Ryan Villopoto: 2007 AMA SX Lites West Champion

February 20, 2007 1:08pm

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 20, 2007) – It’s only February, but Ryan Villopoto has already laid claim to an AMA title early in the 2007 season. Villopoto, 18, from Poulsbo, Wash., clinched the AMA Supercross Lites West title Saturday by winning the Supercross Lites West round in San Diego.

This marks the first Supercross title for Villopoto, last year’s AMA Motocross/Supercross Rookie of the Year. He won the AMA Motocross Lites crown in 2006 and was a member of the winning U.S. Motocross of Nations team last year.

Villopoto was nearly unstoppable in the Lites West series this year. He won all but a single race en route to the championship and wrapped up the title with one race remaining. He needed only a fifth-place or better finish in San Diego to win the championship.

Villopoto was generous in victory. He was quick to give much of the credit to his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team.

“I can’t thank my team enough for what they’ve done for me,” Villopoto said. “It helps to have the best team in the series behind you. I don't think it has set in yet, but I have worked for this. It's definitely something that I want to continue to do. I think that my consistency has paid off and that's why I was able to win the championship a race early. You have to be consistent especially with only eight races. Outdoors is a little different because you have room for error."

Villopoto won the opening round of the series and never lost the points lead. He was tied briefly when teammate Christophe Pourcel earned the victory at round two in Phoenix.
It marked yet another successful season for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. The team made a rare sweep of the podium in Phoenix with teammates Pourcel, Villopoto and Christopher Gosselaar finishing one-two-three at Chase Field on Jan. 13. It marked the fifth straight AMA Supercross Lites West championship for Kawasaki and their 11th title in the series.

Villopoto says he will now focus his attention on defending his Motocross Lites Championship, adding that he’ll practice supercross again a few weeks ahead of the annual Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Lites Shootout at the Las Vegas Supercross in May.