Stewart happy despite late race mistake at Minneapolis

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Malcolm Stewart extended his top-five streak to six-in-a-row on Saturday with another podium-worthy performance at Round 7 of the AMA Supercross Championship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scoring his first heat-win of the season, along with fourth in the Main Event, Stewart’s momentum continues to grow as he now climbs into third in the early 450SX Championship standings.

Additionally, 250SX riders RJ Hampshire and Stilez Robertson had a successful night at the opening round of the Eastern Regional Championship, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.

Powering his FC 450 Rockstar Edition into fourth off the start, Stewart came out swinging in 450SX Heat 2. He moved into second within a couple laps, charging his way into the lead with a clean pass on lap three. With a steady performance all the way to the checkers, Stewart secured his second-career heat-race win.

In the Main Event, Stewart was fourth off the line and he battled just outside of podium contention early on before making his move into third halfway into the race. While running third, Stewart tucked the front-end of the bike in a corner after the triple, costing him two positions late in the race. Re-mounting in fifth, he put on a late-race charge to overtake fourth with one lap to go, narrowly missing the podium once again in fourth.

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“It was a good day today,” Stewart said. “I got my first heat-race win of the year, I’m really thankful for that one, and I felt real good all day. I got a really good start in the main and I felt like I was adapting to the track. I was riding my own race and I just made a big mistake with a few minutes to go, but that’s part of racing. I’m happy though, it’s another top-five and we were so close again! We’re going to take what we’ve learned from this race and move forward.”

Dean Wilson got off to a top-10 start in 450SX Heat 2 and he held ninth for a majority of the race. Capitalizing on a competitor’s mistake, Wilson overtook seventh late in the race and he battled to the end, ultimately finishing eighth.

In the 450SX Main Event, Wilson had a mid-pack start and he worked his way into 10th. He battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the race, powering his way back into 11th with two laps remaining to finish just outside the top-10 on the night.

“The result is not what we want but I’m doing my best,” Wilson said. “In the Main Event, I didn’t have a great start but I just pushed as much as I could. Ninth-place was in sight and I pushed to the checkered and that’s all I had to give tonight. I just have to keep pushing and get that start and I know I can be inside the top-seven.”

In the 250SX division, team rider RJ Hampshire had a solid start to the Eastern Regional Championship. In Heat 2, Hampshire took third out of the gate and stayed on the heels of the top two riders for the first few laps. Patiently waiting for an opportune moment, Hampshire made the pass for second on lap three and he followed the leader closely until the last lap, overtaking the lead just before the checkers.

In the Main Event, Hampshire grabbed a third-place start but immediately got hung up and lost a position on lap one. He held onto fourth for the first half of the race before engaging in battle for fifth. Making a push late in the race, Hampshire ultimately came away with a fifth-place finish at the opening round.

“We’re out of here pretty healthy and I feel good on the bike,” Hampshire said. “All three of us were just kind of riding and we couldn’t really make up any time in the main. They were pulling me in the whoops and then I was gaining it back everywhere else. The mid-part of the main was my downfall, I had to back it down and figure some things out for five or six laps. I’m stoked on where we’re at and I know we can make a lot of progress moving forward.”

After recovering from off-season injuries, Stilez Robertson came into the opening round with less time on the bike than he came away with a solid Round 1 result. With a fourth-place start in 250SX Heat 1, he swapped between third and fourth a few times before ultimately crossing the line in third. In the 250SX Main, Robertson grabbed a sixth-place start and he maintained that position for most of the race. Despite a last-lap pass dropping him to seventh, Robertson put forth a hard-fought effort to secure a top-10 finish in his first race back.

“In the Main Event, I got a pretty good start and just tried to stay with those guys as long as we could,” Robertson said. “A little bit of off-the-bike time definitely shined through but it is what it is, we’re just going to try and get better every weekend and get back to where we belong.”

Words: Husqvarna

Pic: Align Media