250 Words: Anaheim 1

January 7, 2008 10:48am | by:
When Ryan Villopoto made his late decision to ride the East Region instead of the west, another Ryan must have smiled under his helmet while putting down hard laps on the Suzuki test track. Ryan Dungey should have become the obvious favorite. While the super-vanilla Suzuki rider lacks the rockstar status of Jason Lawrence, or the experience of a Broc Hepler or a Brett Metcalfe, he does have a growing collection of first-place trophies back home in Minnesota.

On Saturday night, Dungey put another smile on Rockstar Makita Suzuki boss Roger DeCoster’s face with his no-nonsense win in Anaheim Stadium, out-lasting the aforementioned J-Law on a track that was not nearly as muddy as it might have been if placed 20 miles away in any direction.

Behind them, other contenders like Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Metcalfe and Austin Stroupe, Yamaha’s Hepler, and Torco Racing Fuels Honda’s Dan Reardon struggled to maintain a rhythm on the tricky track. Weimer didn’t even qualify, nor did Billy Laninovich, Chris Gosselaar, Bobby Kiniry or Justin Keeney.

But the biggest surprise of the night might not have been a surprise to anyone who watched the kid last year: Justin Brayton gave the new MDK KTM venture its first podium in its first AMA Supercross race.

Now we go to a dry track, with Dungey—winner of the series opener two years in a row now—the obvious favorite that everyone expected the other Ryan to be. How quickly Hepler (11th) and Metcalfe (19th) can rebound could be the story of Phoenix.