Southwick AMA Motocross Preview 2011

August 24, 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.

Ryan Villopoto remains 16 points behind Chad Reed after crashing in the first moto and finishing ninth. - Red Bud 2011
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto is just six motos away from possibly taking his second title of 2011.

With the final break of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship over the series now embarks for Southwick, Massachusetts with the end in sight. Moto-X 338, or the sand box as it’s more affectionately called by riders, is the only sand race on the calendar and will include a new tunnel jump this year. Few can forget the havoc that last year’s Southwick National inflicted on Aussie Brett Metcalfe, who ran out of gas just a few turns away from his first win of the season. Riders will do best to remember that Southwick’s terrain pushes riders and their machinery to the breaking point, so preparation beforehand will be vital in the upcoming round.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto is one rider not afraid of putting in the homework. It’s been amazing to see the 23-year-old adapt to the rigors of the outdoor schedule, all of which culminated in him taking his second victory of the season in the previous round at Unadilla. With just three rounds remaining and a very real shot at grabbing his second championship this year, Villopoto will have his game face on as he hopes to separate himself from defending MX Champ, Ryan Dungey.
Despite RV’s momentous double victory in the last round, he now must head for territory which favors his rival. In 2010 Dungey recorded his ninth win of the season at Southwick, which essentially gave him the MX crown. Not only does he return to Massachusetts with that memory, but Southwick’s technical conditions will also play to RD5’s strengths. What

Suzukis Ryan Dungey had an amazing battle with Chad Reed in the final lap of Moto 1. - Red Bud 2011
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey is seven points behind in the series and is looking to take charge at Southwick.

remains to be seen, however, is if Dungey will step up to the plate. We’ve already seen he’s capable of going toe-to-toe with Villopoto, but his lack of aggression in the opening laps has cost him the win on more than one occasion. Only seven points behind in the series, look for Dungey to attack early if he’s to swipe away RV’s advantage.
Honda’s Justin Barcia may only have one ride in the premier class under him, but he’s already proven to be a formidable obstacle. At Unadilla he wedged himself between Villopoto and Dungey in both motos, costing the defending champ precious time. The 19-year-old has also experienced past success at the Southwick circuit in the 250 class, so only time will tell if he’s able to bring the heat up to the 450s. One thing’s for sure, however, and that’s Bam Bam’s rocket-like starts. When the majority of motos are being determined by the opening lap, Barica has immediately become a favorite of the group with his holeshot potential.
While a newcomer found his groove in the last round, one of the series’ veterans continued to slide further down in the championship. TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed is now 25 points behind RV and has been off the podium since Millville – which speaks volumes since he had podium finishes during the first six rounds. But everything changed at Spring Creek. Reed’s terrifying crash has been relived countless times in the media, but the biggest shock is how much it’s truly affected the Aussie. In the end it’s a tough pill to swallow for Reed and all his fans, who practically had him as a shoe-in for the title this year following his dominance in the first half of the season.

Chad Reed - Hangtown Motocross 2011
TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed is in the middle of a rough patch. Will he make it to the podium at Moto-X 338?

It’s easy to forget that Metcalfe claimed second in the 2010 Motocross Championship, and one reason why is his consistency. This year Metcalfe is once again posting top-five results left and right while participating in some of the most memorable battles of the season. Recently announced as a member of Team Australia in the 2011 MXoN, Metcalfe approaches Southwick following a difficult round in which he finished outside the top-10 after colliding with Weimer in the final moto. The 27-year-old will likely claim fourth in the championship seeing as he’s more than 50 points ahead of KTM’s Mike Alessi, but still trails Reed by over 100.
As was noted earlier on MCUSA, KTM’s Andrew Short suffered a bad crash during testing and broke both elbows along with his left wrist. Following his successful surgery Short was given an eight-week recovery time-frame, eliminating him from the remaining three rounds.
Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson currently has the title of most consistent rider in the 250 series with podium finishes in every round so far. The Scotsman recorded his first overall win of the season in the previous round, earning the double victory at the perfect time to claim a 25-point lead in the championship.
Wilson’s teammate, Tyla Rattray, is a favorite to win the next round though after showcasing good sand skills in last year’s race. The South African grabbed runner-up finishes in both motos, taking the overall despite not winning a race. The title is pretty much out of the question for him though as he remains 43 points behind Wilson following a bad

Dean Wilson is still searching for his first overall win of the season after finishing second for sixth consecutive time. - Millville 2011
Scotsman Dean Wilson is on track to win his first ever championship if he can hold back his teammate, Blake Baggett.

afternoon in New York. PC Kawasaki’s final threat, Blake Baggett, is the only other rider that stands a realistic shot at the crown this year. El Chupacabra is without a doubt the fastest rider of the field and has impressed on-lookers all season long with his speed. But his results have been mixed. The youth is constantly testing the limits of his performance each round, and as a result he’s lacked Wilson’s consistency.
Long overdue for an appearance is the 2011 WMX series. In the last race at Millville DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson won her third overall round of the season ahead of Honda’s Ashley Fiolek. The result puts JP$ just eight points shy of Fiolek with the final three rounds getting revved-up.

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