— AMA Monster Energy Supercross – Round 16 – Salt Lake City
— By Darren Smart
450 Class Report: All of the talk in the 450 class hovered around the fact that if Davi Millsaps and Ryan Dungey wanted to keep the championship alive through to the final round at Las Vegas they needed to beat the defending champion Ryan Villopoto in the main event.
The Salt Lake City track had a dodgy first corner (track builders aren’t getting any sharper) so if something was going to go pear shaped this was definitely the place but fortunately all three of the championship hopefuls got out of there up-right with Dungey sneaking around the inside to take the lead from Villopoto, Trey Canard, Justin Brayton and Millsaps.
For some reason Dungey left the door wide open for Villopoto to block pass him for the lead on the third corner while Millsaps blitzed the super tough whoop section to blow by Canard and Brayton then a lap later did the same to Dungey to move into second place.
By then Villopoto had pulled out to a four second lead but Millsaps kept chipping away and with seven laps remaining Millsaps and Dungey were right on the back wheel of Villopoto and from there till the checkered flag the racing was fascinating with all three riders throwing caution to the wind as they tried to gain an advantage on the other two.
No matter what was thrown at him there was no cracking Villopoto’s poise, the defending champion kept his head down and took home the race win and his third consecutive AMA Supercross Championship, a feat only accomplished by Bob Hannah, Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael.
“It’s unreal,” said Villopoto after winning his ninth main event for the season. “It was a crazy race and the track was really technical. Any little mistake would make it anyone’s game. We started the season off really rough and had a lot of stepping stones to overcome, but we did it as a team and we did it well.”
Millsaps is already looking forward to next year. “I gave it everything I had. I seriously had nothing left in me when I crossed that finish line. I was so happy that it was checkers. Villopoto ran a good last half of the season and I ran a bad one. But it was a great run. It was really fun racing against those guys. Definitely congratulations to him. He rode like a champion. But it was a learning year for me. I’ve never been in the front, never led the points, let alone had this many podiums and been in the front as much as I have. All in all it’s been a good season so far and I’m definitely looking forward to next year.”
And so is Dungey. “Yeah, we were close, but that intensity is high, and I think we were all feeling it at that point. I was trying to get Davi to get to Ryan, but he was tough, he’s been tough all season. It’s been great racing with those guys, we all want to win a title, but we have a lot to be thankful for. We have Vegas coming up, we’ll try to put in a nice end to our season, and then we have outdoors coming up. The field is more stacked than ever, and everyone is pushing the pace harder than ever, and it’s good to fight for it like that. Hopefully we’ll get a championship next year.”
Chad Reed had a shocker of a night after having to go to the LCQ (which he won) leaving him with the outside gate pick. Reed was almost dead last going through the first two turns before setting his sights on a top ten which is where the Aussie ended up, 10th.
450SX Round 14 Results: 1. Ryan Villopoto Kaw. 2. Davi Millsaps Suz. 3. Ryan Dungey KTM. 4. Trey Canard Hon. 5. Justin Barcia Hon. 6. Justin Brayton Yam. 7. Josh Hill Suz. 8. Andrew Short KTM. 9. Weston Peick Suz. 10. Chad Reed Hon. 11. Broc Tickle Suz. 12. Ben LaMay Yam. 13. Jake Weimer Kaw. 14. Robby Kiniry Yam. 15. Phil Nicoletti Yam. 16. Vince Friese Hon. 17. Chris Blose Yam. 18. Cody Gilmore Kaw. 19. Adam Enticknap Hon. 20. Kyle Partridge Hon.
450SX Championship points after round 16 of 17: 1. Ryan Villopoto 346pts. 2. Davi Millsaps 318pts Suz. 3. Ryan Dungey 315pts KTM. 4. Justin Barcia 261pts Hon. 5. Chad Reed 224pts Hon. 6. Trey Canard 220pts Hon. 7. Andrew Short 202pts KTM. 8. Justin Brayton 177pts Yam. 9. James Stewart 174pts Suz. 10. Broc Tickle 165pts Suz. 11. Matt Goerke 139pts KTM. 12. Jake Weimer 139pts Kaw. 13. Mike Alessi 107pts Suz. 14. Weston Peick 91pts Suz. 15. Josh Hill 86pts Suz. 16. Robby Kiniry 57pts Yam. 17. Eli Tomac 52pts Hon. 18. Phil Nicoletti 48pts Yam. 19. Vince Friese 45pts Hon. 20. Chris Blose 44pts Yam.
250SX Class Report: I don’t even know where to start with this one. Leading by 20 points going into Salt Lake City it was Ken Roczen’s championship but his inexperience may end up costing him the championship and here’s why. The German got a bad start in heat race and the talking point all day was about the poor design of the opening two corners yet Roczen threw himself deep into a pack of riders who were all over the place in turn two and guess who was left on the ground? The championship leader!
Roczen got going quickly then as he moved through packed he had to avoid a fallen rider in the whoop section causing his KTM to spew sideways and end up off the track then with four laps remaining Roczen amazingly pulled out of the race to get ready for the LCQ.
This move would eventually cost Roczen any chance of making the main event because if you don’t finish your heat you get the final pick of the gate so Roczen was the second rider from the farthest outside on the short start straight into a very tight left hand hairpin.
When Roczen blasted out of the gate he again dove deep into the corner only to be taken out by a heap of riders that had out-braked themselves from the inside. Remember, Ken is four or five seconds a lap faster than the riders in the LCQ, he could have let them all go, survived the first corner and still won the race but the multi rider crash had the former World Motocross Champion cross the line in third, just a few bike lengths behind the final transfer place. Kenny would love to go back and do those races again I am sure.
What this meant was that defending champion Eli Tomac had the opportunity to not only erase the 20 point deficit he had to Roczen and get a five point buffer and after sliding into second place to his teammate Zach Osborne on the opening lap of the main event it was a fair bet that Eli was about to take the championship points lead back.
Well, nothing could be farther from what went down. It was obvious that the Geico Honda riders were having trouble with the whoops section with Osborne and Tomac getting swamped lap after lap through that section and beyrace end Eli managed to garner sixth place while Osborne finished back in 12th.
Out front Jason Anderson emulated his 450 class teammate Davi Millsaps by blitzing the whoops lap after lap on the Rockstar Suzuki to take his first supercross win while Cole Seeley and Martin Davalos filled the podium positions ahead of Malcolm Stewart who not only stayed on long enough to win his heat he also scored his best finish for the season.
Anderson was obviously happy to finally get the win. “This feels awesome, definitely got a monkey off the back with that one. I feel like all year I’ve been good enough to be in the position to get a win, I just haven’t put it together. And putting it together is something I pulled off tonight and I’m stoked.”
Tomac had little to say about his night. ”I guess I kind of lucked out with Kenny not making the main because the way I was riding, it would’ve been over tonight anyways. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I could’ve easily been in the lead, but five points is the difference between first and third, and it can easily look like that.”
So as we hit Vegas both of the 250SX championship leader have a five point buffer over their closest rival and there isn’t one of the Pro-Circuit Kawasaki boys in contention. Mitch will be pissed…..
250SX East Round 8 Results: 1. Jason Anderson Suz. 2. Cole Seely Hon. 3. Martin Davalos Kaw. 4. Malcolm Stewart KTM. 5. Christian Craig Hon. 6. Eli Tomac Hon. 7. Ryan Sipes Suz. 8. Tyla Rattray Kaw. 9. Joey Savatgy KTM. 10. Travis Baker Yam. 11. Kyle Cunningham Yam. 12. Zach Osborne Hon. 13. Dakota Tedder Kaw. 14. Topher Ingalls Hon. 15. Scott Champion Hon. 16. Tyler Bereman Kaw. 17. Casey Hinson Hon. 18. Ross Johnson Hon. 19. Austin Politelli Hon. 20. Bracken Hall Hon.
250SX West Region Point Standings after rounds 8 of 9: 1. Ken Roczen 163pts KTM. 2. Eli Tomac 158pts Hon. 3. Cole Seely 135pts Hon. 4. Jason Anderson 124pts Suz. 5. Martin Davalos 114pts Kaw. 6. Zach Osborne 111pts Hon. 7. Kyle Cunningham 96pts Yam. 8. Christian Craig 87pts Hon. 9. Tyla Rattray 87pts Kaw. 10. Joey Savatgy 87pts KTM. 11. Malcolm Stewart 74pts KTM. 12. Austin Politelli 74pts Hon. 13. Travis Baker 70pts Yam. 14. Jessy Nelson 60pts Hon. 15. Ryan Sipes 59pts Suz.
250SX East Championship points after rounds 7 of 8: 1. Wil Hahn 178. 2. Marvin Musquin 173.3. Blake Wharton 153. 4. Vince Friese 103. 5. Gavin Faith 100. 6. Dean Wilson 87. 7. Cole Thompson 83. 8. Kyle Peters 78. 9. Jeremy Martin 71. 10. Justin Hill 68. 11. Lance Vincent 66. 12. James Decotis 66. 13. AJ Catanzaro 62. 14. Mitch Oldenburg 61. 15. Peter Larsen 54. 16. Jackson Richardson 42. 17. Levi Kilbarger 40. 18. Steven Clarke 39. 19. Zach Bell 37. 20. Zack Freeberg 36.