Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto earned his first overall victory of the season with a 1-2 moto result at the third round of the AMA Motocross Championship series at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa. The win is the second of his career in the 450cc class and moved him six points closer to the points leader. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett also grabbed his second career victory in the 250cc class with an impressive come-from-behind 1-1 finish on his Kawasaki KX™250F. Tyla Rattray moved into the points lead with his hard earned 3-2 result for second overall, while Dean Wilson now sits two points back from his teammate after going down in moto two and earning a 2-8 finish on the day for fourth overall. Broc Tickle earned his best moto and overall finish of the season, riding to a 10-4 finish for fifth overall. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer overcame a first turn crash in Moto 2 to come from last to finish with a 7-11 and ninth overall.
A Winner Once Again
While Villopoto had finished on the podium at the first two rounds of the AMA Motocross Championship, he wasn’t going to be happy until he grabbed a win. In Moto 1, he proved he was a championship contender, taking the lead in the opening corners and finishing with his first moto victory. The second moto proved to be challenging with a downpour of rain covering the track just prior to the parade lap. Villopoto rode smart, kept his Kawasaki KX™450F on two wheels, and brought home his first overall victory of the season with a 1-2 moto finish.
“It was definitely good to get the monkey of my back,” said Villopoto. “My last win was in 2009 and I just wanted to get this one out of the way. It’s been good getting back to the East Coast and I’m really excited for the next few rounds.”
Showing that he still has the speed he delivered at Hangtown, Baggett made a comeback from his Round 2 result with a big 1-1 finish in Pennsylvania. In both motos he had to come-from-behind and in both motos he won by over 10 seconds. He overcame a tough start in the first moto and worked his way from 10th to first with four laps to go. In the second moto, a crash on lap seven pushed him back to second, but would regain the lead with three laps to go.
“It wasn’t the easiest day for me, but I felt good in both motos,” said Baggett. “The second moto was a lot tougher with the rain that had come down, but after my crash I was able to get back into a groove really fast. I think that helped me because it’s easy to get frustrated with all the mud that was out there. It’s good to win and it helps make up some points.”
With his 3-2 finish at High Point, Rattray became the third Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider to take over the points lead and the coveted red number plate. He rode smart and consistent in both motos, leaving him with a two-point lead over his teammate Wilson.
“I’m happy to get the points lead, but I’m focused on staying consistent,” said Rattray. “That is often the key to being there at the end and I know I have been riding well. I would like to get another win and I like Budds Creek a lot. Hopefully I can get back on the podium and keep the points lead.”
While Wilson’s weekend didn’t go as planned, he still sits just two points behind the leader Rattray. He came through the pack in the first moto to claim second, but most of his work was in the second moto. While leading, Wilson went down and was outside the top-20, but came back for eighth and fourth overall for the day.
“I am upset with myself because I put myself in position to win, but can’t seem to put the two motos together,” said Wilson. “I know I can do well and I just hope that I can have the same luck at Budds Creek as I did last year.”
Tickle’s goal of improvement showed as he claimed his best finish of the season with the top-five result. His first moto started off slow with a top-20 start, but he eventually worked his way through to 10th. The second moto had him up in the front-pack from the start and would finish the day with a 10-4 for fifth overall.
“I’m happy to be moving in the right direction,” said Tickle. “Obviously I wanted to do better in the first few rounds, but seeing improvement is motivating. I know I can run out front with those guys, but I haven’t been able to show that since my starts haven’t been there. I will keep working to be out front early so I don’t have to come through the pack.”
Never Give Up
After finishing with a solid seventh-place finish in the first moto, Weimer had to dig deep to come back in the second moto. The slippery track claimed Weimer in the first turn, but he kept picking off riders down to the final laps to finish 11th and ninth overall.
“I felt really good in the first moto and was riding a good pace, but a small mistake pushed me back to finish seventh,” said Weimer. “The second moto was pretty bad from the start, but I didn’t want to give up because I know a lot can happen in 35 minutes. I just kept pushing and was able to finish inside the top-10. Not really where I wanted to finish, but I had to do with what I was given.”
After putting his full concentration on earning his first supercross championship, Villopoto was left with little time to test. Over the course of the week, the team tested with Villopoto and the results have been optimistic.
“I feel 100 times better since we have been able to dial in the bike for me,” said Villopoto. “There wasn’t a lot of time to test because we were focused on supercross. It’s good to get some testing time in and see good things. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”
The Budds Creek track in Mechanicsville, Md. has many memories for the Kawasaki-mounted riders. Villopoto led his 2007 USA team to victory at the Motocross of Nations with an impressive ride, while Wilson grabbed his first professional victory at the venue last year. Baggett will have more to overcome as the venue ended his 2010 season with a broken arm.
“I am going to try not to think about the memories of the past and focus on winning,” said Baggett. “I know the thoughts will be there, but I want to win and know I’ll be focused on getting out front and taking another win.”
AMA Motocross Series
High Point Raceway – Mt. Morris, Pa.
June 11, 2011
AMA 450 Motocross Class Results (Moto Finishes)
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 1-2
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 2-3
3. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 5-1
4. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 4-4
5. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 3-9
6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 6-5
7. Tommy Hahn, Alvord, Texas, Yamaha, 10-7
8. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 8-10
9. JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 7-11
10. Nick Wey, Dewitt, MIch., Yamaha, 14-8
AMA 250 Motocross Results (Moto Finishes)
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 1-1
2. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 3-2
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 6-3
4. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 2-8
5. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 10-4
6. Justin Barcia, New Jersey, N.J., Honda, 8-7
7. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda, 11-5
8. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 5-11
9. Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Honda, 4-14
10. Alex Martin, Lake City, Minn., Honda, 13-6
AMA 450 Motocross Class Points Standings
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 138
2. RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 123
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 111
4. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 104
5. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 88
6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 76
7. Ricky Dietrich, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 72
8. JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 68
9. Tommy Hahn, Alvord, Texas, Yamaha, 65
10. Christian Craig, Hemet, Calif., Honda, 59
AMA 250 Motocross Points Standings
1. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 127
2. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 125
3. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 116
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 104
5. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 90
6. Justin Barcia, New Jersey, N.J., Honda, 79
7. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda, 68
8. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 67
9. Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha, 61
10. Martin Davalos, Equador, Suzuki, 53