If there is one word to sum up round 12 of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship that word would be ‘adversity’. Both the 250 East and 450 class points leaders, Adam Cianciarulo and Ryan Villopoto, were dealt with their fair share of adversity in Toronto on Saturday night.
The way in which these two racers would go on to confront these hardships absolutely head-on says a lot about their commitment and their willingness to put both body and mind on the line in order to achieve what they have worked so hard for.
With two completely contrasting outcomes for the pair there is a least one thing that can be certain… these two guys are complete and utter bad-asses!
I’ll start the 250 East Class Main Event and quite possibly one of the most bad-ass things I have ever seen!
Coming into the 250 Main it had been made clear to us that the current points leader, Adam Cianciarulo, was in no way, shape or form in 100% condition, with a seemingly injured shoulder but to what extent this injury had reached was unclear.
Despite this, as the gates dropped and the pack was unleashed upon the outrageously technical Toronto circuit Cianciarulo show little to no signs of injury as he battled with a confident Justin Bogle for the holeshot and early lead. And with his two team-mates Martin Davalos and Blake Baggett buried deep in the pack the pressure was on Adam’s – injured – shoulders continue the Pro Circuit domination and put a stop to this attempted overthrow by the Geico Honda mounted Justin Bogle.
As we looked back in search of the second and third Pro Circuit team members we found them racing through the pack and working their way up the leader board, making passes as quickly and efficiently as possible. As Davalos and Baggett ascended through the ranks their young team-mate found himself descending – falling from his early second place position into obscurity.
The Pro Circuit prodigy had taken a pretty wild ride (but not going down) through the notably gnarly whoop section (the same section Adam took a dirt sample earlier in the day) which had jerked his arms and shoulders with so much force that his previously injured shoulder was ripped out of the socket.
Cianciarulo could no longer continue on with this race… or so we thought. He rolled around the track, finally coming to a stop beside the Asterisk medical team. Wincing in understandable and obvious pain he took a seat on a vacant tuff block awaiting medical assistance from the track side doctors. What happened next is that moment of bad-assery that will without doubt go down in legend…
Cianciarulo looked to be in absolute agony as one member of the Asterisk crew held him steady, as another eventually popped his shoulder back into place. Once his shoulder was back in its biological home there was absolutely no hesitation from Cianciarulo as he literally got right back up and sprinted to his bike to get back on track!
Although he couldn’t continue the race for much longer – eventually having to head back to the pits – you HAVE to just sit back in amazement and applaud the courage of the young rider. This was one of those occurrences (just like the 2011 Millville ‘chad-a-pult’ crash) that you show your non-moto friends to prove just how bad-ass motocross racers are!
Back at the front of the field Justin Bogle continued his confident ride at the head of the pack as Davalos looked to capitalise on his team-mates misfortune. The race finished with Bogle taking the win from Davalos in second and Matt Lamoine with a great ride in third.
After a late stage crash Blake Baggett and his mangled bike ended up in 20th position and Cianciarulo was scored in 22nd.
Bogle has finally put a stop to the East coast Pro Circuit domination and looks to be riding a huge wave of confidence and with AC46 unable to finish in Toronto the points fight for the 250 East coast championship has been blown right open. With Davalos now commanding the points lead with Cianciarulo four points back and Bogle only one point behind AC in third.
There’s no doubt now that this championship is going to go down to the wire, let’s just hope that Cianciarulo can bounce back strong and in good time to be part of the that championship fight!
Our second points leader having to face adversity on Saturday night was Ryan Villopoto. Having fallen ill on the morning before the race, and progressively feeling worse, it reached the stage that Ryan’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team decided to get him checked out at the local hospital. And this was before Ryan had even had a chance to log a single lap around the Toronto track.
Therefore it seemed as though the current points leader and reigning supercross champion would not be racing on Saturday night. Meaning that the opportunity was there for Dungey and the rest of the field to close on RV in the championship points chase.
Well, that opportunity existed right up until the moment when RV1 turned up for the opening ceremonies with the intention of lining up for heat race number one, having not ridden a single lap around the track!
Imagine having to learn a track, let alone a supercross track as tough and as technical as the Toronto circuit, under race conditions as well as fighting for a top four position in order to qualify for a Main Event.
It was pretty bad ass in itself that RV even considered to do this, but even more so when – eventually through the semi race – Villopoto actually qualified for the Main Event only having ridden a handful of laps around the tricky circuit.
Despite this, it was still quite obvious that Villopoto was not riding like himself and that the opportunity to capitalise still very much existed. The question being: Who was going to make the most of it?
As the 450 Main Event kicked off it looked as though either Ken Roczen or Justin Barcia were going to make the most of the misfortune of Villopoto as they stretched away with the early lead.
Although RV1 did in fact sit up front early in third position, with Dungey, Brayton and the rest of the pack – of which James Stewart was buried in – hot on his heels.
As the early laps continued two things became clear – firstly Ryan Villopoto was not going to be able to keep up the pace at the front of the field as he slowly but surely slipped back through the ranks. And secondly the man to watch on track was the charging James Stewart as he climbed his way up through the field.
It was at about the halfway point of the race as Justin Barcia led the way followed by Roczen, Dungey and Stewart, who had now worked his way up to fourth, when it became clear that we were about to witness something special. Having started the race way down the order James Stewart had now locked his sights on to the three guys directly ahead of him, Dungey, Roczen and Barcia.
If there was ever any doubt that JS7 is one of the greatest riders of all time, then that was vanquished on Saturday night. On a track that was so technical and tricky that three of the best motocross riders on the planet – Barcia, Roczen and Dungey – struggled to conquer, James Stewart was able to absolutely demolish not only his competitors but the track as he found lines and made leaps that no one else on track could even fathom. There is no doubt that James Stewart is the most skilled and talented rider to ever swing a leg over a dirt bike.
As Stewart made everyone else on the track look like your average weekend warrior he made moves on Dungey, Roczen and Barcia to find himself in the first place position as the race came to a close. It was an absolutely dominating ride for JS7 as he crossed the line to take his 49th career supercross win to become the second best supercross rider in human history (well if you just look at the number of Main Event wins anyway).
That performance on Saturday night proved that James still has what it takes to dominate and I would not be surprised to see a few more rides such as this and possibly another title to add to the collection before this guy hangs up his boots for good…
This dominating ride from Stewart was not the only championship worthy ride to take place in Saturday’s Main Event. As despite being ill and only having a very limited amount of track time Ryan Villopoto was still able to finish in sixth position. Limiting any damage that Dungey, Stewart and co could have made to essentially nil.
It’s determined and gutsy rides such as this from RV that will see him become a champion again and again, even on his worst day Ryan Villopoto is still the sixth best supercross rider in the world. Let’s see how he fairs in St. Loius!