With just three races left in the 2011 AMA Supercross series, round number 15 in Seattle was viewed by many as the pivotal, must-win race for the four riders still in the championship hunt. James Stewart was the man who answered the call.
After a perfect, rain-free day inside the Seattle Seahawks’ beautiful QWEST Field, James convincingly captured his second-straight win to pull within nine points of the championship lead.
Seattle also hosted the return of the West Coast Supercross Lites class, and Red Bull-backed TLD/Honda’s Cole Seely rode a flawless main event to capture his second win of the 2011 series.
Read on to find out how it all went down in the Emerald City…
SUPERCROSS QUALIFYING HEATS
- Supercross Heat #1 launched out of the gate at 8:00 p.m. sharp, and the number 800 of Mike Alessi (pictured above) grabbed the holeshot with Stewart close in-tow.
- JS7 wanted no part of the runner-up position, however, and quickly took over the lead before the end of lap one.
- With Stewart checking out up front, Red Bull KTM’s Andrew Short worked his way into second place early on, looking very sharp.
- Behind Shorty, Red Bull teammates Alessi and Kyle Regal finished the heat in third and fifth place, respectively, easily qualifying for the main event.
- Stewart made it look easy up front, taking the heat win by over 15 seconds ahead of Short, while setting the day’s fastest lap time (50.784) along the way.
- The overall elapsed time of Stewart’s heat race was 17 seconds quicker than Kevin Windham’s Heat #2 win, serving notice that the number seven came to play in Seattle.
SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT
- With the enthusiastic Seattle fans on their feet, the premier-class main event got underway with a tight battle for the holeshot, but it was Stewart who prevailed as the pack rounded turn one.
- Longtime rival Chad Reed got by to momentarily take over the lead midway through lap one, but Stewart quickly retaliated and reclaimed the top spot.
- Steadily extending his lead on Reed, who still sat in second, JS7 began navigating his way through lapped riders by lap number six, doing so with seemingly relative ease.
- By the halfway mark, Stewart had established a comfortable nine-second margin over second and continued reeling off smooth lap after smooth lap on what was no doubt one of the most challenging tracks of the series thus far.
- In desperate need of a win to stay in the championship hunt, Stewart rode a near-perfect race to take his second straight - and fifth total - win of the series.
- With two rounds left in the series (Salt Lake City and Las Vegas), Stewart now sits just nine points behind current championship points leader Ryan Villopoto.
- Alessi got a third-place start in the main, and after several close calls on the tricky, beat-up Seattle circuit, he battled his way to a solid sixth-place finish.
- Short unfortunately went down in turn number one, but the hard-charging veteran put his head down and rode all the way up to a commendable tenth-place finish by the wave of the checkers.
1. James Stewart
2. Kevin Windham
3. Chad Reed
4. Ryan Villopoto
5. Ryan Dungey
6. Mike Alessi
7. Kyle Regal
8. Davi Millsaps
9. Tommy Hahn
10. Andrew Short
SUPERCROSS LITES QUALIFYING HEATS
- The West Coast Lites series returned to action in Seattle, and Red Bull-backed TLD/Honda’s Cole Seely and Travis Baker lined up side-by-side to take on Lites Heat #1.
- When the gates dropped, Seely ripped a great start to capture the first holeshot of the night, with teammate Baker sitting just inside the top-10.
- Seely (pictured below) lost the lead to Broc Tickle midway through lap one but quickly stole it back and began slowly inching away.
- By lap four, Seely once again began feeling pressure from Tickle, but he held on strong for the final two laps to take a tight win as the two flew the finish line double nearly side-by-side.
- Baker finished the heat in fifth to also secure a spot in the main event.
SUPERCROSS LITES MAIN EVENT
- Seely and Baker got great starts to kick off the Lites main event, with Seely edging out his teammate at the stripe to grab the holeshot.
- Seely immediately began pulling away, but a big mistake on lap three allowed heat race foe Tickle to significantly close the gap in the second spot.
- After a four-race stint on the factory Honda 450 while the series was on the East Coast, Seely’s confidence was booming in Seattle, as he impressively stretched out an eight-second lead by the halfway mark.
- Not to be denied, Seely made it look easy up front, and motored away to a very impressive win - his second of the series.
- Baker finished just inside the top-10 with a solid ninth-place finish.
- With the win and accompanying 25 points, Seely moved into fourth place in the overall championship points standings with Salt Lake and Las Vegas still to go.
SUPERCROSS LITES RESULTS
1. Cole Seely
2. Eli Tomac
3. Broc Tickle
4. Kyle Cunningham
5. Tyla Rattray
6. Josh Hansen
7. Ryan Morais
8. Martin Davalos
9. Travis Baker
10. Gared Steinke