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Supercross returns to Anaheim on Saturday

The 17-race series has four winners through its first four races as it returns to Angel Stadium for the second and final time this season.

February 03, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • James Stewart celebrates a victory in Anaheim while soaring over a triple jump.
James Stewart celebrates a victory in Anaheim while soaring over a triple… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Four races. Four winners. All former champions.

Parity prevails among supercross racing's top riders as the series makes its second and final season stop at Angel Stadium on Saturday night.

After reigning champion Ryan Villopoto won the season opener Jan. 7 at Angel Stadium, 2010 champion Ryan Dungey won in Phoenix, two-time champ Chad Reed captured the Dodger Stadium race and another two-time title winner, James Stewart, won last weekend in Oakland.

The sport knew it had one of the deepest fields in history this year, but the early results still have surprised. The last time there were four different winners through four races was in 1976, before any of the current top riders was born.

As a result, all four are in contention again for this year's championship in the 17-race Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, the stadium version of motocross, or off-road motorcycle racing.

Dungey and Reed are tied for the lead with 85 points each, while Villopoto is only two points behind and Stewart — who posted mostly mediocre finishes in the first three races — is now 12 points behind.

"We'll just keep building from here," Stewart said. "It was a rough three weeks for us but it was definitely good to come back at Oakland and get a victory."

Stewart's win in Oakland was his first since the 26-year-old Floridian moved this year to the Yamaha motorcycle team at Joe Gibbs Racing of NASCAR fame.

Stewart also will have extra incentive Saturday night. He's currently tied for the most career wins in Anaheim, eight, with seven-time supercross champion Jeremy McGrath and another victory would give Stewart the record outright.

McGrath also holds the career record for total supercross wins, 72, followed by Ricky Carmichael's 48 and Stewart's 43.

Villopoto, meanwhile, hopes for a repeat of his Anaheim win last month, when the 23-year-old Kawasaki rider from the Seattle area cruised to a 12-second victory over the second-place Reed.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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