With 16 grueling rounds of AMA Supercross action already in the books, the last stop of the 2011 series rolled into Las Vegas, Nevada for the final showdown between the world’s best stadium racers.
With the Supercross-class championship already out of reach, James Stewart entered the finale wanting nothing more than a series-ending win to cap off an otherwise up-and-down season. Unfortunately for JS7 (pictured below), a win just wasn’t in the cards in Sin City, and thus the mighty number 7 will have to wait until 2012 to once again grace the SX podium.
In addition to the highly-anticipated Supercross-class finale, for the first time ever, Vegas hosted the final round for both Lites championship series (Lites East and Lites West), as well as the prestigious East Vs. West Shootout.
Ken Roczen (pictured at top) kicked off the night with an impressive win - his first-ever in Supercross - in the Lites West main event, and then finished a strong third behind Red Bull teammate Cole Seely in the East-West Shootout. In addition to an impressive second-place finish in the ultra competitive East-West race, Seely also secured fourth overall in the Lites West championship point standings with a fifth in the Lites West main event.
Hungry for more? Read on to see how the action unfolded at the 2011 series finale…
SUPERCROSS QUALIFYING HEATS
- When the gates dropped for Supercross Heat #1, James Stewart rocketed down the long Vegas start-straight to grab the holeshot and early lead.
- Behind Stewart, Andrew Short moved into the third spot on lap one and looked smooth and confident on the slick Vegas soil.
- Halfway through the eight-lap heat race, JS7 set the fastest lap of the entire day with a 101.61 - over a full second quicker than second-fastest Chad Reed.
- On lap four, Shorty took a wide line under the “over-under” bridge and caught his rear wheel on the base of the tunnel structure, instantly causing a flat tire.
- Up front, Stewart continued motoring away from the rest of the pack, eventually winning the heat by a whopping 14 seconds.
- Kyle Regal rode to a solid fifth-place finish to qualify for the main, with Mike Alessi following close behind in the sixth spot.
- Short (pictured below) returned in the Last Chance Qualifier and ran away with an impressive win to earn his spot in the Vegas main event.
SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
- With 20 riders amped and ready for the final main event of the 2011 series, the gates dropped and Alessi grabbed the all-important holeshot.
- Stewart pulled into third early on lap one after a top-five start and immediately got by Alessi, who had been displaced by Kevin Windham in turn two.
- After a multi-lap battle with veteran Windham, JS7 made a pass for the lead on lap four.
- Pushing the envelope while trying to pull away from the pack, Stewart made a critical mistake in the whoops on lap seven, going down hard on the rigid Vegas soil.
- With a twisted-up bike and a suspected foot injury, JS7 was unable to remount, ending the series with a disappointing 15th-place finish in Vegas.
- The quickest man on the track at the majority of the 17 rounds of action this season, Stewart just couldn’t shake the dark cloud of misfortune that lingered over him for much of the series, and sadly had to settle for fourth overall in the championship point standings.
- Despite starting from the far outside gate, Short rode a phenomenal race to an impressive fifth-place finish.
- In what is being called the most competitive Supercross series of all time, the ever-consistent Short finished in sixth overall aboard his KTM - the best Supercross-class series result ever for the Austrian-made machine.
- Regal finished the main just inside the top ten with a solid ninth to wrap up the series.
1. Chad Reed
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Ryan Villopoto
4. Chris Blose
5. Andrew Short
6. Jake Weimer
7. Austin Stroupe
8. Nick Wey
9. Kyle Regal
10. Tye Simmonds
OFFICIAL SUPERCROSS 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Chad Reed
3. Ryan Dungey
4. James Stewart
5. Trey Canard
6. Andrew Short
SUPERCROSS LITES WEST MAIN EVENT
- With the Lites East main event in the books (Race Winner: Blake Baggett; Series Champion: Justin Barcia), the gate dropped for the Lites West finale, and Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot to take the early lead.
- Cole Seely snuck into the second spot early and immediately set his sights on Roczen out front.
- On lap five, Roczen made a mistake and went down in one of many slick Vegas corners, allowing Seely by to take over the lead.
- Two laps later, Seely returned the favor with a mistake of his own, hitting the stadium floor after coming up short on a double, and Roczen once again found himself in the lead.
- With eight laps to go, Roczen put his head down and reeled off solid lap after solid lap en route to an impressive victory.
- The win marked the first-ever for Roczen in Supercross, and the likeable German phenom was absolutely ecstatic to earn one in his rookie season in the U.S.
- Seely regrouped to finish strong in the fifth spot, with TLD/Honda/Red Bull teammate Travis Baker just a few spots behind in eighth.
- Seely’s fifth-place finish was good enough to secure fourth overall in the Lites West championship point standings.
- The top-nine riders from each coast’s main event qualified directly into the East-West Shootout later in the evening.
SUPERCROSS LITES WEST RESULTS
1. Ken Roczen
2. Broc Tickle
3. Kyle Cunningham
4. Eli Tomac
5. Cole Seely
6. Tyla Rattray
7. Ryan Morais
8. Travis Baker
9. Martin Davalos
10. Josh Hansen
SUPERCROSS LITES WEST 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Broc Tickle
2. Eli Tomac
3. Josh Hansen
4. Cole Seely
5. Ryan Morais
6. Ken Roczen
Video interview with Ken before starting the 2011 Lites Series:
SUPERCROSS LITES EAST-WEST SHOOTOUT
- Twenty riders qualified for the highly competitive Lites East-West Shootout and just as they did in the Lites West main event, Seely and Roczen jumped out to top-five starts.
- By lap five of ten, Seely and Roczen had asserted themselves into second and third, respectively, but leader Ryan Sipes had already built a comfortable lead.
- Unable to reel in Sipes, the real battle on the track was for second and third, and Roczen tried several times to get by Seely throughout the remainder of the race.
- In the end, Seely was able to hold off the hard-charging German, and the two finished the shootout in second and third, respectively, wrapping up an incredible Supercross series with one last podium finish each.
SUPERCROSS LITES EAST-WEST SHOOTOUT RESULTS
1. Ryan Sipes
2. Cole Seely
3. Ken Roczen
4. Dean Wilson
5. Martin Davalos
6. Eli Tomac
7. Lance Vincent
8. Kyle Cunningham
9. Travis Baker
10. Broc Tickle
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- See more photos from the Las Vegas finale
- Roczen snags second in Salt Lake City
- Follow James Stewart on a typical Supercross Saturday