Washougal AMA Pro Motocross Insider 2011

July 25, 2011
Matt Davidson
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Danger, adrenaline and competition are what fuel this moto enthusiast. Driven by a spirit for sportsmanship, our racing guru here at MotoUSA can be spotted at finish lines the world over as he delivers the latest battles from the two-wheeled realm.

The verdict is in on Canards injury at Washougal: a broken femur which forces him trackside again for the remainder of the season.
The verdict is in on Canard’s injury at Washougal. A broken femur will force him trackside again for the remainder of the season.

Honda’s Trey Canard has had one hell of a year. From initial reports, the 20-year-old suffered his second – yes, I said second – broken femur of 2011 at Washougal. If you think that’s bad, remember that Canard also broke his femur for the first time back in 2008 at the same track, making it the third time in his career that Canard has sustained what is known as one of the worst injuries.
As the season ended for Canard in Washington, Round 8 catapulted Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto to the top of the standings despite him failing to take his first ever win at his home track. With just one point separating Villopoto from Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, the outdoor season is shaping up a lot like the 2011 Supercross Championship as there remains a nine-point spread between the top three riders. We all know who walked away with the spoils from one of the roughest Supercross seasons to date, and with the current lead in the outdoor series Villopoto has put himself one step closer to claiming ultimate bragging rights for 2011.
“It feels good to have the red plate (and points lead),” said Villopoto. “It’s a big step, but we still got some things to work on, and we’ll continue to try and improve. I haven’t won here at Washougal yet, but everything was going well. I just didn’t have it there at the end of the second moto.”
Perhaps one of the most scenic venues in the series, Washougal MX Park has played host to the AMA Pro Motocross Championship since 1980. In 2010 a new starting straight was introduced to the circuit measuring just over 300 feet, and this year the starts for the 450 class proved more crucial than usual as Moto 2 was red flagged due to Canard’s crash. Rather than pick up where they left off, a restart forces all riders back to original gate positions.

Washougal is one of the most scenic tracks on the AMA Motocross schedule.
Washougal is one of the most scenic venues on the schedule and didn’t disappoint this year with great weather and unforgettable racing.

“It’s hard to say how the race would have gone if the red flag wouldn’t have come out,” said Villopoto who had the original Moto 2 lead. “You start getting into a groove and then you have to stop.”
One rider who sure didn’t benefit from the restart was Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi. Rather than battling for the runner-up position, Alessi was pushed outside the top-10 in the restart and had to settle for sixth place in Moto 2.
Where was TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed at Washougal? Normally on the podium in each race, he’s been absent from the steps in the last two rounds. Reed’s big get-off at Millville of course pushed him off the box, and at Washougal Reed could be seen struggling as lingering effects jeopardized his lead in the series. Having his bell rung in the previous round has clearly left a mark on the Aussie, and perhaps no other rider will benefit more from time off than Reed.
“It was a really tough day today,” Reed said. “I did the best I could but I struggled out there. It’s a minor setback but as we have seen this year anything can happen and there are still four rounds and 200 points up for grabs. We now have three weeks until the next event so I have some time to recuperate before we start the run home.”
Despite walking away the new leader in the championship, Villopoto was denied top honors at Washougal. Since 2008 Dungey has won four straight races at the venue throughout the 250 and 450 classes. In the first moto Dungey rarely let up on RV2, providing constant pressure behind the leader until a small washout allowed Villopoto to secure the win. In the

Ryan Dungey  shown  nearly captured the opening moto victory from home-crowd favorite  Ryan Villopoto.
Ryan Dungey (shown) remains the man to beat in Washington after taking his fourth straight win at the Washougal venue ahead of home favorite, Ryan Villopoto.

second race Dungey snagged the lead after the restart and went on to gradually increase his gap over RV. With Dungey taking the checkers in the second tie-breaker moto, he narrowly eclipsed RV for the overall.
“The first moto was good,” Dungey said. “I was slow in the first few laps, but I was able to inch up on [Ryan Villopoto] and find some lines. I tried to make the pass, but he pinched me off. I tried again, and hit something, which spun me right around. I got a good restart in Moto 2, and Villopoto was on me, but I found some good lines and started to pull away. To be back in position to win the title brings a sense of joy; to work so hard for something. We just have to take it one moto at a time for the rest of the year.”
But it wasn’t just Dungey putting in the work for his team at Washougal. RD5’s teammate, Brett Metcalfe, posted his best result of the season with third overall to put a second Rockstar Makita Suzuki on the podium. While the top-three riders remain in a league all their own, Metcalfe has yet to finish outside the top-eight and remains a surprise factor who may sway results in the coming rounds.
For the third round in a row the story has remained unchanged in the 250s with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki stealing the headlines. Even Broc Tickle who finished 10th overall was bestowed the Hard Charger Award after coming back from 39th to finish 16th in the first moto. But for the second week now the team green riders were met with some tough opposition from the boys at DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha. Kyle Cunningham has been one of the few riders to come close to overthrowing Kawasaki’s reign up front by finishing fourth overall in the past three rounds. Another lethal weapon for the team had been Ryan Sipes,

Ryan Villopoto has put himeslf in prime territory for another title this year after taking the lead in the 2011 AMA Motocross series.
Ryan Villopoto has put himeslf in prime territory for another title this year after taking the lead in the 2011 AMA 450 Motocross series.

but as his performance in Washington proved he still lacks consistency after falling back to 15th in Moto 1 and not even lining up for the second race. FIM import, Gareth Swanepoel is also putting his YZ250F to good use.
Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett continues to perform at a level which could very well win him the championship. After taking his eighth moto victory of the season in the first race, the 19-year-old had to navigate through the field after getting a poor start in the second moto. With his head down and throttle pinned, Baggett eventually managed third across the finish line jump. His overall win was news to him as he approached the podium, not even aware of his own achievement until Erin Bates from SPEED TV proclaimed him the winner in his post-race interview. There was some confusion after the first moto as well with lappers getting a white flag and Bagget getting the checkers. He wasn’t sure which and wound up busting out a spare lap just to be certain. 
“I didn’t know I had the overall when I came to the podium,” said Baggett. “Erin Bates came over to interview me and told me I was the winner. I thought Tyla [Rattray] might have been able to get by Dean [Wilson] and that would have put him first. It’s great to get another win and hopefully I made a few points up in the standings. It will be nice to get some down time before going to Unadilla, another new track for me.”
Scoring his seventh podium result of the season, Scotsman Dean Wilson held tight to his lead in the series.

Though Dean Wilson keeps his lead in the series  the Scotsman is still on the hunt for his first overall win of the season.
Though Dean Wilson keeps his lead in the series, the Scotsman is still on the hunt for his first overall win of the season.

With a difficult start in the first race the best he could do was fifth. But Wilson was a man on a mission in the second race. Controlling every lap of the contest for a wire-to-wire victory, Wilson salvaged third overall behind his two teammates. Amazingly, Wilson has yet to claim an overall win this season but remains 13 points ahead. Only time will tell if he can snag a win before this season comes to a close.
“It’s not often that a 1-3 wins the overall and I know that because I’ve scored that this season and haven’t won an overall yet, but I’m still up on the podium and that is a big deal when counting championship points,” Wilson said. “I can’t say that I’m not bummed that I haven’t been able to get an overall, but if I have to be on the podium in second or third to win the championship, then that’s what I’ll need to do.”

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