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AMAMX – James Stewart goes 1-1 at Hangtown

4 years ago

After three seasons away from the Nationals, Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart made a memorable return to action at Hangtown for the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship opener, sweeping the day’s motos en route to the 450 Class win. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett raced to his second straight overall victory at Hangtown, winning both motos.

Stewart grabbed the holeshot in the day’s opening moto, but was forced to battle with Team Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short for the lead early. Despite the challenge, Stewart assumed the top spot prior to the completion of the opening lap and never looked back.

In Moto 2, Stewart secured another strong start, following MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi out of the gate. Stewart engaged in a battle with both Alessi and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey for the first couple laps, but made an impressive move to pass both riders and take over the lead. Dungey paced Stewart throughout the moto, but lapped traffic ultimately separated the two, allowing Stewart to pull away.

“(Today) went better than I thought,” said Stewart. “I thought I’d come and struggle a bit, which I did a little. This (season) is one of those things where you continue to build and we got a good start on it. I’m just here to enjoy it. I didn’t come to be the fastest; I came to learn the motorcycle. Everything is new. We’ve got a long way to go. I’ve been away for a while, but I don’t realize how much I miss it till I’m gone.”

Stewart made headlines coming into the season by signing with Yoshimura Suzuki just two weeks ago, committing to compete in Lucas Oil Motocross. In his last full-time season of Nationals competition back in 2008, Stewart claimed the premier class championship by becoming the second rider in history to compile a perfect season, winning all 24 motos to join Ricky Carmichael.

The 250 Class was set to be a showcase of the rising stars of the sport with one of the most talented and accomplished fields in history. Baggett took advantage of the opportunity, posting a pair of impressive rides in the motos.

In Moto 1, Baggett placed himself into fifth on the opening lap and proceeded to gradually work his way forward. Out front, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen and GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia provided a compelling battle for the fans, pacing one another and trading positions throughout the moto. As they battled, Baggett closed the gap and made a last-lap pass on Roczen for the moto win.

In Moto 2, Baggett position himself behind early leader Barcia and set himself up for a definitive pass to seal the win. After a few laps, he worked past Barcia and pulled away for the remainder of the moto for another Hangtown victory.

“I couldn’t expect anything else,” said Baggett. “(Sweeping the motos) is beyond what I came in expecting to do. I just wanted to be on the box. Every weekend I don’t want to ask for too much. I want to be in the points one way or the other with two rounds to go. I couldn’t even tell you what was going on in the first moto. I honestly was just bouncing around. I knew in the second moto if I stayed on (Barcia’s) rear wheel I could make a pass. The opportunity came and I took advantage of it.”

In the Women’s Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jessica Patterson relied on consistency to take the overall win, grabbing a pair of runner-up finishes to outlast Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Ashley Fiolek in second (1-5) and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Tarah Gieger, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in third (3-3).

The 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next week, with round two from Freestone Raceway in Wortham, Texas and the Freestone National on Saturday, May 26.

Hangtown 450 Class (Moto Finish)

1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (3-2)
3. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki (7-3)
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda (5-4)
5. Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki (4-5)
6. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki (6-7)
7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha (2-14)
8. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (10-6)
9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (9-8)
10. Nico Izzi, Rochester, Mich., Yamaha (11-10)

Hangtown 450 Class Championship Standings

1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 50
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 42
3. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 34
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 34
5. Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki, 34
6. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki, 29
7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha, 29
8. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 26
9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki, 25
10. Nico Izzi, Rochester, Mich., Yamaha, 21

Hangtown 250 Class (Moto Finish)

1. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (1-1)
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (3-2)
3. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM (2-3)
4. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki (6-5)
5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (4-10)
6. Martin Davalos, Quito, Ecuador, Suzuki (14-4)
7. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Yamaha (9-8)
8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki (8-9)
9. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (5-14)
10. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda (7-13)

Hangtown 250 Class Championship Standings

1. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 50
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 42
3. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM, 42
4. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 31
5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 29
6. Martin Davalos, Quito, Ecuador, Suzuki, 25
7. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Yamaha, 25
8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 25
9. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM, 23
10. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 22

Hangtown WMX Class (Moto Finish)

1. Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki (2-2)
2. Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda (1-5)
3. Tarah Gieger, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico., Honda (3-3)
4. Meghan Rutledge, New South Wales, Australia, Kawasaki (8-1)
5. Sayaka Kaneshiro, Osaka, Japan, Honda (5-4)
6. Kasie Creson, Vallejo, Calif., Honda (6-6)
7. Mariana Balbi, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Honda (7-8)
8. Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM (11-9)
9. Lindsey Palmer, Conifer, Colo., Kawasaki (10-11)
10. Hailey Larson, Green Brae, Calif., Honda (9-13)

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