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SUPERCROSS: Las Vegas press day notes, part II

Art Eckman, Media Prof. Las Vegas: 125 East/West Shootout: CORRECTION: In our last release we mistakenly said that for the last four years the winner of the 125 Shootout didn't win a championship that year. It should read for the last three ...

Art Eckman, Media Prof. Las Vegas:

125 East/West Shootout:

CORRECTION:
In our last release we mistakenly said that for the last four years the winner of the 125 Shootout didn't win a championship that year. It should read for the last three years the shootout winner didn't win a region championship that same year. We counted Nathan Ramsey twice. Last year James Stewart took revenge winning the shootout after losing the 125 West crown to Travis Preston. The year before shootout winner Nathan Ramsey was runner-up to Travis Pastrana in the 125 East, and in 2000 Travis Pastrana placed third in the 125 East before winning the shootout. But in '99 Nathan Ramsey won the shootout after winning the 125 West.

* Nathan Ramsey is the only two time winner of the East/West shootout.

* Ramsey's win in '99 had a lot of racing luck attached. He had to go to the LCQ to make the main. He took the last qualifying spot when two riders fell down on the last lap. Once in the main he got a bad start in 11th. He moved into third on the sixth lap then went on to win

* In 1998 Ricky Carmichael lapped up to fourth, but said afterward it was the hardest race of the year. That season Ricky became the only rider to sweep a 125 supercross season. ( 9 for 9 )

* Kevin Windham was the first Las Vegas Shootout winner in 1997. Before that the procedure was to have from two to four East/West 125 races throughout the season.

* Last year James Stewart coming off a near perfect win at Salt Lake but losing the 125 West championship made it two wins in a row taking the shootout by 6.3 seconds. After a sixth place start it took him three laps before taking over the lead for good.

* Before the shootout concept in Las Vegas, Jeremy McGrath was the winingest rider in the 125's here with three consecutive wins including his first win as a professional. ('90-'92) Next in the pre shootout days it was Ryan Hughes winning two. ('94 - '95)

* There was no race in Las Vegas in 1996.

James Stewart:

* James has 11 career 125 wins. If he should win the shootout he would tie Brian Swink, Damon Huffman and Ernesto Fonseca for second on the all time 125 win list. Jeremy McGrath is the leader with 13. If James does what he announced in Salt Lake City he'll ride 250's for the first few races out west (during the 125 West season) then compete for the 125 East title. In that case he would have a chance to become the all time 125 SX winner.

* He totally dominated the 125 West this year becoming the first rider since the LasVegas shootout format was conceived to win the West title before the last regular season race.

Stewart continued: * After coming from 13th to finish in second at the opener in Anaheim he won the next seven consecutive races. Sometimes he won by more than 20 seconds. Sometimes his clockings looked like 250 riders times.

* In his last seven 125 West races he led 100 of the 105 laps. * The rumor is he worked with Jeff Emig on starts. After so noted he finished every first lap in first place. * James has won every qualifying heat this season.

Travis Preston: (Injured at last report)

* Was said to have been injured in practice before the Salt Lake City race. * He felt he rode better this season than he did during his championship season in '02, but a sixth at Anaheim II followed by an 11th at San Francisco took him out of the championship chase.

* Still he recorded his a win and four second places to finish second in the region. * He rode a four stroke in five 250 races this year with his best finish a fourth at Daytona.

Mike Brown:

* Finished second in the 125 East. * He's been noted for riding well at Daytona, but he won his first race there this year. * Had some outstanding battles with Branden Jesseman. But the one win, two seconds and two third places was good enough to only take it to the final round.

Brock Sellards:

* Brock led more laps than any rider in the 125 East. (44) * Brock had two wins on the season and after a second in the 125 East opener at Minneapolis and a win at Atlanta he had the points lead. * A triceps injury before the third round through him off the championship track. He finished the East in third. * After a win in Houston (his second of the season) he led the first six laps at Pontiac only to have his bike get stuck in neutral and crash. That crash also took away any hope that Mike Brown had for a title. Mike got hung up behind him.

Branden Jesseman: (Was injured breaking a thumb in practice)

* Won the 126 East and in the process became Suzuki's savior on the year after injuries depleted the entire 250 team.

* Established a ten point lead after the first five races with two wins (Minneapolis & Indianapolis), a second at Daytona and a third at Atlanta.

* He went into the final round at Pontiac needing an eighth to win the title and placed a breath taking sixth.

Danny Smith: (Injured at last report)

* Was third in the 125 West after a third place at Phoenix but a seventh at Anaheim II and failing to qualify plus an injury at San Francisco put him out of the title chase. Before being shelved with injury for the rest of the season Danny placed a third at San Diego.

Matt Walker: (Injured)

* Was injured in the last 125 West race at Salt Lake City (knee) trying to break a tie for third place in the standings. He ended up placing fifth on the season.

* It will be remembered as a controversial season for Walker who was decked with a Travis Preston block pass while running in second at Phoenix. It opened up a bar banging, plastic scratching war. Pro Circuit teammate Eric Sorby retaliated at Anaheim II, and Walker was fined $1,000 after running Preston into the finish line tower structure in the next race at San Francisco.

* Walker took second place in San Francisco his best finish of the year and finished the season with a fourth, fifth and third (Dallas) before his season ending crash at Salt Lake.

Michael Byrne:

* Was a pre season 125 East title contender coming out of the 250 races out West but after a third in the East opener and a fifth at Atlanta an injury during practice put him out for the season.

Sean Hamblin:

* His best 125 East race was a fourth at Phoenix, but was out of the title run early and Suzuki needed him full time on a 250.

Christopher Gosselaar:

* After his lone podium (a third) at San Francisco he crashed hard at Anaheim III . It was later revealed he had a hairline fracture in his left foot. After missing the San Diego race he still finished the 125 West season out with a fifth and seventh place finishes.

Andrew Short:

* Won his battle with Matt Walker for third place in the final 125 West standings. * He came out of the LCQ in the season opener to make his first ever podium in third. He came back from an awful start and ninth place finish in round two to post his best ever supercross finish in second at Anaheim II.

* A clutch problem at Anaheim III set him back in the standings but he won his first qualifying heat in the season finale at Salt Lake City and finished with one of four 4th place finishes in the last five races.

David Pingree:

* After a hole shot in the 125 West season's opener it went all down hill from there. Injuries kept him out of Anaheim II and later spelled the end to his season after a crash in San Diego.

Ivan Tedesco:

* Finished the 125 West season strong with a second place at Houston and his first career supercross victory at Pontiac.

* Sustaining a concussion crashing in Atlanta cut the heart out of his title chances missing three races after the DNF.

* Ivan with his win added to a growing list of 125 riders who had to go through the Last Chance Qualifier to get to the main and then win the main event.

Steve Boniface:

* Ended the 125 East season strong with his best finish ever - a second after gaining the hole shot and leading the first seven laps at St. Louis and then a seventh and fifth place. Ended up sixth in the East standings.

Kelly Smith:

* He maintained his reputation as the "Quick starter" of the East getting hole shots in the first three races. * Kelly was having a good season with three fifth place finishes, an eighth, and a fourth at St. Louis until he crashed after getting the white flag ending up in 17th at Houston.

* Kelly gathered up the pieces to equal his career best in the final 125 East race of the regular season with a second at Pontiac.

Troy Adams:

* Ran the 125 West where his best finish was a ninth at Dallas but his best result on the season came at Daytona where he came in seventh.

Tyson Hadsell:

* Posted his best of the season at Daytona (8th)

Ryan Mills:

* Broke his wrist trying to qualify for the 125 East race at Pontiac right after his best career finish - a sixth at Houston.

Josh Hansen:

* The son of a former supercross/motocross champion continually improved over his fist full pro season. * After four mid pack finishes he had four single digit races to end the 125 West. He ended the season with his best results - two sixth place finishes.

* Oddly enough it was bad starts that hampered Josh. His father Donnie who teaches motocross was one of the best starters the sport has ever seen.

Shane Bess:

* Ended the 125 West season with his best day. He had his best qualifier in third, his best start in third and his best finish in fifth.

Shae Bentley:

* This former 125 champion was trying a comeback from numerous injuries over the last couple of years. * After a trial of bottom basement finishes it looked like he was back with back to back third place finishes at Indianapolis and Daytona but a crash at St. Louis took him out for the season.

Craig Anderson:

* Chad Reed's cousin and running mate in Australia came over for his first try at American supercross. He had one promising ride before failing to qualify and injuries cut into his style. That was a hole shot and dleading the first three laps at Phoenix ending up in sixth place.

Steve Mertens:

* His best in the 125 West was two seventh place finishes (San Francisco & Dallas)

Brett Metcalf:

* Finished in the 125 East top five. * The youngest of the Australian armada. * Won his first American podium at Houston with a third place finish. Also took a strong fourth at Indy.

Billy Laninovich:

* Finished the 125 West season fourth in the standings in his second year of supercross. * Saved the best for last gaining the hole shot at Salt Lake City and was steady under pressure taking a second place. (His third career podium)

* His second career podium came at Anaheim II when he won the LCQ, got the hole shot and finished in third. * Laninovich had the most hole shots in the 125 West. (3) Tiger Lancy and Eric Sorby had two each thanks to Dirt Wurx's hole shot right and hole shot left at Anaheim III.

Eric Vallejo:

* Scored a career supercross best with a fourth at Atlanta.

Tiger Lacy:

* Competed in both the 125 East and West divisions. It's allowed by the AMA if the rider is not in the top ten in his assigned region. Tiger didn't get into tenth in the 125 West until the last race of the season.

* Tiger is known for great starts. He had two hole shots in the East and two in the West.

Eric Sorby:

* Eric finished the 125 West on an up note capturing his third career podium. Even though he got his second podium earlier in the season at Anaheim III and had already tallied two hole shots he was an entirely different rider in the whoops in the finale.

* James Stewart Sr. had suggested a change in the position of his handlebars and they did some other adjustments which made a world of difference for Eric in the whoops.

* Eric opened eyes last year when he came over late in the season to help the Pro Circuit's depleted team and scored a third place podium in his first American race.

Part I press day notes

-cce-

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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Travis Pastrana , Kevin Windham , Jeremy McGrath , Ernesto Fonseca , Chad Reed , Damon Huffman , Branden Jesseman , Mike Brown , Kelly Smith , James Stewart , Jeff Emig , Andrew Short