Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto took a hard fall in Seattle and will be out for the rest of the 2012 season.
Monster Energy Supercross lands in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2012 season. So far 2012 has proven to be a difficult year for many of the top-tier SX riders. After last week’s round in Seattle, add virtuoso Ryan Villopoto of Monster Energy Kawasaki to the list of sidelined heavyweights. This year’s champion will be out for the remainder of this series following knee surgery, as well as the upcoming AMA Motocross Championship.
While no one can catch RV in points, his absence will keep the door open for surprises on the podium this weekend. Honda’s Andrew Short took full advantage in Seattle, scoring the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award and leading all 20 laps to the checkers for the first SX class win of his career. Such a victory would have seemed impossible earlier in the season since Short was forced to miss seven races due to injury.
The Texan isn’t the only rider to return from injury as Ryan Dungey re-joined the field to race in Seattle. Despite missing five races, the KTM rider still sits fourth in overall season points, just 12 behind Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Brayton. The Minnesota native didn’t score as high as might have been expected considering his early season performance, coming in at seventh in the Main, but results like that will most likely be the exception and not the rule. Dungey grabbed third place at this venue in 2011 behind Villopoto and TwoTwo Motorsport’s Chad Reed; two riders that will be absent this weekend.
Jake Weimer scored third place in Seattle and will be looking for another podium finish in Salt Lake City this weekend.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, the third place finisher in Seattle, is most likely too far behind to have legitimate aspirations for second place overall. Currently with 191 points, Weimer is fifth overall but was able to outpace JGR Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps and Brayton last weekend, the second- and third-place point holders, respectively. If either of these two riders fails to grab finishing positions above Dungey and Weimer, then their hopes for a top-three on the season could be in jeopardy.
Another lesson learned in Seattle is that all of the forecasting in the world can’t actually predict who will take home the win. Short had lackluster performances before getting injured and came through with a win; Eastern Supercross Lites implant Ken Roczen of Red Bull KTM lagged by only two seconds behind the Honda at the checkers. In New Orleans Jeff Ward Kawasaki Racing’s Josh Grant beat out all but Villopoto to take second on the podium. Getting the holeshot in the main event at Salt Lake City will make all the difference in who stands on the podium at the end of the night.
Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac leads the Western Region SX Lites class by just four points over Monster Energy’s Dean Wilson.
The Western Region Supercross Lites riders returned to action with a spirited race between top points contenders in the Northwest. Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson claimed the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award, only to lose the lead shortly thereafter to Star Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes. Wilson then went head-to-head with Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac for the second-place spot behind Sipes. On Lap 8 the two came together and Wilson fell to the ground. Tomac rode through, claiming third place behind Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin. Wilson was able to recover and finished in seventh, but lost his points lead to the Geico Honda rider.
Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Cole Seely stands third in championship points and was able to take fourth place in Seattle. Seely kept in shape by moving up to SX class during the break and remains a possible contender for a top three, if not top spot finish for the season.
Tomac has high confidence going into the next round, though, “I’m looking forward to Salt Lake City because it’s like a home race for me.” The Honda rider scored a victory in Utah last year.