Monster Energy Kawasaki Hosts a Podium Party in DetroitTuesday, April 15, 2008 | 5:24 AM
Irvine, Calif. (April, 14, 2008) – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto won his third straight AMA Supercross Lites race and pulled within three points of the championship leader in the penultimate race of the East Coast season. Branden Jesseman joined Villopoto on the podium with a third place finish. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Timmy Ferry climbed back on the podium with a second-place finish. Travis Preston raced to his best result of the season finish in sixth place.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent
Three in a Row
With thoughts of the East Coast title on his mind, Villopoto rode his third straight flawless race to close the gap on the series leader. The 19-year-old rider once again dominated his heat race and the final, leading all 15 laps in the main event.
“It was a hard race,” said Villopoto. “The track was really rutted up. I knew I needed to get as many points as I could. I just got a good start and rode hard to get the win.”
Entering the race in Detroit, Villopoto knew he would need to win and also see the points leader have some trouble to make up the 17 point hole he was in. During the race, last year’s Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Champion and two-time AMA Motocross Lites titlist showed his championship form to close the gap to three points. Heading into the final East Coast race, Villopoto can secure the championship with a victory.
“It’s been good the last couple of weeks,” said Villopoto. “I came into tonight down 17 points in the championship and now the gap is three. It’s going to be a close race. I’m going to go home and do what I’ve been doing and try and get another title.”
Back on the Box
In only his third race back from injury, Ferry showed he has fully recovered, challenging for the win in Detroit. On a very difficult track, Ferry got a good start and rode a consistent race to get back on the podium. It is his fifth podium of the season and his second runner-up finish this year.
“This feels great,” said Ferry. “I’m back to where I was before I got hurt. After taking a month off of racing and getting a podium in my third race back is good. I felt good out there, but I think I can get even better before the end of the season. I’m getting my rhythm back. I was right there. I could see the leader, but I didn’t jump the finish line jump once and that cost me a second or two. It was a tough track and I was pulling away from (Kevin) Windham and (Josh) Hill. Those two guys were beating me the last couple of weeks so I’m happy I’m back in front of them.”
Jesseman had a long trip to his first podium of the season. He went down in the first lap of his heat race and had to go to the last chance qualifier. In the LCQ he easily won and transferred to the main event. In the feature race Jesseman came out of the gate seventh and worked his way up to his finishing position of third with three laps to go.
“It’s about time I finished on the podium,” said Jesseman. “My Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has been running great all year and I finally put it all together tonight. In the heat race I had a really good start. I was like second or third, but somebody got into me in the first lap and I had to go to the last chance qualifier. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. It was really rutted up out there. It was difficult to pass or even stay straight instead of cross-rutting.”
Best Finish of the Season
Preston continues to improve the more he rides and the results are starting to show. In his heat race, he finished third and used the early gate pick to get a good start in the main. Preston turned the quick start into his best finish of the season taking the checkered flag in sixth.
“I got a good start,” said Preston “I came out top 10 and passed a couple of guys. It was a tough track tonight so I just had to ride consistent, stay in the ruts and not do anything stupid. You really have to watch yourself and not get too excited. You have to be kind of mellow and try not to ride over your head too much. The good thing is I’m getting better and better each weekend.”
Ferry got behind the eight ball in his heat race when he hit the starting gate and was the last rider through the first turn. He put his head down and rode through the field to finish ninth, earning the last transfer spot into the main event.
“The gate actually bounced,” said Ferry. “It bounced up after it dropped and I hit it. I was last and had to work my way up. In traffic I busted some spokes out, but I salvaged a ninth. It was a tough race and it looked like it might be a long night for us.”
Just because he rides a Kawasaki doesn’t mean Preston doesn’t want more green in his life. Last week he battled with Ferry for the holeshot award and $1,500 check. Again in Detroit, Preston got out of the gate well and led going into the first turn, but this week he couldn’t hold on for the holeshot
“I kind of blew the first turn,” said Preston. “Now that I got the $1,500 last week I want to get more. I ran it in a little too hot and some guys got underneath me.”