This weekend’s Supercross in St. Louis once again lived up to its reputation of wild racing and unexpected results. Both the Lites and Supercross classes featured some intense racing inside the Edward Jones Dome. A packed house was on their feet while series leaders battled it out for the win and valuable championship points. Let’s get into all the details of a night that will be talked about for quite a long time.
The showdown between the Ryans finally went down in St. Louis. Unfortunately, it will be the last time in 2010 the two will race against each other.
The biggest story of the night was of course the battle between Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey for the championship. The two Ryans finally had the showdown that everyone was waiting for, and it didn’t disappoint - at least for the first half of the race. With Dungey leading and coming up on a pack of lappers, RV went for an insane block pass and slammed into the points leader's Suzuki. Both riders ended up in a pile as third and fourth place closed in fast. After untangling their rides both got moving just ahead of Andrew Short and Kevin Windham, with the Kawasaki in the lead. It looked like Villopoto was going to gain another three points on Dungey, setting up another close season finale.
“I didn’t know what to think of that move; I’m glad everything was good. Both of our bikes could have been damaged,” said Dungey about RV’s block pass gone wrong. “Luckily we were able to get up ahead in the race. That was pretty nasty; I didn’t really expect it and didn’t see it coming. “
Then it happened; Number-2 hit the eject button as he came up horribly short on the last three jumps of what had to be the nastiest rhythm section of the year. The title chase was over, and RV was on his way to the emergency room. Villopoto suffered a broken tibia and fibula and underwent surgery that night to repair the damage. With the Outdoor Nationals series opener just six weeks away, will the Monster Energy racer be ready?
Ivan Tedesco went down in the same section as Villopoto. Hot Sauce suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
Just a few laps later the same section of track took out last week’s third place finisher, Ivan Tedesco. Hot Sauce went down hard breaking five ribs and collapsing a lung while running in fourth place. Tedesco is expected to be in a St. Louis hospital for a few more days until he is in a condition to travel.
Villopoto’s teammate Chad Reed voiced his opinion of the brutal conditions of the St. Louis track to AMA officials. Many riders and industry insiders thought the minimal track maintenance was a factor in the season ending injuries of Villopoto and Tedesco. The concrete floor of the stadium was showing in the rutted rhythm section that dropped RV and Hot Sauce. Second-place finisher Kevin Windham, backed off chasing Dungey for the win because he was afraid to push it though the same section.
“The track actually became quite dangerous as there was no maintenance done before the main,” said quotes in Reed’s personal website. “The approaches to several jumps were rutted out leaving no margin for error. A number of riders including myself did voice our concerns regarding a number of different aspects of the circuit but unfortunately for the riders the much needed track maintenance was not carried out.”
The championship was already decided for the East Coast Lites, but many expected champ Christophe Pourcel to battle for another win. That would not be the case, as the Pro Circuit rider seemed to just cruise through practice qualifying and finished third in his heat race. In the main, he got high centered on a hay bale on the start and by the time he got moving he was a put a lap down by eventual winner, Justin Barcia. On lap five, the 2010 East Coast Lites Champ turned off the track and headed for the pits. The strange vibe for the Number-1 team continued as Pourcel’s mechanic, Kyle Bentley limped off the track with a busted ankle.
Pro Circuit's Christophe Pourcel cruised through St. Louis after wrapping up the championship last weekend in Houston.
So the night in St. Louis was weird and wild as expected, but no one predicted that Dungey would leave with a lock on his first Supercross championship. He just needs to start the main event next weekend in Seattle to claim his first championship. It’s probably not the way he wanted to win it, but his consistency and drive is what championships are made of.