Clear skies greeted the 50,016 fans that filled Qwest Field for the 15th race of the 2009 Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season in Seattle. Hometown rider Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., was able to take advantage of a good start and capture his first career AMA Supercross class victory for Monster Energy Kawasaki. In the penultimate round of the AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional Championship, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., took advantage of a stellar start to gap the field and extend his points lead heading into the class’ final round next weekend in Salt Lake City.
The most exciting championship fight in decades became even more intriguing as neither Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed nor Team San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart finished the night on top.
As the AMA Supercross main event blasted out of the gates, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., sped to yet another holeshot with U.S. Air Force Honda’s Heath Voss, of Mico, Texas, and Villopoto in tow. Reed, of Tampa, Fla., crashed coming out of the gate and found himself in 19th place while Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., was mired in 11th by the end of lap one. Throughout the early portion of the race, Alessi and Villopoto battled for the top spot before Alessi washed out just before halfway to give up the lead. Villopoto, in his first race back since New Orleans on March 14, put his head down and rode to an impressive and surprising victory.
“It’s awesome,” boasted Villopoto, who missed the last three races with a virus. “I can’t thank my team enough and everybody that put effort into it. It hasn’t been the year we wanted but they never gave up. I could see James and Chad out of the corner of my eye sometimes. I just focused on Mike (Alessi) and he made that mistake. The track was super tricky tonite and there were some slick spots so you really had to ride smart.”
Stewart worked his way through the field to bring home a hard-earned runner-up finish while Reed found difficulty passing his competitors and could only muster a seventh-place finish, his first outside of the top three this season. Stewart now sits in the points lead, three ahead of Reed with two races remaining.
“I don’t know what happened. We all almost went down and we got the short end of the stick,” said Stewart. “I was so far in the back and saw Ryan and Mike out front and realized how far back I was. It’s all about the championship though and tonight was good for that. The way Chad has been riding all year, it was definitely surprising to see how things played out.
GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard, of Elk City, Okla., grabbed the holeshot in the 15-lap AMA Supercross Lites main event but was quickly overcome by Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Jake Moss, of Temecula, Calif., Dungey, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Morais, of Murrieta, Calif. Dungey moved into the lead by the end of the first lap and never looked back.
“I’m super pumped,” exclaimed Dungey. “Just pumped on the whole day. I had 100-percent effort from my team. The track was falling apart out there but they just kept working hard. I was able to get a good start and just took it from there. I do have a (bigger) points lead but we still got a race left so it’s not over. I’m just really happy, the fans were great and now I have some momentum going into next weekend.”
Dungey’s closest challenger in the championship, Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, suffered from a bad start on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and completed the first lap in eighth place. As Dungey continued to pull away, Morais asserted himself in second while Canard moved into third to complete the final podium. Weimer rebounded for a fourth place finish, but now trails Dungey by nine points heading into the AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional Championship finale next weekend.
The AMA Supercross class race will air on CBS Sports Sunday, April 19 at Noon EST and the AMA Supercross Lites class will air on SPEED Sunday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Monster Energy® Supercross resumes racing next Saturday, April, 25 at Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.
AMA Supercross Class Results, Seattle
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash. Kawasaki
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
3. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
4. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
7. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
8. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Kawasaki
9. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee,, Fla., Honda
10. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 332
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 329
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 241
4. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 208
5. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 204
6. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki, 203
7. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 199
8. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 190
9. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 188
10. Josh Hill, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 146
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Seattle
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
2. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda
4. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
5. Jake Moss, Temecula, Calif., Honda
6. Jimmy Albertson, Ozark, Mo., Honda
7. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Kawasaki
8. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda
9. Michael Hall, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
10. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda
Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 160
2. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 151
3. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 146
4. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 103
5. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda, 95
6. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., KTM, 89
7. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 74
8. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 67
9. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda, 62
10. P.J. Larsen, Stanley, N.C., Kawasaki, 61