Runaway points leader Ryan Dungey was on the verge of greatness in Houston, a third or better irrespective of his rivals results would bring him a second title and KTM a much sought after first Supercross title, perhaps the most sought after and difficult series to win in the world considering the years of domination by the factory Japanese makes.
Dungey got an average start in the main event as Cole Seely nicked the lead from the “worlds best starter” Andrew Short who somehow manages to holeshot just about every race recently! So this was not going to be easy for the champion elect.
Dungey has not had to battle much this year, his starts and first laps have been so consistently impressive, but he was showing in the early laps, the fight, aggressiveness and confidence that the great champions have, making good moves and making them stick and not making mistakes, a trait all his rivals have had, he was in the top 8 by lap 4.
Up front Seely was away on his HRC Honda with Chad Reed on the Discount Tire Kawasaki sniffing a podium too in third behind Short. Returning after injury here was Justin Barcia for JGR Yamaha but he behind his team-mate Weston Peick, another fast starter at the moment, great to see the aggressive youngster back though.
Then a bit of hesitation for Dungey, he got mired in a battle with Barcia and Davi Millsaps, maybe a little pre-title nerves coming through! Another rider making good progress and maintaining his recent form was Jason Anderson for Rockstar Husqvarna, he was into third now as Reed moved away in second. Sadly Reed, yet again was unlucky, Anderson closed quickly and made a rather rash move up the inside in a tight bend when there was no room and Reed had the line covered, the pair went down and Reed was totally blameless but very unlucky again.
Just past half distance and Dungey, through others errors and rash moves it has to be said was nearly into the third place he needed to win the title, he was in a battle with Short and Reed’s team-mate Josh Grant, and looked likely to be able to pass them. He did, and moved away swiftly as the cream rose to the top as usual and Dungey, Seely and Eli Tomac filled the top positions as they have done so often this year.
So a double dose of deserved moments. Firstly for Cole Seely, by far the most impressive rider this year other than Dungey, his speed, consistency and ability to learn mark him out as a future champion. This is surely the first Supercross win of many, an exciting prospect for Honda and proof that you don’t have to be massively aggressive and spectacular in the lower classes or in the main class to achieve your goals.
And what can we say about Ryan Dungey and Red Bull KTM, a total team effort from the Austrian concern, a new bike that suited the 2010 champion totally, a reformed rider who has laid to rest the accusations that he was not aggressive enough and not as good or quick as Stewart, Villopoto et al. He had to ride aggressive tonight, and he did, he was the most consistent, the best off the grid to stay in position, kept himself fit and was decisive when necessary.
A thoroughly deserved winner and you get the feeling that this might be a steamroller at the top of a hill here!
The 250 West series made its return at Houston with Cooper Webb leading the points and keen to further improve his lead or even take the title on his Star Yamaha after a dominant series of wins earlier in their season.
The early lead in the final was taken by Shane McElrath on the Troy Lee KTM who had fallen from the lead in in earlier heat, with the two men who had had numerous battles earlier in the year Webb and Pro Circuit Kawasaki man Tyler Bowers in the top four also.
Webb moved quickly past the rather off form Bowers, as did Webb’s team-mate the impressive Aaron Plessinger on another Star Yamaha, while McElrath looked composed and solid out front from second placed rider Matt Bisceglia on the Geico Honda off to an impressive start on this technical circuit in Houston.
Webb was in a position to clinch the West championship from here and was looking to win the title in style as he closed on McElrath’s KTM. The points leader took a couple of attempts to pass Shane and eventually made the move with 6 laps to go. Bowers meantime had dropped like a stone as Bisceglia crashed. His team-mate Malcolm Stewart made some moves into the top four behind Plessinger, looking far more like the rider that won a round earlier in the season.
Webb though did what he has done all year and rode like a total champion, he has dominated the West series and is a deserved champion. He now goes into the final round in Las Vegas to try and take an All Star race against the East series top runners.