NPG Presents Villopoto, Langston Diamond-Studded Championship Rings

Villopoto Embarks on Chase of Carmichael’s Record Three-Straight Championships

LAS VEGAS (November 18, 2007) – AMA Toyota Motocross Lites and AMA Toyota Motocross Champions Ryan Villopoto and Grant Langston were honored for their outstanding accomplishments at the AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Sunday. In addition to collecting their season-ending trophies, the National Promoters Group (NPG) presented the duo with diamond-studded championship rings to commemorate their fine seasons’.

The rings, presented by recently appointed Director of Operations John Ayers and NPG President Carrie Coombs Russell, are handcrafted out of 14-carat gold and included two diamonds, representing the number of AMA Motocross titles earned by Langston (2003 and 2007) and Villopoto (2006-07).

“The NPG created the ring presentation two years ago and we want to show our collective gratitude for the hard work these guys put in each summer,” said Ayers. “The AMA Toyota Motocross Championships enjoyed another successful season and we’re honored to have two riders the caliber of Ryan and Grant to carry the momentum into 2008.”

Villopoto’s two-diamond ring also represents another story line that will play out well into the 2008 racing season. As Ricky Carmichael, the most prolific winner in the history of AMA Toyota Motocross, was being presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, the underlying theme seemed that Villopoto was preparing to carry the torch left behind by a retiring Carmichael.

In fact, Villopoto is the first competitor since Carmichael to win back-to-back AMA Toyota Motocross Lites' titles. And next year, he will try to match RC's career record in that class with a third consecutive title before joining the premier division.

"Winning the ring from the National Promoters Group is special, it's something really cool,” said Villopoto. “This is my second ring and it means a little more because repeating a championship is hard, especially racing against my Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Ben (Townley).

"I think winning a third straight title in 2008 will be very hard. There are a lot of unknowns right now and I'm not sure who all the fast guys are going to be. I know my new Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate (Austin) Stroupe is going to be tough but I think I can get a third title."

Culminating a near-perfect season, Villopoto was also awarded the coveted AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award for winning the AMA Supercross Western Region Lites and AMA Toyota Motocross Lites Championships, as well as for leading Team USA to its record 18th Motocross of Nations title.

NPG's John Ayers and Carrie Coombs Russell