The 40th running of the Hangtown
Motocross Classic offered both expected results and surprises. On the "expected" side, we had two of the fastest men on two wheels take the class victories on the day, while on the "surprises" side, we had relatively poor results from Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi
who was a strong second in the opener last weekend, and top-flight efforts from quite a few privateers.
The first Lites moto went off with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto
(1) grabbing the holeshot, followed by Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey
(28), his teammate Nico Izzi
(341), and all three of Villopoto's teammates: Branden Jesseman (77), Austin Stroupe
(51) and Brett Metcalfe
Villopoto quickly distanced himself from the pack and led every lap of the opening Lites moto.
Stroupe ran second in the beginning of the moto, but went back and forth with Dungey.
Dungey slipped by Stroupe at about the halfway point and went on to finish second in the moto. Stroupe was third.
Behind the Stroupe/Dungey battle, Jesseman (77) held off teammate Metcalfe for a while, although Metcalfe eventually passed Jesseman for fourth.
Once Metcalfe pulled away in fourth, the battle for fifth became a four-rider affair, with Jesseman (77) falling into the clutches of Izzi (341), Geico Honda's Jake Weimer
(30) and Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence
Lawrence (338) passed Weimer, Izzi and Jesseman all on lap 13 of 17 to take fifth place after rounding the first lap in 15th place.
The first 450cc moto saw Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart
(7) grab the holeshot, which he never relinquished, over privateers Steve Boniface
(141) and Cody Cooper (902), along with the rest of the pack.
Boniface (141) ran second for the first couple of laps before losing the spot to Honda Red Bull Racing's Davi Millsaps
(118). Boniface continued to run third until lap seven, when mistakes knocked him back to sixth, where he would finish.
It was on lap seven that Stewart's teammate Timmy Ferry
went from fifth to third, and then began working on Millsaps, eventually passing the Honda rider on lap 10 of 17 and finishing second.
Millsaps finished third in the first moto, but not before actually losing the spot to privateer Suzuki rider Cooper, who then crashed out of third and broke his clutch lever, which knocked him all the way back to 13th at the finish.
Millsaps' Honda teammate Ivan Tedesco
fought his way to fourth.
After going 21-28 at Glen Helen
(after over a year off), privateer Sean Collier finished fifth in the first 450cc moto after rounding the first lap in 11th.
Round one's second-place finisher, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi
, started the moto sixth, but fell and bent his bars. After falling back further, he pulled into the pits to have his handlebars straightened somewhat, then resumed the race in 24th. He eventually caught back up to 16th.
The second Lites moto got underway, and Geico Powersports Honda's Dan Reardon
nearly got the holeshot, although it was snatched away by Villopoto.
Just after the start photo was taken, Nico Izzi
(on the ground) and Bobby Kiniry
(bent over) hit the deck really hard. Kiniry rejoined the race, although in obvious pain, and then Izzi did likewise, although he eventually pulled into the pits with dizziness.
Villopoto immediately began to put distance on the field, while Lawrence (338), Reardon (122), MDK KTM's Ryan Sipes
(57) and the rest gave chase.
Villopoto once again led every lap of the moto, going 1-1 for his first victory of the year - and his first victory ever at Hangtown
Lawrence ran second for the whole race, but couldn't match Villopoto's pace. His 5-2 was good for third overall.
Dungey fought his way from well outside the top five to finish third in the second moto, and second overall.
Just like at Glen Helen
, Metcalfe (123) and Stroupe (51) were rarely further than this far apart from one another. At one point, Metcalfe had Stroupe passed, but then fell, handing Stroupe fourth again. Metcalfe caught Stroupe again before the finish, but came up just short at the checkered. Stroupe was fourth overall with a 3-4 score, and Metcalfe was fifth overall with a 4-5.
Dungey (left), Villopoto (center) and Lawrence (right) strike poses for the photo hounds. With the win, Villopoto took over the points lead with 92 points over Dungey's 82, Stroupe's 80, Lawrence's 79 and Metcalfe's 72.
Millsaps got the second-moto holeshot, with his teammates Andrew Short
(29), Tedesco (behind Millsaps) and Ben Townley (behind Stewart, 7) in tow, but Stewart (7) was quickly past all of them and into the lead. After Stewart took the lead on the opening lap, Millsaps actually passed him back briefly, but Stewart quickly repassed him.
Stewart led the remainder of the second moto, completing a clean sweep of both motos, as he led every lap of racing action, just as fellow Kawasaki rider Villopoto did in the Lites class.
Ferry put in another strong ride, starting outside the top 10, but coming through for another second-place finish in moto two, passing for the spot on the 13th of 17 laps. His 2-2 showing landed him second overall.
Tedesco passed his teammate Millsaps for second early in the race, but lost the position to Ferry in the late going. Tedesco finished third in the moto, and overall.
Alessi fought his way from the tail end of the top 10 to fourth by moto's end.
Stewart celebrates his Hangtown
domination with grateful fans.
Stewart (center) extended his points lead from six points to 20, as he still has a perfect score of 100, and his teammate Ferry (left) now sits second in points with 80. Millsaps is third with 76, Tedesco (right) is fourth with 68, and Alessi is fifth with 67.