James Stewart Takes Control of Championship in Salt Lake City Thriller
40,000 fans braving the frigid, rain streaked weather came out to Salt lake City’s Rice-Eccles stadium on Saturday night to watch the penultimate round of the remarkably dramatic 17-round 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. With only the Salt Lake and next Saturday’s Las Vegas rounds remaining the schedule, Oakley’s James Stewart held a tenuous three-point led over rival and adversary Chad Reed (in essence, the difference between a first and second finishing position in a main event). Could Reed win in Salt Lake and tie things up with Stewart? Or, would James win again and, for all intents and purposes, lockdown the 2009 title? With weather a constant threat, a dreary Saturday night in Utah would tell the tale.
Right from the drop of the gate to start the 20-lap main event, it all turned into the Reed versus Stewart show, the Suzuki rider grabbing the holeshot and opening up a 0.423-second lead by lap number two. From that point onwards, Reed held sway, Stewart marking his every move. From lap number one through lap 12, the two riders were never separated by more than 1.247 seconds (on lap 10, at the halfway mark).
Approximately three laps later, Stewart found his way around Reed with a nifty scrub move over the finish line and would not be denied. At the finish, the Oakley rider crossed the finish line jump 4.221-seconds ahead of Reed, thus earning is eleventh win of the season, and more importantly, gathering up thee more precious points towards the ‘09 championship. Third, an eternity of 24.547 seconds behind the dynamic duo was Oakley’s Davi Millsaps. Oakley’s Ryan Villopoto placed fourth.
In the final AMA West Region Lites race of 2009, Oakley’s Ryan Dungey rode to a safe fourth position, all he needed to do to clinch the 2009 AMA West Region Lites Championship.