by Charles Owens on 03/26/2014
By Paul Savage – TSM Editor @PaulSavageNZ
A looming historical record, a varied & dangerous surface plus a series on the line – it wasn’t enough to slow down the Stewart juggernaut on the weekend in Toronto.
Notching up win number 49, James Stewart came out well and truly on top in what was arguably one of the more exciting, action-packed Supercross nights there’s been.
The Canadian course was as interesting as it was challenging; the circuit featured a split-lane feature, a mixture of hard and loose surface condition, seriously deep ruts and a 75? triple section that was almost Crusty Demons-esque. The lengthy hang-time riders caught as they jumped the section showed just how large the leap really was.
When Justin Barcia stole the holeshot alongside Matt Goerke, Stewart was nowhere to be seen. Normally up front near partners in crime Ryan Villpoto and Ryan Dungey, the Suzuki was more or less invisible.
Slowly but surely, Stewart moved his way forward. Even at lap 10, he still hadn’t broken the top three.
Shortly after the half-way point, Stewart really opened fire on his fellow competitors and etched his way to the front in a well-executed and expertly timed set of maneuvers. Gone were the worrisome traits of excessive speed and a corresponding lack of control – this was precision stuff.
The entire stadium, as well as the three-man commentary team, were clearly impressed by Stewart’s form. It really was something memorable.
Comments such as he [Stewart] was “in a world of his own” and “one of the most, if not the most, skilled rider the sport has ever seen” came from the box that night. Any Supercross regular can tell you those aren’t remarks sounded off regularly.
A clearly thrilled Stewart, who in winning on the night became the rider with the second highest number of Supercross wins ever (49, behind Jeremy McGrath’s 72), said he “passed so many people he couldn’t remember [the finer details of the race]”.
Stewart crossed ahead of Justin Barcia (Honda, 2nd) and Ryan Dungey (KTM, 3rd).
The 250SX class, although smaller in displacement, was equal if not above the 450 equivalent in sheer determination and guts.
17-year-old Adam Cianciarulo crashed out in his main event; he appeared to have aggravated a shoulder injury picked up in practice. Not one easily deterred, Cianciarulo remounted his bike and tried to ride on only to withdraw a minute later.
Fellow Kawasaki man Blake Baggett also hit the deck that night; he misjudged a tabletop leap during which his body position was off, sending him straight over the handlebars onto the flat section.
Honda’s Justin Bogle was the winner on the night. He beat Martin Davalos (2nd, Kawasaki) and Matt Lemoine (3rd, Kawasaki).
Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) leads the 450 points table with 246. Ryan Dungey is second with 221 and James Stewart is running in third with 207 points.
The riders this week move south to the Show Me state. If Stewart shows everyone another win, he could position himself very nicely to seriously eye the top spot.