A2 – Anaheim All Over Again
Ryan Dungey did it again, winning his second-straight Supercross race tonight at Angel Stadium, but it certainly wasn’t easy. He won an amazing battle at the race known as A2. Defending Champion James Stewart and his teammate Josh Hill applied heavy pressure and lead the race through many laps, but in the end it was Dungey who topped them all on the podium. Jake Weimer won his third consecutive Lites class race, leading all 15 laps of the main event.
James Stewart was a mystery coming into the race due to major wrist problems left over from his big crash last weekend in Phoenix, and rumors circulated that he might not even be able to race in Anaheim. He even skipped opening ceremonies with thoughts of not racing at all. But he returned to race his heat race and the main event, and actually led the early laps after staying on the back wheel of Austin Stroupe, who took the holeshot, through turn one. Stewart moved into the lead, passing Stroupe on the opening lap. Stewart’s teammate Josh Hill then passed Stroupe for second. Dungey started in seventh and starting working his way through the pack, and by the end of lap two he was in fourth place.
Hill and Stewart went at it up front, keeping the racing clean while passing back and forth. The track, which had absorbed a lot of rain over the last week, was in incredible condition considering the weather, but had just a few sinkholes built in at the low points of the jumps. That made it difficult for the riders to stay consistent over the rhythm lanes, and as Stewart and Hill exchanged mistakes, they exchanged the lead, too. At the end of lap six, Hill passed Stewart for the lead, and on lap 11, Dungey passed Stewart for second.
Dungey eventually closed in to make it a three rider fight, and the fans were on their feet watching the trio dive inside and outside of each other. Finally Stewart made a mistake in a whoop section to let Dungey get past. Patiently waiting in second place, Dungey challenged Hill shooting past him for the lead. Around the 13th lap, Dungey went around the outside of Hill in a right-hand turn after the finish, setting up a race down the start straight. Dungey barely held the inside under hard braking, took the lead on lap 14, and never looked back.
The torrid pace had worn out Hill and the ailing Stewart, and Dungey ran a clean final seven laps–save for one huge mistake in the whoops with a lap to go–to win again. Hill took second, admitting the super fast pace wore him down. Stewart, in obvious pain, said he could barely hold on after the eighth lap.
“On lap 12, I started to get tired and had to settle for second,” said Hill. “That was a great race up at the front of the pack, and I was enjoying the competition. The goal is to keep getting better each week.”
Dungey held on for the win and extended his points lead to 15 over Hill. Hill finished second and Stewart finished third.
Andrew Short stayed close to the battling trio for most of the race and finished fourth, with Kevin Windham overcoming a bad start for fifth. Justin Brayton was sixth and took a challenge from Ryan Villopoto, who was struggling all night, going from 10th back to 12th before mounting a charge. RV caught Brayton but couldn’t make the pass stick. That moves Hill into second in the series standings, 15 in back of Dungey.
And Stewart is 21 points behind Dungey, a steep hill to climb considering his injury.
Davi Millsaps, Michael Byrne and Ivan Tedesco rounded out the top ten.
“It was a fun race, and we all raced clean,” said Dungey. “I was able to see what lines were working out there, so I learned through the race. I tried to be patient out there tonight. Racing 20 laps is a long time, so you have to be smart.”
“Ryan and Josh were riding awesome tonight, and I am happy to come out of here with a decent finish,” said Stewart. “I try my best, and that is all I can do. I always give it 100%.”
In the Lites class, Weimer didn’t take long to establish the lead as he moved passed his teammate Josh Hansen, who took the holeshot, after turn two. Hansen was passed on lap three by Wil Hahn. Late in the race Trey Canard passed Hansen to secure third place.
Hahn held on for second place, which was his best finish of the 2010 season. Weimer now leads the Lites class points race with a 19-point lead over Canard.
“So far, so good for me,” said Weimer. “I wanted to come out here and win, and that is what I have earned. I am really excited about this. This is a huge step in the right direction.”