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Steel City: Kawasaki race notes

MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI COMPLETES FULL SLATE AT STEEL CITY Irvine, Calif. (September 1, 2008) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki had a busy weekend at Steel City in Delmont, Penn. with two classes of AMA Motocross, AMA ATV Motocross, and the WMA all ...

MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI COMPLETES FULL SLATE AT STEEL CITY

Irvine, Calif. (September 1, 2008) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki had a busy weekend at Steel City in Delmont, Penn. with two classes of AMA Motocross, AMA ATV Motocross, and the WMA all taking to the track. In the AMA Motocross Class, James Stewart completed a perfect season winning his 23rd and 24th moto on the way to his 12th straight overall win. His Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Timmy Ferry finished 2-2 in the motos and secured second in the championship standings. In the AMA Motocross Lites class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Brett Metcalfe went 3-6 for fourth overall and Ryan Villopoto went 38-16 for 20th overall. For the Monster Energy Kawasaki ATV squad, Steel City was an invitational non-points paying race and Josh Creamer finished sixth while Keith Little was tenth. In the AMA/WMA event Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green's Mariana Balbi went 6-5 for fifth overall and Tatum Sik went 5-21 for 12th overall.

Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent

Perfection
Stewart's summer of 2008 can be described in a single word, perfection. The 22-year-old rider won every moto, and led all but 13 laps during the season.

"This is amazing," said Stewart. "I was pretty nervous during the second moto. This was an important race, it capped off a perfect season. It's just incredible right now. This is truly special to me."

Championship Standing At 33-years-old, Ferry put together arguably his best motocross season, finishing second in the series championship. Ferry came into the season finale with an eight-point lead over third and Red Dog rode two incredible motos to finish second in both and end the season with a 22-point gap.

"I fell a little bit short of the championship," said Ferry. "James had a great season and it almost feels like a win for me. James was just unbelievable this year. I know I gave 100% and so did a lot of riders, we just couldn't match his speed. This is a step up for me. I got fourth last year. I feel like today was an improvement on my riding even though I'm 33-years-old."

Summer of Kawasaki
The 2008 AMA Motocross season was a special one for Kawasaki as both its KX™450F and KX™250F claimed their respective championships. The bikes also propelled Ferry and Metcalfe to second and third in their respective series standings.

"I think this season says a lot about the team and the program," said Ferry. "Obviously James was fast, I got second and you have Ryan winning the lites title and Brett finishing right up there. I don't think we could have had a better outdoor season."

Championships Galore
To commemorate Stewart's first AMA Motocross Championship his Monster Energy Kawasaki team presented him a special gift. The team reproduced every championship plate he has won since he began riding for Kawasaki at nine-years-old. The framed memento is sure to hang in a place of honor at Stewart's home.

Hard Luck
Metcalfe was looking prime for second overall at Steel City. After finishing third in the first moto he was in the runner-up spot late into the second moto. After falling back to third, the Australian rider was taken out with two laps to go and after he got up from the crash he was only able to finish sixth which after the tie-breaker meant fourth overall for Metcalfe.

"I was running good," said Metcalfe. "I knew those guys were right there. We went into the corner side-by-side and he kind of lost it and we got tangled. I went down and that cost me the podium. It would have been awesome to get second overall and was in position for it, but that's how it goes sometimes."

Tough Day
Villopoto was looking to add one more motocross lites overall win to his tally, but it wasn't meant to be at Steel City as trouble found him in both motos. In the first, Villopoto was working his way to the front when contact with another rider bent his shifter forcing him to pull off and finish 38. In the second moto, Villopoto got a good start and was running third when a rider went down in front of him on the first lap. He was caught up in the crash and after restarting put his head down and rode a noble race to finish 16th in the moto.

"It wasn't a good day," said Villopoto. "I had problems in the first moto. I got slammed into and bent my shift lever. We tried to fix it but it wasn't working so I pulled off. In the second moto I got a good start and (Blake) Wharton went down right in front of me. I tried to stop, but I just got collected. I was racing for the Triple Crown, but it wasn't meant to be."

Still a Good Season
Though bad luck struck Villopoto in both motos, he was happy for the timing. Like any rider he knows bad luck is bound to happen and with the championship already decided he knew he dodged a bullet.

"I couldn't ask for more out of this season," said Villopoto. "Even with this bad day. If it had to happen, it happened at the right time, after the championship was decided."

ATV Finish
The Steel City Open for the ATV's provided the fans a wide variety of racing and excitement. Adding to the thrills was Creamer who rode an incredible race, fighting from outside the top-10 to finish sixth.

"The track was pretty good," said Creamer. "There were a few of the breaking bumps from the bikes that we don't normally see. I got a bad start and had a couple of bobbles on the first lap. I was way back. I just kept pushing."

Nothing Held Back
Since it was a non-points paying event, Creamer wanted to leave it all out on the track.

"I wanted to win," said Creamer. "I had the speed and potential to win, but things just didn't work out for me today."

WMA Top Five
Balbi earned a top five at the WMA series finale at Steel City for her third top-five finish of the season. Balbi finished 6-5 for fifth overall while Tatum Sik went 5-21 for 12th overall. Sik went down on the first lap of the second moto and was too far back to make up any positions. For the season, Balbi finished sixth in the points standings and Sik was eighth.

-credit: kawasaki.usa

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers James Stewart , Ryan Villopoto