Toronto and ran well for the majority of the evening, but a crash in the Main Event took him out of action. Tedesco is on the mend but hopes to be on-track in St. Louis.
“The day was going good,” said Tedesco. “Felt decent in practice, in the Heat Race, and Semi. Then in the Main Event I got a pretty good start and I was trying to make some moves, then I don’t know what happened in that whoop section. I ended up going feet over my head and flat backed it and kinda hit my head. Hurting pretty bad right now. Going to checked out this week and see where we go from here.”
In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki saw its undefeated record come to an end, in addition to its seven-race win streak. Even though victory wasn’t in the cards for the team, Martin Davalos put himself on the podium with a runner-up effort. He also took the points lead in the process and is now in control of the title fight heading into the Edward George Dome.
“I’m excited to finish this weekend strong before the break,” said Davalos. “I know I’ve done everything to be prepared and ready to win, so now I am just taking it race-by-race. It’s a bummer that Adam (Cianciarulo) got hurt, but I know we as a team can still carry on [up front].”
Blake Baggett was riding well in Toronto before a late crash took him out of action for the evening. After a start outside the top 10, Baggett made a charge through the field and was making a move for third before misfortune struck. The strong ride still gave Baggett confidence and he’s ready to get back on the podium in St. Louis.
“Last weekend was really disappointing,” said Baggett. “This year I’ve found myself in some bad situations, but I’ve put it behind me and plan to bounce back in St. Louis and back in the points hunt.”
One Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider that will not be in action in St. Louis or the remainder of the season is rookie Adam Cianciarulo. The three-time winner and former points leader suffered a dislocated shoulder in practice, was able to qualify for the Main Event, but then had it pop out again while chasing down the lead in second. He underwent surgery this week and will be out up to four months.
“This setback is very disappointing,” said Cianciarulo. “We had a great start to the supercross season and I wanted to win a championship for my Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team. As much as I would love to tough it out like I did last weekend, the people around me and I feel this is the best decision to fix my shoulder for good. I know I will come back stronger and ready to compete as soon as I can.”
Justin Bogle was hoping for a birthday present of a first career win in Toronto and the GEICO Honda rider made it happen. He grabbed the early lead and led all 15 laps comfortably to finally break through to stand atop the podium. He’ll look to keep the momentum going into St. Louis.
“I’m definitely happy. Both of my parents are here, my birthday is tomorrow and I got my first win. It definitely feels good,” explained Bogle. “I have never pulled a holeshot in my career, so that is also really cool. I’m in the hunt for the championship, but I don’t want to think about that. What got me back in the hunt was trying to win races and going out and doing my thing. I’m going to keep doing that, and it’ll play out how it plays out. Hopefully, it plays out in my favor”
GEICO Honda rookie Matt Bisceglia showed impressive speed in Toronto, but a last-place start hurt any chances he had of a strong finish. The rookie was able to fight his way through the field to finish 12th and give him some confidence heading into St. Louis.
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Cole Thompson was anticipating his first hometown race with the factory-supported squad. He posted solid times all afternoon and grabbed good starts all night to put him in the lead pack. He ultimately secured a season-best fifth-place finish and hopes to keep it going this weekend.
“Felt much better this weekend, it was awesome having the hometown support on my side,” said Thompson. “I finished the night in fifth. I know the next step is getting on the box and I really want to make the push to finish out the series strong. Looking forward to St. Louis next weekend!”
Picture: James Lissimore