New Team New Bike "SAME RESULTS" Stewart Still Amazing
Oakley’s MX superstar James Stewart came a holeshot away from pocketing the $250,000 Trifecta, but the Oakley, San Manuel Yamaha rider did come away with the overall win at the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Stewart capped off the weekend with another win Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd, but this time, he had to work for it.
“This win is very special because I was really coming here to see what we needed to work on with switching bike brands after 16 years and riding for a new team, I was a little nervous because I came here at a huge disadvantage with only having a total of 6 days on the new bike. I know my competition doesn’t believe that but they will once they see come January and I have more time and feel even more comfortable. I was surprised at how comfortable I was with this short time to prepare.”
Stewart got pinched off in the first turn, while Suzuki’s Chad Reed put his RM-Z450 into the lead on the first lap after passing fast-starter Broc Hepler. Stewart came out of the first turn in fourth, but by the second lap, he was in second place and charging after Reed. About three seconds separated the two front-runners, but Stewart slowly but surely narrowed that gap with each passing lap. By the halfway point, which three seconds had shrunk to three feet, but on a track that offered very little passing space, Stewart appeared to be “stuck” behind the Suzuki rider.
However, Stewart had one section, a triple-triple, which only he was clearing, and he was noticeably gaining ground on Reed there. At times, he got along side the Suzuki rider, but couldn’t pull the trigger. And time was running out. But with about four laps left, Reed made a big mistake over that very same triple-triple and went crashing – spectacularly – off the track.
“I don’t know what I did,” Reed said. “I grabbed a handful [of throttle] and went off the side of the track.”
Stewart was handed an early Christmas present, as he rode past Reed and rode on to victory, his first on his new Yamaha team. Although Stewart didn’t win the Trifecta, don’t feel sorry for him, as he still earned $160,000 over the weekend, including the $100,000 prize money for winning the overall. Reed got up in time to finish third, but his DNF on Friday night kept him out of contention for the overall win. He was, however, credited with eighth overall.
Second overall on the weekend went to Red Bull Honda’s Ivan Tedesco. Although he finished fifth in tonight’s main, his second-place finish the previous night was good enough to beat out Oakley’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey for runner-up honors.
“I’m not too happy with my riding this weekend, but I’m happy with the overall,” Tedesco said.
Dungey went 5-4 over the weekend, getting on the podium in third, a remarkable feat when you consider he was riding one of the few 250Fs in the entire field.
Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open Overall Results
1. James Stewart, Yamaha (1-1) (Oakley)
1. Ivan Tedesco, Honda (5-4)
2. Ryan Dungey, Suzuki (5-4) (Oakley)
3. Andrew Short, Honda (9-2)
4. Justin Brayton, KTM (4-9)
5. Josh Hill, Yamaha (3-12)
6. Michael Byrne, Suzuki (7-6)
7. Chad Reed, Suzuki (14-3)
8. Thomas Hahn, Kawasaki (8-13)
9. Broc Hepler, Yamaha (6-11)
Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open Saturday Night Results
1. James Stewart, Yamaha
1. Andrew Short, Honda
2. Chad Reed, Suzuki
3. Ryan Dungey, Suzuki (Oakley)
4. Ivan Tedesco, Honda
5. Michael Byrne, Suzuki
6. Dan Reardon, Honda
7. Thomas Hahn, Kawasaki
8. Justin Brayton, KTM
9. Nico Izzi, Suzuki (Oakley)
Legends Rematch Race, Saturday Night Results
1. Damon Bradshaw, Yamaha
2. Jeff Matiasevich, Kawasaki (Oakley)