Monster Energy Kawasaki Beat the Heat and Everyone Else in Texas Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto completed a perfect weekend at Freestone County Raceway in Wortham, Texas by...
Monster Energy Kawasaki Beat the Heat and Everyone Else in Texas
Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto completed a perfect weekend at Freestone County Raceway in Wortham, Texas by winning all of their motos in temperatures near 100 degrees. Villopoto's teammate Austin Stroupe finished 3-3 for third overall in the motocross lites class and Brett Metcalfe finished eighth overall. Timmy Ferry finished 7-3 in the motocross class which earned him fourth place overall. Branden Jesseman did not race after crashing during the second Sunday morning practice.
Three Straight Wins
Stewart made it six for six in motos this season, sweeping both motos at Freestone County Raceway. Stewart grabbed the lead in the first moto, but fell on the first lap and dropped back to fourth. After quickly recovering, he made a charge back to the lead on the seventh lap. Once he was back in the lead, Stewart pulled away to a 17 second win. The second moto wasn't nearly as eventful for Stewart as he grabbed the lead on the third lap and rode to his sixth moto victory of the season.
"I went down on the first lap and I guess I should have been more patient," said Stewart. "It was a simple crash and made the moto kind of fun. It was fun chasing those guys down. It was good today. It felt like I had some good lines and the bike was working well so it all worked out. It feels good to keep winning."
Villopoto's day was nearly a mirror image of Stewart's as he had an uneventful first moto, followed up by a drama filled second. In the first race, Villopoto went wire-to-wire for the victory. In the second moto, he got caught up in first turn and worked his way up to third before he fell in one of the slippery turns. Villopoto kept the bike running and got up quickly, making a charge for the leaders. Once he got the lead on lap eight, he continued to push despite the hot conditions and built a 16-second gap over second place by the checkered flag. The overall win was Villopoto's second of the season as he has won five of six motos in 2008.
"The first moto was good, it went pretty flawless for me," said Villopoto. "I got the holeshot and led the whole races so not much to really talk about. My bike was really good. In the second moto I got hung up in the first turn and didn't get the start I wanted so I had to work my way up. I had just passed for third and then I fell in a turn and lost that spot. I got up quickly and wanted to catch the leaders. Once I got into the lead I wanted to get as big of a gap as I could as quickly as I could."
Back on the Podium
Stroupe looked good all weekend at Freestone County Raceway as he never ran lower than third. He was being pushed hard in both races and stood up to the challenge, as well as the sweltering heat to get back on the podium. In the first three races of the season Stroupe has put his Kawasaki KX™250F on the podium.
"I got a good start in the first moto and came out third," said Stroupe. "I battled with (Ryan) Dungey and maybe used a little too much energy. In the second moto I got a great start and had the lead. I was riding well and just hit the wall. From there it was tough and I did my all to hang on for third."
Ferry had an amazing ride in the first moto after he went down on the first lap and rejoined the race at the back of the pack. Crossing the line in 36th place after the first lap.
Ferry rode inspired passing as many as 10 riders on one lap. At the end of the moto Ferry worked his way up to finish seventh.
"I guess it was a great ride considering where I was after the first lap," said Ferry. "It was a frustrating one for me because that's not what you want to do on a hot day. Speed wise I know I'm right there, but at the same time I was disappointed I to had pass so many guys."
In the second moto, Ferry again had to work his way through the pack. This time he narrowly missed a first turn pile-up and crossed the line 10th after the first lap. Again he rode a consistent pace, running laps at the same speed as the leader. Red Dog worked his way to third in the moto and missed the overall podium by a single point. The strong rides in both motos for Ferry keeps him second in the season standings.
"I got tangled at the start," said Ferry. "I got away from it though. It could have been a lot worse. I came around the first lap in 10th and I was able to run a quick pace the whole moto. It was quick enough to get to third but not enough to get Mike (Alessi) or James (Stewart). I have to get a better start to be able to race those guys and get a win."
For Metcalfe the two motos were very eventful as he went down in the sand whoops section during the first race. The hard fall damaged the bike, but Metcalfe was still able to hold on for a ninth-place finish in the moto. The hot temperatures combined with Metcalfe having to fight his way through field made the second moto even tougher on the Australian rider. With many riders dropping out due to the tough conditions, Metcalfe gutted it out and finished eighth overall.
"It was a tough day, especially for me," said Metcalfe. "I got a good start in the first moto and then had a big crash in the whoops. I bent my bike up bad and kind of hurt myself a little. After that it was a struggle to ride well because my bike was so bent. That really beat me up. In the second moto I was running well and then with four laps to go I just hit the wall. I spent so much energy coming back in the first moto I had nothing left for the second one."
Stewart's conditioning was on full display in Texas. After signing a new trainer and rededicating himself to improve his endurance, the hard work paid off as he faced the harshest conditions of the season. With the dog days of summer looming, Stewart plans to keep working hard so he can continue to win races.
"I think endurance wise this was a fun race," said Stewart. "If you're out of shape, a race like this isn't fun at all. I felt like I was in good shape. Now I've got to carry that on to the next race and keep improving. I need to make sure I recover during the week so I can have a good weekend at High Point."
Even with many riders dropping out of the race, the 33 year-old Ferry seemed to excel as the day wore on.
"I actually felt better after the second moto," said Ferry. "I don't know what it was. I had to pass a lot of guys in the first moto and I was under pressure to pass a lot of guys. It was hard. To pass 30 guys in this field is tough."