James Stewart continued to pile the pressure on reigning AMA Supercross champion, and 2009 title leader, Chad Reed by taking his third victory in a row at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Saturday night - round for of the championship.
Reed's Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team-mate Mike Alessi led the AMA Supercross class through turn one, while Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto and Team Yamaha's Josh Hill followed in second and third respectively. Stewart was fourth while Reed found himself mired in eighth.
Stewart quickly made his move, taking over second position before the first lap was completed. From there, the Yamaha rider set his sights on race-leader Villopoto. On lap three, Stewart made his move, but Villopoto battled back. By the completion of the lap Stewart was in the lead for good. Reed made his move into the top three on lap 12, moving all the way up to second. The reigning champion made a run at the lead, but could not overcome the deficit. Villopoto held on to round out the podium in third.
“I felt good all day,” said Stewart. “I knew it was going to come down to the start. I love it here in Texas so I would like to say thanks to all of [the fans]. It was all good clean racing tonight, especially with Villopoto. I had a great line over in the whoops and it all just worked out tonight. Every week we get better and my San Manuel Yamaha is working great.”
Despite yet to capture his first win of 2009, Reed still maintained the points lead after another valiant effort. He currently holds a nine point advantage over Stewart.
“That was tough those first few laps,” explained Reed. “I had to be smart and keep it up. It was tough racing tonight. James is riding great and I wish I could get better starts to make it better for the fans. I want to thank my whole team at Rockstar/Makita Suzuki for everything they do. It was a good race for us.”
In the opening round of the Eastern Regional Lites class championship, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel won his second career AMA Supercross Lites class race to mark a brilliant comeback after a long recovery period following serious injuries sustained while defending his MX2 World Championship in 2007.
Pourcel jumped out of the gate to win the holeshot award with Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Nico Izzi and Yamaha Privateer Darryn Durham in tow.
Pourcel, a preseason favorite for the Eastern Regional crown, opened up an early lead, but Izzi and GEICO Powersports Honda's Brett Metcalfe weren't far behind. On lap six, Metcalfe capitalised on an error by Izzi to take over second. While he closed in on Pourcel in the last few laps, he settled for second as the Frenchman led all 15 laps of the main event.
“It was a good race for me,” said Pourcel. “I was able to win in the U.S. a few years ago and I did it again tonight. My team was behind me and helped a lot. I'd like to thank all of them and everyone else who has been there to help me.” AMA Supercross Class Results, Houston:
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
3. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
6. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
7. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki
8. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki
9. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda
10. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 86
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 77
3. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 77
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 71
5. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 68
6. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahasse, Fla., Honda, 62
7. Tim Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki, 56
8. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 53
9. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki, 46
10. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 42Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Houston
1. Christophe Pourcel, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki
2. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda
3. Nico Izzi, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki
4. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki
5. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda
6. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, KTM
7. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., KTM
8. Darryn Durham, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha
9. Daniel Blair, Modesto, Calif., Honda
10. Matthew Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki