Two-time defending Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto rolled into frigid Minneapolis, round 14 of 17, with momentum clearly on his side. The Monster Energy Kawasaki backed rider had won five straight, and six of seven, tightening his grip on the championship, and further cementing his chances to join the likes of Hannah, McGrath, and Carmichael as one of only four riders to win three-straight supercross titles.
Facing a 25-point hole with only four rounds remaining, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was in dire need of a win. With the support of nearly 50,000 fans on his side, what better place than his home race to swing the momentum pendulum in his favor? But for the fifth consecutive race Dungey found himself in an early hole as Villopoto quickly garnered the early lead from MotoConcepts Mike Alessi. With Villopoto up front, and Dungey fending off surprise heat one winner Josh Hill, it appeared that Villopoto would march to a sixth consecutive victory, leaving little doubt as to who would be celebrating the championship in Vegas.
As he’s shown over the last five races, Dungey’s intensity level was on par with RV’s, but would he be able to track down the champion was the question? As the laps began to trickle away, Dungey slowly began to reel in RV. He gained nearly half a second a lap in the midst of a five lap span at the mid-way point. We had witnessed the same thing in Indianapolis, where Dungey caught RV but was unable to make anything stick. And for a while it looked like we were headed in the same direction. Dungey would pressure Villopoto, only to have the door shut. But Dungey began using a different line than Villopoto in a certain section, this time in a split-lane section (where Dungey would take the outside line), and with three laps to go he knifed to the inside of Villopoto to take the lead for the first time all night, sending a packed H.H.H. Metrodome into a frenzy. Villopoto would take the fight back to Dungey, repassing him, but the hometown kid was able to get him back in the whoops and outlast the pressure to win his first race since Anaheim III.
Oh, this one was really good.
Dungey closed in...
...and RV figured out ways to counter.
When Dungey finally got the lead, Villopoto kept it close.
Boom. That's 48,849 very happy Minnesota fans.
“It feels amazing to get a win here in front of my hometown. I have so many great fans here, and of course, all my friends and family. My bike was running perfect tonight and I felt really comfortable all day. I hope to take the momentum of this win into the final rounds and hopefully land back on the top step of the podium a few more times,” commented Dungey.
Villopoto would hang onto second and still holds a 22-point lead over Dungey. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps, who is still bothered by an injured knee, would ride to a quiet third. Justin Barcia finished fourth, with Chad Reed, who is two weeks removed from knee surgery, coming home in fifth. Andrew Short, Trey Canard, Hill, Justin Brayton, and Weston Peick would round out the top ten.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, who had a big crash in his heat, was battling for fourth when he tweaked his wrist and pulled out of the race. He is scheduled to have his wrist checked on Monday. We should know more at that time.
The banner night for KTM actually started well before Dungey’s historic win, as his 250 running mate, Marvin Musquin, glided to fourth win of the season—his fourth win in the last five races.
Musquin took command of the race early and never relinquished it, as he led all 15 laps in Minneapolis. Points leader Wil Hahn found himself locked in a battle with last weeks winner Blake Wharton early and was never able to recover, finishing a distant second behind Musquin on his GEICO Honda. Wharton, on a Rockstar Energy Racing bike, also had a heated battle with Tyler Bowers that ended with Wharton making a hard pass for third, taking Bowers down in the process. Wharton finished third. MotoConcepts' Gavin Faith would take home fourth, a career best. Bowers rebounded to finish fifth on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, with Lance Vincent, Vince Friese, AJ Catanzaro, Steven Clarke, and Cole Thompson rounding out the top ten.
And Musquin makes it a KTM sweep!
Hahn rode well but wasn't a threat to Musquin.
The Bowers/Wharton battle for the final podium spot got a little ugly, courtesy of a rough pass from Wharton.
The East Region now takes a two-week break, as the West Region returns in Seattle next weekend. Hahn now sits on a five-point lead with only the season finale in Vegas left to play out.
1. R. Dungey
2. R. Villopoto
3. D. Millsaps
4. J. Barcia
5. C. Reed
6. A. Short
7. T. Canard
8. J. Hill
9. J. Brayton
10. W. Peick
11. M. Goerke
12. J. Weimer
13. B. Tickle
14. M. Alessi
15. C. Blose
16. R. Kiniry
17. B. Lamay
18. J. Stewart
19. P. Nicoletti
20. L. Smith
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 299
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 277
- Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 276
- Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 220
- Chad Reed, Australia, Honda, 212
- Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 199
- Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 177
- James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 174
- Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha, 149
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 141
1. M. Musquin
2. W. Hahn
3. B. Wharton
4. G. Faith
5. T. Bowers
6. L. Vincent
7. V. Friese
8. A. Catanzaro
9. S. Clarke
10. C. Thompson
11. M. Oldenburg
12. J. Richardson
13. D. Herrlein
14. L. Powell
15. L. Kilbarger
16. A. Gulley
17. O. Barbaree
18. M. Malatia
19. Z. Williams
20. D. Buller
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Season Standings
- Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 178
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 173
- Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki, 153
- Vince Friese, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Honda, 103
- Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Honda, 100
- Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki, 87
- Cole Thompson, Canada, Honda, 83
- Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Honda, 78
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 71
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki, 68