Irvine, Calif. – At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto battled to keep his moto win streak alive by finishing 1-1 at the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, Colo. Villopoto has a perfect 100 points after the first two rounds. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray finished in the top 10 for the second week in a row in eighth place, while Dean Wilson followed close behind in 10th overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer overcame a crash to finish 14th. In the 250 class Blake Baggett fought hard to finish fifth and was joined by teammate Martin Davalos in seventh and Justin Hill in 12th.
Following a dominant weekend in Hangtown at Round 1, Villopoto carried that momentum into Colorado. The keys for Villopoto this weekend were patience and confidence. After qualifying first, he did not have the greatest start in the first moto but picked off guys early and began to the study the front-runners. Villopoto watched their lines while sitting in third and was able to move into the lead in the latter part of the 30 minute moto. His 1-1 moto score for the second consecutive week solidifies him as the one to beat this season.
“The team and I are continually working to improve,” said Villopoto. “I had a few spots where I was really making up time on the leaders and ended up taking the lead in the same section both motos. Next week is a brand new track so we will need to be on top of our game to learn the track as quick as possible.”
Baggett did not have the weekend he wanted at Thunder Valley, but when your off-weekends are fifth overall, you’re in a good spot. He rounded the first lap in 28th place and was able to pass nearly half the field to recovered to an impressive ninth place finish. With each passing week, Baggett’s wrist continues to improve and should move him to the front of the pack.
“It just wasn’t my weekend,” said Baggett. “I put myself at a disadvantage by not getting good starts and from there it was an uphill battle. It’s a long season, so we’ll put this one behind us and look forward to next week.”
In the early running of both 450 motos, the KX™450F held the majority of the spots within the top 10 amongst the other manufacturers. Teammates Rattray and Wilson battled each other in both motos with Rattray taking the advantage and finishing 7-10 for eighth overall. Wilson rebounded from last weekend and rounded out the top 10 with his strong 11-9 moto score. Weimer battled just outside the top five in both motos, but misfortune left him with 14th overall.
“The track was really gnarly this weekend,” said Rattray. “I usually don’t like this track, but it got really rough compared to past years and suited my style.”
After a violent crash last weekend at Hangtown, Davalos was looking to prove himself at Thunder Valley. He battled with the top contenders in both motos and finished a respectable seventh overall. Hill made his professional debut with a 10th overall last weekend and fought hard to replicate finishing in 12th.
“This was a building weekend for me,” said Davalos. “I had two decent motos and know where I can improve. I need to latch onto the leaders and run their pace.”
Durham celebrated his birthday on Saturday at Thunder Valley, but not exactly how he would have liked. Unfortunately Durham was still feeling the effects of his crash last weekend and after practice decided to sit the weekend out and recover.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki flew up to Colorado early leading up to race day to ride for the local media, which also gave them the opportunity to test at the higher elevation and get a feel for the track. Thunder Valley sits at nearly 5,500 feet above sea level and the lack of oxygen can have an effect on both the bikes and the body. The riders enjoyed the extra track time and were able to get everything dialed for Saturday.
Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take place at one of two new venues added to the 2013 season. Muddy Creek Raceway will be the host of the Tennessee National June 1st, 2013. Muddy Creek has hosted amateur racing for years, but has been transformed into a national caliber track that should encourage great racing.