After the ridiculousness in Toronto and Adam Cianciarulo’s brave but yet futile attempt to continue racing with his quite obviously badly injured shoulder, the 250 East Coast riders lined up in St. Louis without the former points leader as he went under the knife to repair his damaged body.
This meant that the fight for points supremacy would go down between two men.
The always up there, ever consistent Martin Davalos, riding his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki and the man on a roll, Justin Bogle aboard his Geico Honda machine.
With both Pro Circuit and the factory connection Geico Honda team seemingly out of the running for West Coast glory – as Rockstar KTM’s Jason Anderson and TLD Honda’s Cole Seely go head-to-head for that championship – the two 250 class powerhouses will be putting all they’ve got into clenching this East Coast championship… and so the race was well and truly on in St. Louis.
When the gates dropped for the 250 Main Event in St. Louis Martin Davalos was able to grab the holeshot and escape with the early race lead. His championship adversary was not far behind at all in fourth place.
Bogle quickly made moves and by the third lap of the race he had found his way into the second position, directly behind the new points leader Martin Davalos. The race was now on. Bogle vs. Davalos. Geico vs. Pro Circuit. #31 vs. #32.
Early championship threat and a Main Event winner in 2014, Blake Baggett, was not where he needed to be as the St. Louis Main reached its halfway point, as the men ahead of him in the points chase stretched away with the first and second positions.
Blake Baggett has seemed to struggle with his starts throughout this entire season and that problem reared its ugly head again in the Edward Jones Dome on Saturday night as the green number found himself in 14th position after the first lap of racing.
By lap seven Baggett had worked his magic to move into sixth position and by lap eight Blake had worked his way into the final podium spot. However, by this time the two men ahead of him were out of sight and out of the reach of the Pro Circuit rider.
At this point things tightened up at the front of the field. As the race was speeding towards its end, this battle began to reach its climax also. The pair had matched each other lap after lap, as the tension built, the cold war continued. The fight in which no punches were thrown raged on.
The two worked and weaved their way around a hoard of slower riders allowing Bogle to reel in the back wheel of Davalos’ Pro Circuit Kawasaki. As the white flag dropped the duo were as close as they had been all race long. The pressure was now on Davalos to keep his cool and keep Bogle’s Geico Honda at bay.
Bogle quickly ran out of ideas and eventually out of time as Martin thwarted the last ditch attempts of a pass from Bogle and crossed the finish line with what I’m sure must have been a huge sigh of relief.
The East Coast 250 class riders now take a break as the West Coast boys pick things up again for two weeks. With Davalos grabbing the win in St. Louis and Baggett claiming the third place spot the momentum is well and truly back in the favour of Pro Circuit heading into the break.
And more importantly the momentum has exchanged hands, moving from Bogle to Davalos as they prepare to take two weekends off.
All we can do now is wait and see whether that momentum helps or hinders Martin Davalos when the East Coast riders return in two weeks time at Metlife Stadium in the New York area – possibly one of the biggest stages of the year. So, no pressure boys!
As the 2014 AMA Supercross circus rolled into St Louis, James Stewart was on a roll and Ryan Villopoto needed to get things back to ‘normal.’
For three years now Ryan Villopoto has dominated the American motocross/ supercross scene. Throughout those three years many fans of the sport have had only one wish; to see the James ‘Bubba’ Stewart of old bring it to the new ‘fastest man of the planet’ and watch possibly the two fastest men to ever swing a leg over a dirt bike battle it out.
For a number reasons we haven’t been gifted such a wish for the majority of those three years. Although we witnessed a glimpse of what could be at last year’s Monster Energy Cup, as the pair went bar-to-bar in one of the three main events.
2014 looked like it could be the year that Bubba and RV would finally go head-to-head.
The two have displayed flashes of absolute brilliance and domination at separate points throughout the year. But rarely have we seen the two perform to best of their potential on the same night, and even rarer have we seen the two perform to the best of their potential side-by-side at the front of the field. That all changed in St. Louis.
As the 450 Main burst into existence mayhem soon ensued as Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot and the early race lead followed by Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart. This mayhem saw Stewart passed by Barcia, Barcia passed back by Stewart and Alessi shuffled backwards (again) as Villopoto and Stewart moved into the number one and number two positions. A clear track now lay ahead and awaited the duel we have all been waiting for.
Meanwhile Villopoto’s closet rival in the championship points, Ryan Dungey, found himself in the mix of a battle within a battle as he and his team-mate Ken Roczen fought valiantly not only against each other but also to move through a crowded pack of riders that included Barcia, Alessi, Brayton and Tomac.
Not exactly where Dungey wanted and needed to be, however this wasn’t the end of the KTM pilots’ misfortune of Saturday night…
Back at the front of the field a loose and fast looking James Stewart laid chase to a solid and methodical looking Ryan Villopoto. The lap charts show Stewart posting times that were ever so slightly faster than those of the champs.
When translated to on track positioning it was obvious. Stewart was visibly closing in on RV. And fast!
By lap eight Stewart was all over the rear wheel of Villopoto’s factory Kawasaki, as he looked for a place to make the pivotal move into the lead.
Stewart’s fast and loose style displayed on Saturday night saw him make a few mistakes and have a few sketchy moments whilst in the cat and mouse chase with Villopoto. But that didn’t matter JS7 was able to easily catch RV each time. He was clearly the fastest man on the track.
For two laps James attacked and Ryan defended. However on lap 10, the halfway point of the race, Stewart leapt to the inside of Villopoto as they entered a 180 degree berm. In aggressive (but yet still clean) fashion Stewart made the pass stick on the three-time champ to take command of the race.
Initially RV didn’t look too happy about this move as he immediately charged back after the #7 of James Stewart.
But as the last lap drew near, Stewart pulled a slight advantage and it was clear that RV would be unable to launch a final attack on the new race leader. Whether this was because Stewart was too much to handle or because RV decided to play it safe, it’s hard to say.
One thing is for sure – Stewart went on to light the candles and take the win after catching and passing RV straight up. If you go by that and that alone then James Stewart was the fastest man on the planet on Saturday night.
Although Villopoto lost this battle he managed to take another big leap towards winning the war as Dungey’s night went from bad to worse when he got caught up in some last lap carnage.
Resulting in a ninth place finish for the KTM rider and allowing Villopoto to stretch his points lead to well over 30 points.
With only four rounds left to go it’s going to be some mean feat for anyone to catch and dethrone Villopoto.
But they don’t say ‘you never know what’s going to happen in Supercross’ for nothing.