PALA, Calif. – After a summer full of some of the best competition in series history, the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship came to a close on Saturday, in the heart of the motocross industry in Southern California. Thousands of fans were on hand to witness the Traxxas Pala National from Pala Raceway, as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., secured his first premier 450 Class title. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson, of Scotland, capped off his championship season by sweeping the day’s motos for his third win of the season.
In the opening moto of the 450 Class, all eyes were on Villopoto and his championship rival, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., who were separated by just 14 points. Out of the gates, the duo positioned themselves within the top 10, and immediately began working on moving forward. Out front, Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., looked to pull away, with American Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Monroe, N.Y., in pursuit. After just three laps, Barcia took over the top spot, but it was only a matter of time before the series’ perennial front-runners were battling for the lead. Both Villopoto and Dungey followed nose to tail throughout the moto, and on Lap 12, Villopoto slipped past Barcia and never looked back. Dungey followed suit two laps later, finishing second, and also losing an additional three points in the standings.
In Moto 2, the championship leaders found themselves in similar positions off the start, while TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed, of Australia, took over the early lead. While leading, Reed went down, allowing a closely-pursuing Barcia to assume the position. Upon remounting, Reed was forced to deal with a hard-charging Dungey and Villopoto. Dungey worked his way past quickly, and set his sights on Barcia, and the overall win. Villopoto took his time getting around Reed, using his healthy points lead to his advantage, but eventually settled into third, where he would finish the moto. At the front of the field, Barcia and Dungey brought the fans to their feet, battling for the win over the final two laps, with Dungey prevailing to secure his fourth win of the year.