Stewart Dominates High Point National

James Stewart has re-signed with the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing squad. (Simon Cudby Photo)
James Stewart drove to a clean sweep in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross competition Saturday at High Point Raceway. (Simon Cudby Photo)
James Stewart drove to a clean sweep in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross competition Saturday at High Point Raceway. (Simon Cudby Photo)

MT. MORRIS, Pa. – The fourth round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship took place on Saturday with the UPMC Sports Medicine High Point National from High Point Raceway and for the first time this season a non-Red Bull KTM rider emerged victorious.

Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart grabbed the 20th win of his 450 Class career with a dominant 1-1 performance. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett posted back-to-back victories by also sweeping the afternoon motos.

A welcomed name grabbed the Holeshot Award in the first 450 Class moto of the day as Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed put himself up front early on with Stewart right on his rear fender. The duo was followed by the three most consistent riders in the series thus far in Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and the Red Bull KTM tandem of Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen.

Reed paced the field for one lap before Stewart made the pass and took control of the race. As Stewart began to pull away, the battle for the remaining two spots on the podium took center stage. Reed did all he could to fend off his younger rivals, but Canard soon slipped by and eventually brought Dungey and Roczen with him.

This three-rider battle was captivating, with Dungey going off the track late in his quest to pass Canard, allowing Roczen to take over the position. Roczen fought his way around Canard with two laps to go and just a short time later Canard went down, allowing Dungey to assume the position. Stewart took the checkered flag by over four seconds, with Roczen in second and Dungey third. Canard finished fourth, while Reed held on for fifth.

It was more of the same from Reed to start the final 450 Class moto, racing to the Holeshot Award once again. However, Reed’s time out front was short-lived this time around as Stewart also got another great start and moved into the lead on the opening lap. A surging Canard, Dungey, and Roczen soon passed Reed, with each rider knowing they needed to track down Stewart.

Canard kept Stewart honest for several laps, bringing Dungey with him and setting up a three-rider battle out front. Roczen wasn’t far behind in fourth and soon began closing in on Dungey. As the leaders approached lappers, Stewart was able to open a little bit of a gap and the battle for second soon came down to Canard, Dungey, and Roczen yet again. Canard stood tough against the KTM duo and Roczen eventually slipped past Dungey for third in the closing minutes, only to give the position back a short time later.

As Dungey made a final push to catch Canard, he lost the front end of his motorcycle and went down, handing third back to Roczen. Stewart wasn’t able to pull away in the same manner in the first moto, but still wrapped up a 1-1 outing by winning just under a second over Canard, with Roczen third and Dungey fourth.

Stewart’s perfect day resulted in his first overall win since the ninth round of the championship a year ago.

“I was excited about coming this weekend because we made some good improvements on the bike,” said Stewart, who has one career win at High Point. “It’s been a while since we’ve had this speed and pace in reserve and I felt comfortable doing it. This track is one of the ones that I’ve had to overcome, but it was nice to get a win. It’s actually the first time I’ve gone 1-1 in a while, so we’ll go back and keep on working and go from here.”