PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2004) -- After his dominating performance in the opening round of the 2004 THQ AMA Supercross Series two weeks ago in Anaheim, it appeared that Yamaha's Chad Reed might run roughshod over the championship this season.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2004) -- After his dominating performance in the opening round of the 2004 THQ AMA Supercross Series two weeks ago in Anaheim, it appeared that Yamaha's Chad Reed might run roughshod over the championship this season. However, last weekend in Phoenix, Honda's Kevin Windham stepped up and took a convincing victory of his own. Now coming into round three of the 16-race series in Anaheim, Calif., this Saturday, Jan. 17, fans are looking forward to the start of what could potentially be a great season-long battle between the two riders.
Many pre-season prognosticators saw Windham as the biggest threat to Chad Reed's quest to win his first AMA Supercross championship this year, but after a near two-year layoff from the series and a lackluster performance for Windham in the opening Anaheim race those predictions looked off the mark. Then Windham showed last week that he still has the ability to come out and take over an AMA Supercross race. His victory in Phoenix was his first AMA Supercross win in almost four years.
"Sometimes you come out and just don't have the proper set-up for a particular track and that's what happened in Anaheim," said Windham. "I knew I still had the ability to win a Supercross race and things fell into place for me in Phoenix. Reed, (Mike) LaRocco and a few others are going to be tough all season, but I'd like to think I have a legitimate shot at the title."
Windham's win wasn't without controversy, though. A collision with David Vuillemin early in the main event was deemed too aggressive by race officials and resulted in a points deduction. Windham was allowed to keep the victory, however.
Windham hopes to avoid the fate of Ezra Lusk last year and will be eager to prove this weekend in Anaheim that his Phoenix victory was no fluke. Lusk won the Phoenix event last year, but didn't win another race all season.
Reed comes into this Saturday's race leading the points chase by nine points over Mike LaRocco. Reed's scratched out the early season gap with a victory in Anaheim I and a strong second-place result last week in Phoenix. Despite coming out of Phoenix in a strong position in the championship, Reed was not happy with his race there.
"It's hard to be happy when you don't win," said Reed. "With Kevin stepping up it's good for the fans I suppose, but naturally I'd rather see myself running away with all the races. I'll go back to Anaheim and see if I can't get back to winning, which is what I expect of myself."
Veteran rider Mike LaRocco finished third in Phoenix and showed that even though he's turning 33 next month, LaRocco still has a lot of ability in a sport considered a young man's game. This Saturday will mark two years to the date that LaRocco last won an AMA Supercross event. The Hoosier would like nothing better than to follow Windham's example and breakthrough for his first win in a long time.
Other riders showing promise in the opening two rounds include Yamaha's Vuillemin and Tim Ferry. Vuillemin was runner-up to Reed in the opener and is tied for third in the series standings with Ferry after another top-10 finish in Phoenix. Ezra Lusk and a surprising Tyler Evans are tied with Windham for sixth in the standings.
Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ivan Tedesco is two for two in the AMA 125 West Supercross Series The New Mexico native, who now lives in Lake Elsinore, Calif., is off to a great start in his effort to win his first AMA title. The only rider keeping Tedesco in sight so far is his own teammate Stephane Roncada. The Frenchman was second in the 125 East Series in his rookie AMA season and he's hoping to find the right combination to be able to chase down Tedesco. Suzuki's Andrew Short is third in the series and is hoping to break the Kawasaki hold on the 125 West class with a win in Anaheim.
For additional race information call (630) 566-6100. Tickets can also be ordered via Ticketmaster. The race will feature next-day coverage on ESPN2 starting at noon eastern time.