This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: Salt Lake City AURORA, Ill. (April 30, 2010) -- Last weekend, premier AMA Supercross class rookie and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey needed just a sixth place finish or better to become the 2010...
This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: Salt Lake City
AURORA, Ill. (April 30, 2010) -- Last weekend, premier AMA Supercross class rookie and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey needed just a sixth place finish or better to become the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, title holder. While the task appeared easy enough, the Seattle track presented riders with arguably the most challenging, technical layout the sport has ever seen.
In the end, the Minnesota-born rider did his best to keep the bike on two wheels and managed to bring home a fourth-place effort, more than enough to wrap up the championship. As the series heads to its penultimate round this weekend in Salt Lake City, Dungey enters as only the second rookie ever to be crowned AMA Supercross champion alongside the legend Jeremy McGrath. With two races to go, the pressure is off Dungey and the opportunity opens up for a long list of hungry riders to try and break through and grab a victory of their own before the season wraps up in Las Vegas.
With the title wrapped up, the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team is keeping it simple this weekend in Salt Lake City and through the rest of the season. The goal on Saturday night is a win as always, but there is much more value in getting out of what could be another tricky track safe and healthy.
"It's been an amazing season, and it's amazing after 15 rounds to be the champion," said Dungey. "It was a lot of hard work and effort put in by everybody on the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team. As a little kid, I would dream and see it on T0V and watch races and say, 'One day, I want to be that guy'. It's a dream come true, and all the hard work has paid off. The whole team, everyone gives it 110 percent and when we're all on the same page this is what can happen."
"I have to thank the man above for making all this happen," he continued. "This is what I hoped for, and every race I lined up and said, 'Hey, I'm here and I'm going to be as ready as I can be,' I tried to be there every single weekend. Times got tough, but we kept pushing along, and we were able to stay consistent, stay up there, and win. There are two races left, and we'll go out there and stick to the race plan and finish up strong. Then we'll carry that momentum into the outdoors."
"I like winning championships...a lot," boasted Team Manager Roger Decoster. "It's addicting. It was a great season, and we're thankful and happy and we proved that the equipment is good and Suzuki has a good base bike to work with and the race team did a good job setting it up. This week we have to be careful not to take things too lightly, because when you're not focused you can make mistakes and hurt yourself. We have to go into the last two races with focus, but not the same pressure as if you have to win. It's a nice feeling."
While the end of the season has been tough, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team continues to press on with Chad Reed and Nick Wey. Wey is eager to make it on the podium before season's end. Over the last two weeks, he has put together a pair of strong outings and looks to maintain that momentum at Rice Eccles Stadium.
"There are just two races left and I think I can get some good finishes," said Wey. "Coming back to the Monster Energy Kawasaki team is awesome and I want to get back up front and ride two consistent races."
Seattle also proved to be a great, albeit challenging night for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer. The current AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional points leader had one of the most troublesome evenings of his career, but still rebounded to finish third and achieve an almost insurmountable advantage in the standings heading into the Western Regional finale on Saturday. With a 19 point lead, Weimer needs to finish 15th or better to give the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad a sweep of the 2010 AMA Supercross Lites titles as well as capture his inaugural AMA championship.
"I still want to win this weekend," said Weimer. "If I get a good start, I'm going to push hard and go for the win, but I'm also going to be smart. My job is to win the championship, not the race. I'm not going to go out and ride over my head; I'm just going to do what I have to."
Weimer's teammate Josh Hansen is looking for his first podium of the year. Hansen was poised for a trip to the box last weekend in Seattle before going down on the difficult track.
"I have the speed to win races," said Hansen. "I've shown that throughout the year. I just have two races left to get on the podium and I want to win them both."
To say GEICO Powersports Honda's Kevin Windham was impressive in the challenging Seattle conditions would be an understatement. The veteran rider's years of experience and his knack for working through tough tracks was on full display. After grabbing the holeshot, he simply continued to ride away from his competition for the entire 20 lap main event. It was a long-awaited victory for Windham and also put him in prime position to take over the runner-up position in the standings over the final two races.
"My last win came in Seattle back in 2008 so to come back and win on the same track in 2010 is just awesome," said Windham. "As I get older, things like this are much harder to come by. It's been a really good season for the GEICO Powersports Honda team and myself, and I want to carry this winning momentum into the Salt Lake City Supercross round this weekend."
Honda Red Bull Racing, like the rest of the AMA Supercross class field, battled the conditions in Seattle and despite a couple bouts of misfortune, Davi Millsaps showed an impressive determination and skill for navigating his way through the terrain. Teammate Andrew Short continues to regain his race form since returning from injury and should be a strong podium contender for the rest of the season. For Millsaps, he hopes to finish the season strong a move onto the championship podium.
"There's a total of 50 points up for grabs at the next two rounds so I want to be up there challenging for the win at both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Supercross events," said Millsaps. "My goal is to finish on the overall championship podium so I'm all about earning as many points as possible at the final two races."
GEICO Powersports Honda's AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional riders Trey Canard and Blake Wharton were unfortunately on opposite ends of the standings in Seattle. While both riders found themselves at the front of the field after the holeshot, misfortune struck Canard on several occasions, relegating him to 11th place after the 15-lap main event. Wharton did his best to maintain control of the bike and brought home a solid fourth place effort. By virtue of his worst finish of the season, Canard dipped down to third in the standings, but still has a chance to steal the Western Regional title.
"Crashing last weekend and finishing in 11th place was definitely a bitter pill to swallow but I've swallowed it and have move on," said Canard. "My plan is to just give it everything I have at the final round this weekend in Salt Lake City. I want to walk away knowing I did my best and rode to my full potential. I deserve that and the whole of the GEICO Powersports Honda team deserves a good result for all the hard work they've put in this season."
Tickets are available in advance at the Rice Eccles Stadium Box Office, charge by phone at 801-581-UTIX or online at www.utahtickets.com. Gold Circle seats are $40 Adult/Child; Mid Level seats are $25 Adult / $10 Child; Treadhead Seats are $10 Adult/Child; Practice and qualifying begin at 12:30 and racing begins at 7:00 p.m. All tickets are subject to $2.50 facility fee and convenience & handling charges. Fans can also get into the Pits for FREE from 12:30 -- 5:30 p.m. when they recycle a MONSTER Energy Can at the stadium Pit Entrance (valid only with event ticket).
The AMA Supercross class will air on CBS Sunday, May 2 at 12:00 p.m. EST. The Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class will air on SPEED Sunday, May 2 at 6:00 p.m. EST.