Kawasaki 125 Supercross titans set to meet in Dave Coombs Sr. 125 Shootout Stewart and Tedesco Head Battle of East and West in Las Vegas PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 28, 2004) -- AMA 125 East Supercross Champion James Stewart Jr. and West...
Kawasaki 125 Supercross titans set to meet in Dave Coombs Sr. 125 Shootout
Stewart and Tedesco Head Battle of East and West in Las Vegas
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 28, 2004) -- AMA 125 East Supercross Champion James Stewart Jr. and West Champion Ivan Tedesco will meet for the first time this season in the annual Dave Coombs Sr. 125 East/West Shootout on Saturday, May 1 in Las Vegas. The Shootout brings together the top riders from both the AMA 125 East and West Region Supercross Series to cap off the AMA Supercross season. Also on tap at Sam Boyd Stadium this weekend is the season finale of the 2004 THQ AMA Supercross Series. After 15 rounds Yamaha's Chad Reed comes into Las Vegas with a 12-point lead over Factory Connection Honda's Kevin Windham. Reed, who has won 10 rounds so far this year, needs only to finish eighth or better in Las Vegas to clinch his first AMA Supercross title.
Stewart comes into this year's East/West Shootout favored to become only the second rider to twice win the 125 Shootout. Stewart won the race in 2002, but was injured in a spectacular crash in last year's race, which not only cost him the East/West Shootout, but also forced him to miss the first four rounds of last year's AMA 125 Motocross Championship costing him a chance to defend his title. The young Floridian represented the West the last time he won this event, but this year he'll be carrying the East banner after becoming that region's champion in March.
"I'm hoping to redeem myself in Las Vegas after what happened there last year," said Stewart, who became the all-time winningest rider in AMA 125 Supercross history this season. "I'm ready for Ivan and the rest of the boys over in the West. It should be a great race and I'm looking forward to it."
For his part Tedesco claims he's as ready as he's ever going to be to race Stewart Saturday night. The New Mexico native is at the top of his game, coming off his seventh victory in the 125 West Series last weekend in Salt Lake City. He won the race last Saturday in a runaway and moved into the top-10 on the all-time AMA 125 Supercross wins list.
"James is an awesome rider," Tedesco admitted. "There's no question that I'm going to have to run the race of my career to beat him, but I'm going to do the best I can. I think it's great that the top two guys coming into the Shootout are both on Kawasakis. There's really no pressure on me. I'm just going to go out there and race like I've been all year long."
This will mark the eighth season of the East/West 125 Shootout. The East riders lead the series with four wins to three for the West, but the West is riding a two-race winning streak. While Stewart and Tedesco are the overwhelming favorites to win the annual meeting, it's not always the East or West champion that comes away with the victory. Three times in the history of the race another rider has stolen the spotlight to take the win. Honda's Nathan Ramsey will be a rider to keep an eye on. Ramsey won a West Region race this year and has twice taken home the Shootout crown. He's the only rider to win the Shootout more than once and is hoping to add to his tally this weekend. Yamaha of Troy's Josh Hansen could be a threat as well. The son of 1982 AMA Supercross champ Donnie Hansen, Josh took a victory in the East Region Series in Indianapolis when Stewart sat out the race after suffering a concussion in practice.
The Dave Coombs Sr. 125 East/West Shootout is named after the late pioneering motocross promoter Dave Coombs, Sr., who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.
In the main THQ AMA Supercross Series race Chad Reed is hoping to finally nail down the 2004 title. He was set to clinch the series last weekend in Salt Lake City, but lab results returned on Friday showed that Reed and two other riders had used illegal fuel at round 14 of the series in Irving, Texas on April 17. Reed and the others were each penalized 25 points for the infraction.
With the championship now set to be determined in Las Vegas, Reed needs only to finish eighth or better to secure the No. 1 plate. The odds are in the Aussie's favor considering he has finished no worse than third all season. He's approaching the season finale with a philosophical approach.
"It's an unfortunate thing (the gas penalty), but I think it will make it exciting for Las Vegas," Reed said. "Hopefully I can pull it together and win the championship. I was definitely hoping to wrap it up in Salt Lake City and then come to Las Vegas and relax and have a good time. Now I have to go out there and concentrate and put in 20 good laps."
Windham seemed rejuvenated after realizing the title chase would go the final round. He dominated last weekend's race in Salt Lake City, winning by a comfortable margin, but he's realistic about his shot at the title.
"I don't like to bank on bad luck," Windham said. "We've seen Chad fall in the first turn and come back to third. At this point he could probably finish in the top five even with his goggles completely blacked out. I can just do the best I can. It's outside of my hands. It's not my championship to win, it's really his to lose."
Both the East/West Shootout and the THQ AMA Supercross finale will be shown on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 2 starting at noon Eastern. For additional information on the season finale call (630) 566-6100. For tickets visit www.unlvtickets.com.