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Stewart wins first AMA night race

29 June 2008

Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart brought his 2008 moto record to a perfect 10 en route to winning his fifth consecutive race of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF and the series' first-ever night race, held at Thunder Valley, Colorado.

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi grabbed both BTOSports.com Holeshot Awards for the third consecutive event, opening up a significant lead in the second moto and holding off Stewart for three laps.

Stewart made quick work of the deficit in each moto, posting consistent laps to pass Alessi and, even with a fall in moto two, keep his perfect season intact.

Alessi maintained his pace to bring home runner-up finishes in each moto while Red Bull Honda's Davi Millsaps wrapped up his second straight third place result after 4-3 moto finishes.

"I had to make a couple passes in the beginning," explained Stewart. "I got around those guys pretty quick. It probably took me about three laps to get used to the lights. I saw mike pulling away a little bit and tried to catch up. I got to him and pulled off a move and it stuck.

"I think the night race is cool. I know a lot of people are against it but I think it's because of the lighting. Sometimes we need to spice it up a little. Maybe if we just add a few more lights out there it'll be good. They'll definitely work on it in the future to make it better."

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto swept both motos of the AMA Motocross Lites class, extending his overall winning streak to four.

Villopoto took his fourth Holeshot Award of the season in the first AMA Motocross Lites moto, cruising to the win. In moto two, he showed his resiliency, overcoming a ninth-place start and fought through the pack.

He challenged Geico Powersports Honda's Josh Grant for the lead before making the winning pass on lap 13 of the 16 lap moto. Grant garnered the overall runner-up spot in his first race of the 2008 season, notching the Holeshot Award in the final moto. Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Nico Izzi posted a career-best third overall.

"It was tough [under the lights]," stated Villopoto. "You had to watch your shadows and really keep on your toes. I just tried to make my passes stick. Josh got away and once I got into second I had to put a charge on. I was able to carry a little more momentum on the outside [to pass him].

"I think we could use a little more light. It was better than I thought it would be and the track was maintained well throughout the evening. Normally, the altitude up here gets to you, but since it was cooler and at night our bikes were able to perform better and we could endure easier."

Stewart currently holds a 45-point lead over Alessi in the AMA Motocross standings. In AMA Motocross Lites, Villopoto has a 28-point advantage over Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey who failed to finish the second moto after a fall on the opening lap.


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