Yamaha Factory Racing’s Grant Langston won his first U.S. Open invitational title in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday evening, October 13, while L&M Racing’s Chad Reed came in a close second. The huge results for both 2008 YZ450F riders is especially encouraging with the ’08 World and AMA Supercross seasons just around the corner. For his overall win, Langston collected an impressive $100,000 and earned a key strategic advantage – a heap of well-deserved confidence – before the beginning of the season.
The U.S. Open format featured 20-lap races at MGM Grand Garden Arena on both Friday and Saturday night, plus an exciting “superpole” concept that rewarded the 10 quickest riders during practice with a shot at becoming the top qualifier by posting the quickest qualifying lap. Reed took the superpole both nights and also commanded Friday night’s main event by grabbing the holeshot and leading all the way to the checkered flag, with Langston finishing in second. In doing so Reed appeared well positioned to claim the $250,000 top prize offered to the rider who could win both superpoles, grab both holeshots and take both race wins.
Things didn’t go quite so well on Saturday night as Reed, Langston, Tim Ferry and Andrew Short tangled and fell in the first corner, then spent the rest of the race playing catch-up from the back of the pack. Reed fell twice more in the process and ultimately finished eighth, while Langston managed to climb up to fifth. Though Langston and Reed technically tied with 38 points each for the two nights of racing, Langston collected the overall U.S. Open win due to his better finish in the second race.
“It’s a great way to cap off the 2007 season,” he enthused afterwards. “With this win, together with the momentum of the outdoor championship, I’m looking forward to the Supercross series.” Yamaha Team Manager Jim Perry added, “After the last two weeks of testing the hard work has paid off for the team. It really is a great precursor to the upcoming season.”