The 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Championships are rapidly coming to a close, but before they do, riders will revisit the western United States for the last three rounds of the series. This weekend, the tour heads to the home of coffee drinkers and grunge music: Seattle, Washington.
Ryan Villopoto already secured the Supercross Class title a record breaking four rounds early, so he is really just out to prove a point at the moment. And prove he did last weekend, taking an uncontested win in New Orleans.
With so many riders getting hurt this season, it has been any guess as to who could wind up on the podium at the remaining rounds, and the Big Easy nearly had two big surprises. Josh Grant made his triumphant return to the box, taking home a very solid second place finish. But the big surprise was Mike Alessi. The MotoConepts rider was running in third place for almost the entire race until he came upon some lapped traffic.
Last Week’s race results and coverage from New Orleans!
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Revisit the 2011 Seattle Supercross!
Ryan Sipes had been given the blue flag several times but did not decide to move out of Alessi’s way until what was essentially a one-lined rhythm section. The move put Alessi on the ground and cost him his first podium spot of the year.
Many of the riders on the injured list had their maladies early on in the season, so a few marked New Orleans as their comeback, including Andrew Short, Nick Wey, and Ivan Tedesco. Short faired the best of the group, finishing the race in fifth. Tedesco actually failed to qualify and he and team later admitted that he simply was not ready to return after his broken finger.
So for this weekend in the Pacific Northwest, 2012 AMA Arenacross champ, Tyler Bowers, has gotten the call to move up to the 450 class and onto the Hart & Huntington/Kawasaki team as Tedesco’s replacement.
James Stewart was a no-show in Louisiana, and remains on the mend from a broken hand originally suffered during his Indianapolis heat race crash. The plan at the moment is to have James attempt to race in Las Vegas for the SX Finals. For now, the Toyota/JGR/Yamaha team has decided to give Gavin Faith, who has quietly been having a great season as a rookie privateer, a try aboard the YZ450F.
One rider will be returning to the fray this weekend. 2010 Supercross and Motocross champion, Ryan Dungey. The Red Bull/KTM rider suffered a broken collarbone before the St. Louis Supercross then opted for surgery just before Daytona. Just today a release went out stating that Dungey would indeed be lining up for Seattle. Whether he will be able to run the pace that Villopoto has going at the moment remains to be seen, but the racing and fans will certainly benefit from having the number five around.
While Justin Barcia was able to secure the East Lites title in the Bayou, the West Lites riders still have three rounds remaining in their series. At the beginning of the year, Eli Tomac seemed to be on a different level than the rest of the class. In fact, during the Los Angeles SX, Tomac posted the fastest lap times of the day…besting the likes of Villopoto, Stewart, Reed, or Dungey. Tomac began to reel off the wins and looked to be going for his first title. Then disaster struck.
Eli was working his way through the pack during the San Diego main event. While heading into the whoops, his front end dropped just a little too much and sent the GEICO/Honda rider over the bars. The crash not only took him out of the race, but caused a broken elbow as well.
Dean Wilson went on to take the win and the points lead, gaining 25 points on Tomac due to his fall. Anaheim I winner, Cole Seely is also well within the points chase, sitting only 15 points out of first place. However, thanks to the long break in the series, Tomac has been able to fully heal and is back up to speed. Unpredictable weather in both Seattle and the following round in Salt Lake City, UT mean that the points battle could change at the drop of a hat.
All three will be reinvigorated for the West Coast rounds, and since no one competing in the series has ever won an indoor title, they will be fighting, tooth and nail, for every position on the track.
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Monster Energy Supercross Notes, courtesy Feld MotorsportsÃ‚Â
Supercross Class Stats: Seattle
The first race was held on February 18, 1978, and Jimmy Ellis won on a Honda; it was his first and only win on a Honda
This will be the 41st time the gate will drop inÃ‚Â SeattleÃ‚Â for a Supercross Class race
From 1978 – 1999, this race was held at the Seattle King Dome
First time winners in Seattle: Darrel Shultz: 1981, Rick Johnson: 1984, Jeff Ward: 1984, Larry Ward: 1990, Ryan Villopoto: 2009
In 1984 during a double-header weekend in Seattle, Jeff Ward andÃ‚Â Rick Johnson won the first Supercross Class races of their careers
From 1979-1989, double-header races were held at the King Dome
Riders to sweep double-header races at the King Dome: Mike Bell: ’80, Darrel Shultz: ’81, Bob Hannah: ’83, Ron Lechien:’85, Rick Johnson:’87 & ’89
Larry Ward won his first Supercross Class race in Seattle in 1990 on a Suzuki, and nine years later, he won his last Supercross Class race in Seattle on a Suzuki. That would be the last Supercross Class race held in the King Dome.
Supercross Class Wins by Brand: Honda: 18: Yamaha: 9: Kawasaki: 8, Suzuki: 5
Supercross Lites Class Stats: Seattle
The first race was held on February 9, 1985, and Mike Healey won on a Suzuki
This will be the 28thÃ‚Â time the gate will drop for a Supercross Lites Class race in Seattle
Kawasaki has surprisingly not won in Seattle since 2007, when Villopoto captured the win. Can Dean Wilson change this?
Supercross Lites Class: Seattle Wins by Brand: Kawasaki: 10, Honda: 6, Suzuki: 6, Yamaha: 4, KTM: 1