Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey braved difficult conditions at Colorado’s Thunder Valley MX Park for his first overall victory of the AMA Pro Motocross season. The defending MX champ faced tremendous pressure from Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, who snagged second for the day with 1-2 moto scores. TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed earned third overall, the Aussie taking third place in both races to keep his lead in the overall standings by eight points.
TLD Honda’s Christian Craig got the holeshot to start the day with Reed, Dungey and Villopoto all following. RV2 didn’t take long getting around Dungey and soon was choking on Reed’s exhaust as Craig continued to hold the No. 1 position up front. Reed stepped up his game, but Craig matched the Aussie move for move. When Reed went for the pass on Craig he was shutdown, allowing Villopoto to slip through for second in the order. Villopoto’s pass attempt on Craig was successful, and just three laps in RV2 was up front and starting to pull ahead. Reed also found his way around Craig for second as did Dungey for third. Muscle Milk Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps had some early misfortune with his bike that forced him briefly into the pits. Honda’s Josh Grant also faced trouble in the first moto after he popped his knee out of place and couldn’t continue.
Ryan Villopoto continued his pattern of winning the first moto, but couldn’t overthrow Dungey in Moto 2.
Dungey was losing major time on Reed after crashing in a corner. Villopoto would suffer the same mistake later in the race, but by then RV’s lead was so significant that it hardly mattered. Running a full three seconds quicker than his fastest qualifying time, Villopoto never backed off in the first race and achieved his third moto win of the season. Despite his earlier mistake, Dungey collected himself and went on the prowl for Reed late in the contest. Determined to put himself in contention for the overall win, Dungey passed Reed for second with six minutes remaining. Reed fell off the pace toward the end of the moto, eventually finishing third more than 43 seconds behind Dungey. Meanwhile, Honda’s Kevin Windham continued his 2011 MX campaign with a solid fourth-place finish in Moto 1 after passing KTM’s Mike Alessi in the final laps.
Reed claimed the holeshot in Moto 2 as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Craig both crashed in the first turn. A few corners later Alessi also went down, forcing him out of the race. Meanwhile, Grant didn’t start and looked visually upset about his injury in the pits. Behind Reed was Dungey, Windham and Villopoto as the top riders continued to secure great starts. After Villopoto passed Windham for third, Dungey went after Reed as Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe suffered his second poor start outside the top-15. Sandwiched between Reed and RV, Dungey eventually flew around Reed as Villopoto squared off with the Aussie for second.
Just seven minutes into the second moto Villopoto took over second from Reed. There was some close racing between the two Ryans for a few laps, but Dungey was managing a flawless ride ahead of the field. Toward the end RV kept the leader honest by erasing some of Dungey’s lead, but the defending motocross champ went on to clench his first overall win of the 2011 season with 2-1 moto scores.
“It was good to come away with a win,” said Dungey. “We’ve been looking for one for awhile this season. I never felt like anything was missing, we just needed to put it together. I try to go out and give it my all every weekend. It’s not a matter of aggression. You need to be there in the beginning, or the guys will get away from you.”
Villopoto ended his day in second, staying close in the standings with Reed, who rounded out the overall podium.
“The track was tough,” said Villopoto. “But that was the best second moto I’ve had all year. Ryan (Dungey) was riding well. He was strong on one side of the track and I was faster on the other. We played cat and mouse, but he gained some time on me at the end.”
“I was the third best guy (today),” Reed said. “I’m happy to be honest. This is a tough track for me and I just felt a little off today. I think you learn more on your off days when you get beat. And that’s what happened today. We need to make some improvements, and I think I know where we need to make those.”
450 Motocross Thunder Valley Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) 2-1
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 1-2
3. Chad Reed (Honda) 3-3
4. Kevin Windham (Honda) 4-4
5. Andrew Short (KTM) 7-8
TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed took third overall and still leads the championship ahead of Ryan Villopoto.
6. Tommy Hahn (Yamaha) 11-5
7. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 9-7
8. Christian Craig (Honda) 6-15
9. Jake Canada (Kawasaki) 10-13
10. Justin Brayton (Yamaha) 14-10
11. Nick Wey (Yamaha) 13-11
12. Jimmy Albertson (Honda) 12-12
13. Ricky Dietrich (Yamaha) 8-17
14. Mike Alessi (KTM) 5-37
15. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha) 24-6
450 Motocross Championship Points:
1. Chad Reed, 223
2. Ryan Villopoto, 215
3. Ryan Dungey, 202
4. Kevin Windham, 148
5. Davi Millsaps, 145
6. Brett Metcalfe, 144
7. Ricky Dietrich, 109
8. Andrew Short, 102
9. Jake Weimer, 100
10. Christian Craig, 97