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250 Words: Hangtown Lites

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Ryan Villopoto can now check Hangtown off his list. As he chases after greatness -- his third straight AMA Toyota Motocross Lites Championship would put him in the elite company of Broc Glover (1977-'79), Mark Barnett ('80-'82) and Ricky Carmichael ('97-'99) as the only riders ever to win three-in-a-row in the old 125cc class -- he also needed to get at least one win on the Dirt Diggers' track. He did it in convincing fashion, sweeping both BTOSports.com holeshots on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, and then methodically riding away from everyone else. Villopoto looked flawless, laying down times that would have put him in between fellow Kawasaki riders James Stewart and Tim Ferry in the 450 class. He also erased any doubt left over after that not-so-great first moto at Glen Helen, where he struggled in traffic.

Behind him, however, there was lots of action. Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence went through a day just like RV's at GH, struggling in traffic early in the first moto before settling in for fifth. The second time out he was the second fastest man on the track. Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey (2-3), the rookie Austin Stroupe (3-4) and the frustrated Brett Metcalfe (4-5) all kept pace in the standings, but none seemed to possess the fierce drive that the champ showed up front.

Of course there are still ten rounds to go in the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championships, and anything can happen -- Villopoto still ices his wrist religiously after every ride -- but right now it's all about the redhead up front on the green bike, red plates, and a clear shot at motocross history as one of the best Lites bike riders of all time. And he also still has one other piece of history left way, way down the road: Adding seven 450-class outdoor titles to match the great Ricky Carmichael and matching his perfect 10-for-10 career in AMA Toyota Motocross....  But that's an unlikely history that won't be written for years to come.

 

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