Las Vegas, Nevada
Round 16 of 16

By John Basher

Chad Reed rolled snake eyes in Las Vegas. The Australian became the first foreign rider to win the AMA 250 Supercross championship since the great Jean-Michel Bayle completed the feat over a decade ago. Yet while Reed has been laying wood to Kevin Windham and company nearly all year long, lady luck certainly wasn?t on ?Speedy Reedy?s? side these past two weeks. Just one week prior to the season finale, Reed was penalized 25 points for illegal fuel usage. Even with the penalty, Chad was still head-and-shoulders above Kevin Windham for the points lead, plus there was an outside chance that the AMA would refute the penalty. That chance was shattered on Friday when the AMA released a statement denying the fuel penalty appeal.

It?s not good to have bad luck, especially in Las Vegas. But Reed still had several options in playing his cards right and sealing up the championship. With the Yamaha rider being ever consistent throughout the 16-round series, the chance of Reed finishing outside the top eight in Vegas and losing the championship would have been preposterous. He must have thought so too, because as Saturday night began to unfold it became all too clear that he was going to be the 2004 supercross champ. It wasn?t a ?wham, bam, thank you ma?am? type of ride where he set the track ablaze; instead it was a conservative ride that left him very lonely in second place for the night. That second place finish gave him a nine-point cushion over Windham for the title.

Or was it a conservative ride? Skeptics are quick to point out that Las Vegas was the second straight race that Reed has lost since the illegal fuel ruling occurred and that the bike?s performance is slowed due to the ‘legal gas.’ That idea can pretty much be tossed out the window, because Reed?s bike was fuel tested after San Francisco when he won hands down and the fuel passed the AMA?s standards. Chad Reed proved to be the most consistent rider on the track and won the title. As for the fuel controversy, we might not ever know what truly happened. Maybe someone should ask Elvis Presley, because ‘the king’ was certainly in the house. In any event, congratulations to Chad Reed for winning his first title stateside.

Maybe Kevin Windham wishes that he hadn?t started off the season with a hiccup at Anaheim I, or that he shouldn?t have cartwheeled through the whoops at San Francisco. One thing?s for sure though, K-Dub rode with sheer heart and determination all season long and proved that he is back and better than ever. Sure he didn?t win the supercross title, but has his sights set on winning during the dog days of summer and wrapping up his first 250 title when the Nationals come to an end at Glen Helen in September.

Who would have thought that James Stewart would have been felt some heat in probably his last ever 125 supercross race? Forget feeling the heat to perform, instead Bubba felt heat in the form of Stephane Roncada during the opening laps of the 125 main. Roncada, a rider who hasn?t been far from the spotlight in the 125 West but certainly hasn?t won this season, was making it difficult on Stewart. James even looked a little dismayed that someone was running his pace, and didn?t creep very far away from Roncada the entire race. Stephane Roncada, where have you been all season long?

Congratulations are also in order for the likeable Heath Voss. The Mach 1/Yamaha rider also reached a major milestone in his career at Las Vegas. Voss wrapped up the World Supercross title by making the main event and had a check handed to him for $100,000 and the number one plate. Heath continually improved on the season and came from behind in the point standings to overtake Damon Huffman for the title. Some factory teams should definitely look at Voss to fill an empty void come the end of the season.

With the supercross season over, it?s time to head outdoors. The Nationals begin on May 16th at Hangtown, CA, so be sure to watch the boys of summer do battle.

125 East/West Shootout:
1. James Stewart – Kaw
2. Stephane Roncada – Kaw
3. Nathan Ramsey – Hon
4. Ivan Tedesco – Kaw
5. Davi Millsaps – Suz
6. Broc Hepler – Suz
7. Joshua Hansen – Yam
8. Danny Smith – Yam
9. Troy Adams – Kaw
10. Brock Sellards ? Yam

250 Race Results:
1. Kevin Windham – Hon
2. Chad Reed – Yam
3. Mike LaRocco – Hon
4. David Vuillemin – Yam
5. Nick Wey – Suz
6. Sean Hamblin – Suz
7. Heath Voss – Yam
8. Damon Huffman – Hon
9. Craig Anderson – Hon
10. Keith Johnson ? Yam

250 Final Standings:
1. Chad Reed – 355
2. Kevin Windham – 346
3. Mike LaRocco – 310
4. David Vuillemin – 271
5. Nick Wey – 204
6. Michael Byrne – 201
7. Heath Voss – 194
8. Sean Hamblin – 170
9. Damon Huffman – 158
10. Tyler Evans – 114

250 World Supercross Standings:
1. Heath Voss – 346
2. Damon Huffman – 322
3. Tyler Evans – 276
4. Ryan Clark – 230
5. Grant Langston – 228
6. Keith Johnson – 178


Comments are closed.