It was a bad night of racing for Pro Circuit Kawasaki this past weekend in Detroit. How could it be that the utterly dominant powerhouse that hasn’t missed a beat so far on the East region tour had such a bad night of racing? Just exactly what went wrong for the PC team?
It began with a scary crash for team veteran Martin Davalos in qualifying practice. The rider from Ecuador was lucky to get up and walk away from this slam, let alone to still be able to line up for the main event later that night!
Davalos looked as though he had put that crash well and truly behind him as he grabbed the main event holeshot and early race lead ahead of fellow team-mate Adam Cianciarulo. A good start for PC in the Main and if it were not for last weekend’s race winner Blake Baggett being buried in the pack it would have been a perfect start.
As the early laps of the race unfolded the #4 machine had to fight hard to edge his way up through the pack, which was no mean feat on a track that looked particularly difficult to pass on.
At the front of the field Martin Davalos and Adam Cianciarulo had almost swapped their usual positions, with AC inheriting the chaser position and Davalos now adopting the chase-ee position.
As lap three of 15 came to a close Cianciarulo had caught the rear wheel of Davalos and began to pile on the pressure. What happened next was something that we have seen far too often this season and really something we have seen far too often throughout this particular person’s entire career!
Martin Davalos crashed whilst commanding the leading position handing over the lead and potentially the win to the guys immediately behind him. In this case that guy was his young team-mate and championship rival Adam Cianciarulo.
Unfortunately, as previously mentioned this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Davalos throw away the race lead. This begs the question: just what is the reason behind this? Is it the pressure of being in the lead? Or the guy directly behind breathing down his neck? Perhaps of winning? Could it be the pressure of expectation?
My guess is that it is a mixture of all of these things that results in Martin momentarily having a slight lapse in concentration, which in a sport as precise as supercross can be a disastrous thing.
With Davalos out of the lead and loosing a handful of vital positions, the duel for the lead now ensued between Adam Cianciarulo and the Geico Honda rider Justin Bogle. And that’s what it was really, a duel.
Throughout the remainder of the race Cianciarulo and Bogle wouldn’t go on to have a bear knuckle fist fight for the lead and the win (despite how bad I wanted to see one) , they continued to play a game of strategy, a civilised duel as they almost matched each other stroke-for-stroke.
As Cianciarulo and Bogle raced away at the front of the field, things went from bad to worse for the early race leader Martin Davalos, as he ate dirt yet again! Resulting in the loss of even more valuable positions and points and a continuation of the bad night for Pro Circuit Kawasaki…
As the race came to its conclusion Adam Cianciarulo was able to hold off the attacking Justin Bogle just long enough to claim his third win of the season. Justin Bogle earned himself his best career result to date in second position. To find the third place rider we had to wait a while due to the immense lead the first and second placed riders had built.
And that rider, after a terrible start and a hard fought fight through the pack emerged to be…. Blake Baggett!
Eventually Martin Davalos would cross the line in sixth position with Kyle Cunningham and Matt Lamoine directly in front of him in fourth and fifth.
So even on a bad outing for the Pro Circuit racers, with multiple crashes and some bad starts, the Kawasaki team was still able to walk away with all three of their riders finishing within the top six on the night.
They were also able to continue their East coast domination as all three PC riders were still able to hang onto their podium positions in the championship points race. Something that most teams could only ever dream of!
However despite this Pro Circuit domination, I would still be slightly worried if I were either Blake Baggett or Martin Davalos. As their team-mate Adam Cianciarulo is displaying confidence and consistency beyond his years and unlike many first year rookies.
With three race wins from five Main Event starts and having never finished worse then second throughout his entire supercross career I think it is safe to say that AC is officially the real deal. Now stretching his lead to 17 points over his team-mate Martin Davalos, I would say this championship is well and truly under AC’s control.
After Villopoto’s dominating victory in Daytona someone really needed to take the wind out of RV’s sail if we were going to see a legitimate fight for the 450 title go down to the wire. Could anyone do just that in Detroit, Michigan?
The man with the most realistic chance of doing so is the #5 of Ryan Dungey. However, when the gates dropped inside Ford field on Saturday night Dungey had some work ahead of him, if he was to gain any points on the three-time champ.
Leading the way early were two 450 part-timers in the form of Cole Seely, with the holeshot and early lead, followed by TwoTwo fill-in Dean Wilson in second. James Stewart was now looking to put his bad luck of recent weeks behind as he ran upfront early in third with Villopoto directly behind him and Ryan Dungey next in line.
The fifth and final championship protagonist, Ken Roczen, was nowhere to be seen…
The high intensity levels of the early laps saw Cole Seely and Dean Wilson shuffled backwards and the race was now well and truly on between James Stewart – now in first place, Ryan Villopoto in second and Ryan Dungey, who had eventually moved into third.
By this time it was clear that Ken Roczen had encountered bike problems and was over a lap behind the front runners… He was out of the race, and sadly, likely out of the championship hunt.
Surprisingly (although it shouldn’t be too much of a shock), Ryan Villopoto wasn’t able to reel-in JS7. Stewart actually pulled away from the reigning champ. However what Villopoto was able to do was just what he needed – keep Dungey (his closet championship rival) at bay. With James’ recent bad luck and somewhat inconsistent results so far this season he is almost, much like Ken Roczen, out of the fight for the championship.
Therefore RV’s greatest threat now comes from Ryan Dungey. And Dungey needs to get a move on if he wants to win this championship, the points gap is still rather large and in order to diminish that lead he needs to start winning… or at the very least start beating RV week in, week out.
As the chequered flag dropped in Detroit James Stewart lit the candles to take an easy win and in the process adding one more win to his overall tally, which now stands at 48 – tied second with Ricky Carmichael on the all-time SX win list. RC will love that!
Ryan Villopoto does what he needs to do – crossing the line in second and extending his points lead yet again. And finally Dungey comes home in a frustrating third place…
It’s almost funny that in a field so full of talent – both new and old – the same two guys are again going to battle it out for the championship. After the misfortunes of Roczen and Stewart this championship, much like almost every AMA championship in recent memory, will go down to the wire (hopefully anyway) between the two Ryan’s.
Although these two riders may not always be the fastest two riders every single weekend they are without fail amongst the fastest riders every single week, which isn’t the case for any other riders on track. And that is why the championship is now a two horse race. Let’s just hope that Dungey can bring it to RV like we all hope!