Ryan Villopoto claimed his first 450 Motocross title by finishing second overall at Pala Raceway.
Moto 2 in the 450 class looked much like the first. Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey didn’t learn their lesson well enough in Moto 1 and lined up too far to the inside on the gate which left them battling to be inside the top-10 on the start. However, this time Chad Reed didn’t crash out and the TwoTwo Motorsports rider was fighting for the holeshot and quickly into the lead.
Justin Brayton had a good start and ran up front early for the JGR Yamaha team, but Honda’s Justin Barcia took over the runner-up position on Lap 2. Barcia continued to chase Reed who was looking more like his early season form until Lap 7 when he lost the rear end and went down in a corner. The small crash allowed Barcia to slip past and Dungey to pull up on his rear wheel. Reed couldn’t hold off the defending champion who was doing everything in his power to win the moto and put himself in the best possible position for a miracle championship.Reed gave way to Villopoto two laps later and would finish the moto in fourth. Combined with 12th in Moto 1, he would finish 7th overall.
Instead of pushing through to the finish, RV2 wisely backed down his pace and let the two frontrunners get away. Meanwhile, Dungey was in a battle for the overall win and he sealed the deal with two laps to go. Barcia finished second with the new 450 class champion a distant third.
“We started off this outdoor season way behind,” said Villopoto. “It’s been a hell of a year.”
Ryan Dungey won the overall, but it wasn't enough to retain his 450 crown.
Dungey’s teammate Brett Metcalfe had another strong ride in fifth which gave him fourth overall, just behind Barcia who trailed the Ryans with a 3-2 moto tally. Mike Brown finished 15th in the last moto on his KTM – not bad for an old moto guy-turned off-roader.
“I’m really happy to end it out with a win,” said Dungey as he watched Villopoto collect the #1 plate. “It was a long-fought season. That’s what it’s about, that’s what racing is about. We train our butts off. Congratulations to the whole Kawasaki crew, Ryan Villopoto. It was a joy racing them all year. There was nothing I had to worry about, we could just fight each other clean. Let him taste a little bit of this victory like I did last year.”
AMA Motocross Pala 450 Overall Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) 2-1
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 1-3
3. Justin Barcia (Honda) 3-2
4. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 5-5
5. Milke Alessi (KTM) 4-7
6. Kyle Regal (Suzuki) 6-8
7. Chad Reed (Honda) 12-4
8. Justin Brayton (Yamaha) 9-6
9. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 10-12
10. Les Smith (Yamaha) 14-9
AMA Motocross 450 Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 526
2. Ryan Dungey, 514
3. Chad Reed, 382
4. Brett Metcalfe, 374
5. Mike Alessi, 304
6. Jake Weimer, 271
7. Justin Brayton, 218
8. Andrew Short, 196
9. Kevin Windham, 193
10. Davi Millsaps, 173