2014 Las Vegas Monster Energy Supercross
Though Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto clinched his fourth-straight Supercross title last week at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, much is to be decided at this weekend’s season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
A record crowd is once again expected at the final of 17 rounds in 2014 SX as three riders battle for the runner-up position.
Leading the group is Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, who leads Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart by 11 points, and 17 ahead of the other Red Bull KTM pilot, Ken Roczen.
Dungey and Stewart – both former champions – and the rookie of Germany, Roczen, have all won this season. The battles should be intense at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Stewart will hope to be recouped from his injury at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. On the third lap of the race, Stewart, who had a realistic chance of taking the title from Villopoto, tweaked his knee in a crash. Though not confirmed, his appearance in Vegas in uncertain.
As for Dungey, he didn’t take his usual podium finish at MetLife Stadium, the SX Champion finishing sixth. As for his teammate, though he had the fastest lap in practice, he finished fifth in New Jersey.
All three riders have also won in Las Vegas, helping their chances out. But this three-way battle can easily be interrupted by the Team Honda Muscle Milk duo of Justin Barcia and Trey Canard.
As for Villopoto, he has nothing to worry about. His biggest plan will include not getting injured. The Washington native led all 20 laps in last week’s main event to take his sixth win of the 2014 SX season – the win was also his third straight.
With his title, Villopoto is now the only other rider besides Jeremy McGrath to earn four-straight Supercross titles.
“It’s been an awesome day here at MetLife Stadium,” said Villopoto, who also achieved the 40th win of his 450SX Class career. “We had a little bit of rain, but I couldn’t believe how well the track held up. It feels great to lock in my fourth-consecutive championship. It’s been a hard-fought season with a few ups and downs, but it was obviously my most consistent, so I’m glad to be able to close it out on top.”
The 16 weeks of competition within each of the respective 250SX Class Regional Championships have led to this, one final night in which champions will be crowned and the world will learn which 250SX Class rider is the fastest on the planet. The Eastern and Western Regional Championships are both undecided heading into Las Vegas, Feld Motor Sports says.
Back East, GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle is carrying a surge of momentum into the finale following his second career win in East Rutherford combined with the heartbreak suffered by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. The Kawasaki-mounted duo of Martin Davalos and Blake Baggett both missed the action inside MetLife Stadium following injuries, Feld Motor Sports says.
Davalos was the points leader coming into last weekend but is officially out for Las Vegas, while Baggett sat third and could still come back to line up on the gate Saturday night. As a result, Bogle took over the points lead and now has a 17-point lead over Davalos and a 54-point margin on Baggett and The Factory Metal Works Honda’s Vince Friese, who moved into a tie for third. While Davalos is the only rider still mathematically eligible to win the title, knowing he will not be in action in Las Vegas has essentially secured the title for Bogle, who will likely use the race as a celebratory effort, Feld Motor Sports says.
Out West, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson sits in position to earn his first career title with an eight-point lead over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely, who is also in search of his inaugural championship. Seely brings the momentum into Las Vegas after winning at the West Region’s previous race in Seattle, but Anderson has four wins this season and a 2.13 finishing average. If he maintains the consistency he’s displayed all season, a fourth-place finish for Anderson will secure the title if Seely is able to grab another win. Together, Anderson and Seely have dominated the Western Regional Championship with six combined wins, 11 podiums, and a finish no worse than fifth. Their battle will be in the spotlight in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Feld Motor Sports says.
Following the final Main Events of both the Eastern and Western Regional Championships, the top competitors in each division will round out a 22-rider field to determine who stands above the rest in the annual East/West Shootout. The Shootout has consistently been one of the most anticipated races each season as it serves as the one and only opportunity the two regions come together. The winner walks away with bragging rights as the best 250SX Class rider in Monster Energy Supercross. Previous winners of the East/West Shootout is a who’s who of the sport, including Kevin Windham, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana, James Stewart, Andrew Short, Davi Millsaps, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, and Ken Roczen. Riders who have emerged victorious in this 250SX Class showcase have more often than not gone on to enjoy hugely successful careers, meaning a lot will be on the line this Saturday night, Feld Motor Sports says.
Las Vegas Supercross History
Last season in Las Vegas, Villopoto capped off his dominant third-straight title run with his 10th victory of the 2013 season. In the 250SX Class, Roczen earned his first career title in the Western Regional Championship while GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn did the same in the Eastern Regional Championship. Roczen carried the momentum of his title win into the East/West Shootout, where he emerged victorious.
The first race held in Las Vegas was on March 17, 1990, when Jeff Matiasevich won the 450SX Class on a Kawasaki and Jeremy McGrath won in the 250SX Class, also on a Kawasaki. McGrath, a seven-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion, also holds the all-time win record in both classes at Sam Boyd Stadium with four in the 450SX Class and three in the 250SX Class.
2014 Las Vegas Supercross Season Finale TV Schedule:
The action from Las Vegas kicks off Saturday, LIVE on FOX Sports 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT
2014 Monster Energy Supercross 450SX Class Season Standings (after 17 of 18 rounds):
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 343
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 282
3. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 271
4. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 265
5. Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda, 232
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 207
7. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., Yamaha, 196
8. Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Suzuki, 144
9. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 126
10. Wil Hahn, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 122
2014 Monster Energy Supercross Eastern Regional 250SX Class Season Standings:
1. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 166
2. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Kawasaki, 149
3. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki, 120
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., 120
5. Vince Friese, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Honda, 120
6. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Honda, 109
7. Matthew Lemoine, Pilot Point, Texas, Kawasaki, 90
8. James Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda, 90
9. Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ontario, KTM, 89
10. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 86
2014 Monster Energy Supercross Western Regional 250SX Class Season Standings
1. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM, 178
2. Cole Seely, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda, 170
3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki, 139
4. Dean Wilson, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Kawasaki, 138
5. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 121
6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda, 121
7. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 103
8. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda, 100
9. Shane McElrath, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda, 96
10. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda, 72