Monster Energy Supercross’ return to Detroit recalled the popular history of the event, thanks to the return of a run into the stands inside Ford Field. In the end, James Stewart raced to his third win in the Motor City and his third win of the 2014 season while the championship picture remained heavily in Ryan Villopoto’s favor.
Each week, The Holeshot will provide 22 takeaways – a full starting gate – from the most recent round of action.
1. The track inside Ford Field continued the recent trend of highly technical and challenging layouts. With high speeds and big rhythm lanes, any mistake would have huge consequences, so riders showed patience throughout the evening.
2. While the track design was a little old school, thanks to its section in the stands, many riders commented that the layout resulted in one really fast line, which ultimately left few passing opportunities and placed a huge emphasis on the start.
3. Following his dominant performance, you can’t help but wonder what could have been this season for Stewart. He’s been exceptionally fast all year but has caught a few bad breaks. He has the ability to go on a run, but time simply isn’t on his side. Barring anything catastrophic for Villopoto, the 49-point deficit can’t realistically be overcome in six races.
4. The return to the top step of the podium also meant Stewart moved into a tie with Ricky Carmichael for second on the all-time wins list. With Villopoto’s recent dominance and Stewart’s last title triumph in 2009, some might have forgotten how much he’s accomplished in his career. Now he sits just one win away from cementing himself behind McGrath’s 72-win record, one he had aspired to break not too long ago.
5. Villopoto almost unassumingly grabbed a runner-up finish in Detroit and his cushion in the standings is already paying off. While he may have lost some ground to Stewart, he gained ground on Ryan Dungey, who sits second in the standings. Villopoto didn’t need to push the limits in Detroit and he still walked away with more momentum than when he entered.
6. With Dungey rounding out the podium in third he continued his streak of consistency, and now has five straight finishes on the box. He and Villopoto each have seven podium finishes this season and if not for Dungey’s DNF at Anaheim 3, we’d be looking at a much different championship battle.
7. While all things seem to be going Dungey’s way right now, Ken Roczen has hit a rough patch in his rookie season. Roczen experienced a fluke bike problem in Detroit that forced him to finish outside the top 15 for the second time in three weeks. Now he’s fallen to fourth in the standings and is in desperate need of some good results.
8. An interesting story that isn’t getting a lot of attention is the rise of Andrew Short in recent weeks. Short’s career has been defined by his ability to always finish strong. He was a fixture in title fights for several years thanks to his solid consistency and even though he’s in the later stages of his career, Short is as good as ever. After a season-best fifth place in Daytona, Short one-upped himself with a fourth-place finish in Detroit. He is still one of just three riders to finish inside the top 10 at every round.
9. Like Short, Broc Tickle is starting to come into his own as well. Confidence is brimming for Tickle and he’s showing the true potential of an RCH squad that could very well be thrust into the spotlight next year once free agent riders start signing their new contracts. Tickle is no doubt racing for his spot on a good team next season and he picked the perfect time to start stepping up his game.
10. Justin Barcia has shown way too much speed this season to not have a legitimate battle for the win to fall back on. Barcia seems to excel in his heat races and compete at the level we’ve come to expect, but he is still battling to put it all together for the main event. You’ve got to think he’ll get it all figured out at some point.
11. In his third start for TwoTwo Motorsports, Dean Wilson put himself back into the hunt at the front of the field. However, he once again faded heavily in the late stages of the main event and ultimately dropped out of the top 10. Arm pump continues to plague Wilson this season and it’s the only thing that’s holding him back from becoming a surefire breakout rider on the big bike.
12. The 250SX Class continued to serve as Adam Cianciarulo’s rapid rise to stardom. AC continues to live up to the hype and has now won three of five races this season. He’s finished no worse than second and combined with the hard luck of his teammate in Detroit, Cianciarulo is now in full control of his own championship destiny.
13. Martin Davalos suffered a big blow to his title hopes on what was undoubtedly his worst day of the season. A big get off in practice set him back in the night show, and while he managed to overcome the affects of the crash and assert himself out front, Davalos hit the deck a couple more times in the main event but still managed to finish sixth. His resiliency is admirable, but he lost a lot of ground to Cianciarulo. The veteran will need to seize the moment from here on out.
14. Despite his tough luck, Davalos did lead the pack early in the main event and put himself in a position to win. Even with Cianciarulo’s success, Davalos is the only rider to lead at least one lap in every main event this season.
15. Detroit was the first time this season that Pro Circuit Kawasaki didn’t appear invincible. Justin Bogle was the best he’s been all season on the GEICO Honda and actually pressured Cianciarulo for the lead for a big chunk of the main event. It might be too early to say the performance gap has closed a bit, but it will be an intriguing storyline to watch.
16. While it wasn’t pretty, Blake Baggett backed up his Daytona win with a podium effort. Baggett had to battle through the field to get on the box and his performance was even more impressive considering how difficult it was to pass on the track. Now Baggett is on Davalos’ heels in the standings.
17. It’s been a slow start to the season for Kyle Cunningham, his first with MotoConcepts, but he rode to his potential in Detroit and posted a season-best fourth-place finish. Cunningham’s experience is a huge asset and this could be the beginning of more performances like this.
18. The same could be said for Matt Lemoine, who also posted his best finish of the season in Detroit in fifth. Lemoine has slowly built momentum this season and this could be the start of more runs up front.
19. The Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has put two riders on the podium at every round in the East Region, but Detroit signified the first time it didn’t go 1-2. The squad is amassing a historic season for itself despite its status as the most successful team in history. One of its three riders has topped the practice charts at every round, won every heat race, and every main event. Additionally, the lineup is in position to finish 1-2-3 in the championship. All uncharted territory for Pro Circuit.
20. Pro Circuit is also in the midst of an eight-race winning streak in the 250SX Class. While its fortunes out west weren’t what the team had hoped for, it’s still managed to put two of its three riders on top of the podium and the momentum from the triumphant efforts of Wilson and Justin Hill have carried over to the east.
21. The rumor mill surrounding the 2015 season is already running at full steam even though there’s still five months of racing remaining this season as the outdoor nationals loom this summer. While Stewart has been the only one to confirm his extension at Yoshimura Suzuki, there will no doubt be some moving and shaking with many of the sport’s biggest names going to new teams and riding new brands of bikes.
22. As the season inches closer to its end, there is some anticipation building for the return of a couple big name riders that have been injured all season. Trey Canard could be mere days away from making his debut after suffering a broken arm last November, while Davi Millsaps is counting down the weeks before he’s back from a torn ACL. Another pair of riders on the mend are Eli Tomac, who re-aggravated his shoulder in Daytona and missed Detroit, and Ivan Tedesco, who smashed his finger in Daytona and also sat idle in Detroit.