LA Supercross: Victory for Villopoto
Dodger Stadium SX Results
Last year at St. Louis Supercross, Ryan Villopoto sustained a broken tibia and fibula. He underwent successful surgery, and began an intense rehabilitation program.
The 22-year old remained dedicated, and hoped to be fully fit for the 2011 Supercross season. And his hard work paid off; the Fortuna, Calif., took the opening round of the 2011 SX season at Anaheim 1, leading 17 of 20 laps. He followed the win with an impressive second last weekend at Phoenix.
Then excitement filled the world of Supercross as the field would compete at the famed Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the first time Saturday. Villopoto immediately showed promise in LA, dominating the second Heat Race, setting the fastest lap.
Villopoto then gracefully regained the Supercross throne at Dodger Stadium, winning the debut race at the same stadium that hosted four Baseball World Series.
Villopoto was joined on the Dodgers SX podium by San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart in second, and reigning champ Ryan Dungey in third. The win was Villopoto’s 10th in his AMA Supercross career.
Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki Supercross) says: "It wasn’t a very good start right off the bat; It started out not looking too good, but after a couple of laps I was able to get around and catch up and put pressure on James then he washed the front end out and I went for the win."
It didn’t look as if Villopto would be the Supercross winner in Heat 1, through. During that heat, Dungey got out front and lead every lap, and was followed by Geico Honda rider Kevin Windham and Two-Two Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed.
The heat went clean for all riders except one, the rookie Trey Canard. The Geico Honda rider crashed on the triple, and his over 200-lbs. CR450F somersaulted, landing on his back. Although the crash appeared horrific, Canard got up, remounted the Honda and rode to the pits.
In Heat 2, Stewart grabbed the holeshot, but washed his front end in turn one, falling back to third. Villopoto got out front, and set the fastest lap of the night, becoming the man to beat. Yamaha riders Justin Brayton and Tommy Hahn finished behind Villopoto Although he was last, Stewart finished the Supercross heat in fourth.
Canard redeemed himself in Last Chance Qualifier; he had a monstrous holeshot, and wasn’t challenged for the entire LCQ, allowing him to start in the main event.
And the excitement was endless in the Supercross main. Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Brett Metcalfe took the holeshot, followed by Dungey and Windham. But Metcalfe went down on Lap 2, giving the lead to Dungey, who was trailed by Windham and Stewart.
Stewart quickly took second from the experienced Windham, and began an intense battle with Dungey for the lead. One place that Stewart completed dominated at the LA SX track was the whoops; Stewart capitalize on his speed in the whoops, and would take the lead from Dungey in the section during lap 4.
Meanwhile behind, Canard moved into third. Although Villopoto started in ninth, he quickly moved into fourth. But a mistake by Canard on Lap 6 would put Villopoto in third.
On Lap 9, Villopoto took Dungey, and immediately started closing in on Stewart. Both Supercross riders began a wheel-to-wheel race, but Stewart maintained the edge, staying ahead of Villopoto. On the following lap, Dungey regained some momentum, and him and Villopoto bumped each other a few times as Stewart remained out front.
But on lap 11, Stewart crashed after wrongly negotiating the right turn after the triple. He fell back to fourth, giving the lead to Villopoto. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider would not be challenged again, and took the win.
Stewart would pass both Canard and Dungey for second with four laps to go, and maintain the position until the checkered flag. Dungey took the final spot on the podium; Canard and Brayton rounded out the top five.
Leaving Dodgers Stadium, Villopoto now has 72 points, He leads Stewart by five points in the 17-round Supercross Championship. Dungey maintains third with 58 points.
The SX field will meet at Oak-Alameda Stadium in Oakland, Calif., next weekend for round 4 of the 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.
2011 Supercross Class Results: Dodger Stadium Los Angeles
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda
5. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C, Yamaha
6. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda
7. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda
8. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
9. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM
10. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha
2011 Supercross Class Season Standings (after round 3)
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 72
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 67
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 58
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 56
5. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda – 48
6. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki – 39
7. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM – 37
8. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C, Yamaha – 36
9. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha – 33
10. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda – 32