So that alone should provide some motivation for the pack. Further, the rider they’re all chasing right now, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, is a rookie, which means there’s always a chance of a rookie mistake opening up an opportunity for someone else to win.
All of those factors and more weighed in during the fourth stop of the 2010 SX tour, the San Francisco supercross, where Dungey finally made that rookie mistake and a rejuvenated and remotivated Ryan Villopoto capitalized to take his first win of the season on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. San Manuel Yamaha’s Josh Hill took second to close the gap on Dungey in the points, and Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps took third. Dungey took fourth after a big crash, ahead of Millsaps’ teammate Andrew Short.
The championship fight tightened just a tad in the Lites West Region as well, with GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard taking the win, ending Jake Weimer’s three-race win streak. Weimer took second on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, with Star Racing/DNA Shred Stix Broc Tickle collecting third.
You could tell the Supercross class riders were excited about their new championship prospects right from the start of practice. Short was charging early, Villopoto set early fast laps in the timed session, and eventually Kevin Windham emerged with the fastest lap time of qualifying. Then in the first heat race, Short withstood massive pressure from Dungey to win after Dungey crashed on a jump. In the second heat race, Villopoto was on fire, winning with little pressure.
The field looked to have Dungey on the ropes, but the series leader quickly responded to the challenge by pulling yet another holeshot, despite having just the 11th gate pick based on his heat-race mistake. Millsaps was soon in second and keeping Dungey close, with Hill third. Villopoto and Short didn’t get good starts, but Villo soon caught Hill in a battle for third. Then Millsaps tipped over, moving Hill and Villopoto up a spot.
Villopoto was pushing hard, hoping to get around Hill and go after Dungey. But instead, the two old rivals from the Pacific Northwest started standing each other up in corners and riding defensively, allowing Dungey to get away. Villopoto finally passed Hill, but by then half of the main event was through, and Dungey held a nine-second lead. It looked like Dungey was heading to his third-straight win.
But in an instant, it all came undone. On the same jump he crashed on in the heat race, Dungey caught his foot in a rut and came dislodged from his Suzuki on the takeoff of a triple. He sailed over the jump without the bike and landed feet first into the face of the jump, somehow escaping injury. He sprinted over to his bike, but by then Villopoto was right there, and he soon made the pass and took off. Hill and Millsaps soon passed Dungey as well.
Hill kept the heat on Villopoto all the way to the finish, but RV2 was able to notch his third-career win. Afterward, he celebrated with his parents, who were back at the races for the first time this year.
Hill closed the gap down to 11 points on Dungey, and Villopoto is just 13 points back of the leader. The chase is on.
A few other favorites couldn’t get going: Short wasn’t able to find his heat-race speed in the main; and Windham got a bad start and wasn’t able to move forward.
In Lites, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen battled TLD/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely for the holeshot. Seely collected the $1000 check, but Hansen took the lead a second later, only to go off the track in the second turn and drop to the back of the pack. Only GEICO Honda’s Blake Wharton started worse, with a first-turn crash.
Meanwhile Wharton’s teammate Trey Canard had the lead, and Weimer was up to second ahead of Tickle. Weimer made a mistake and let Canard get away, and after that it was smooth sailing for the ’08 East Region Lites Champ. Weimer’s second-place finish helped him maintain a points lead on Canard, however.
Tickle was solid for third, while Wil Hahn, second last week, came from well outside the top ten at the start to finish fourth. His teammate Seely was fifth.
Racing was good. Check out the Supercross class on CBS tomorrow at noon EST and 9 a.m. PST. Lites air at 10 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Pacific on SPEED.
And stay tuned to our site to check out photos from the race, as well as news and analysis all week. This is going to be one heck of a supercross season!