Racer X Race Report: Salt Lake City

Racer X
Race Report Salt Lake City

April 28, 2013 2:40am

Pressure was the name of the game in Salt Lake City’s next-to-last round of Monster Energy Supercross. From championship scenarios wreaking havoc on the younger set in the 250 class, to steely-eyed determination by veterans who left it all out there in the 450 division, there was tension in the air all night long, and that led to a spectacular set of races.

In the 450s, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey knew they had to beat Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto if they wanted to keep their title hopes alive, and they gave it all they had. Villopoto looked vulnerable at times, as Millsaps railed to the fastest times in both practices and then caught, passed and beat Villopoto straight up in their heat race. Then in the main event, Dungey tucked inside and grabbed the holeshot. The champ was on the ropes, but swung back decisively with a block pass on Dungey to take the lead.

Millsaps was quickly up to third, and his speed in the whoops was impressive. He passed Dungey and then went to work on Villopoto like he had in the heat race, charging and charging and charging, getting a 2.4 second gap down to about 1.5. Mistakes by all three all leaders allowed that gap to fluctuate, as they were absolutely pinned all the way around the track.

Behind them, the Honda Muscle Milk duo of Trey Canard and Justin Barcia rode solidly inside the top five, but they weren’t able to match the pace of the title contenders ahead.

The 450 pack blasts off.

Villopoto endured major pressure from Millsaps nearly the whole way but never cracked.

The top three absolutely pushed to the limit.

Boom! Three times the supercross champ!
Cudby photos

Ultimately, Millsaps got up to Villopoto’s rear tire once during a desperate drive through the whoops, and he got right inside the Kawasaki ride as they sailed over the finish line jump. Villopoto fought him off and found something extra, getting just a little bit of gap back. The champion seemed to be a little quicker in some corners, and he picked up his speed just slightly in the whoops to fend of Millsaps’ attacks through there. It was close, but in the end Villopoto seized a clutch victory, and with that enough points to clinch the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, his third-straight. Only three other riders, Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, have won three-straight SX crowns.

Millsaps and Dungey finished second and third, leaving it all out there. All three podium riders admitted their heart rates were maxed out, and Millsaps said he had nothing left at the checkered flag—they had all truly given it everything they had.

You’re probably not even going to believe what happened in the 250 SX class tonight from Salt Lake City. We’ll write it out, but it’s up to you to digest it.

The 250 West SX points leader, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, went down in the first turn of his heat race, then had a few more bobbles trying to come through the pack, and decided to pull off the track and head to the pits. It was a curious choice that resulted in a poor gate pick in the LCQ, and the racing Gods responded with the requisite LCQ first turn crash. Roczen got caught in it, and his work was cut out for him. He quickly moved through the traffic, but the four-lap race doesn’t allow much time to catch up, and he ended up third, missing the main. It was a shocking scenario that put wind back in the championship sails of GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac for the main.

Things got crazy for Roczen.

But Tomac couldn't take full advantage.

Anderson (21) got around Osborne and took off for his first career win.

Seely rode well for second.
Cudby photos

But Tomac didn’t seem himself in SLC, carding only tenth in practice, and going down off the start in his heat. In the main, GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne got the holeshot and Tomac was second, but Jason Anderson quickly passed them both to take off with the lead. The Rockstar Energy Racing-backed Anderson logged solid laps while leading, while Tomac started struggling, especially in the whoops, and started dropping multiple positions. At one point, he was clinging to the top ten, points falling through his fingers.

Anderson’s closest competition came from Lucas Oil Troy Lee Honda’s Cole Seely, who was on the gas in second. Eventually, Anderson drew away from Seely, while Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos moved into third. They finished in that order, with Anderson notching his first career win.

As for Tomac, the whoops were leading to his undoing, but late in the race he was able to salvage something, passing a few riders back and getting into seventh. Then Osborne crashed in the whoops and threw it away, putting Tomac in sixth. He made up some ground on Roczen, but not as much as he would have wanted.  After the race, Tomac simply said he was struggling, and didn't make any excusese. Roczen, similarly, took it on the chin, admitting that he shouldn't have pulled out of the heat race, because it gave him a bad gate pick. Roczen holds a five-point lead heading into next weekend’s Vegas finale.

Main Event
1. R. Villopoto
2. D. Millsaps
3. R. Dungey
4. T. Canard
5. J. Barcia
6. J. Brayton
7. J. Hill
8. A. Short
9. W. Peick
10. C. Reed
11. B. Tickle
12. B. Lamay
13. J. Weimer
14. R. Kiniry
15. P. Nicoletti
16. V. Friese
17. C. Blose
18. C. Gilmore
19. A. Enticknap
20. K. Partridge

Heat 1
1. R. Dungey
2. T. Canard
3. A. Short
4. B. Tickle
5. W. Peick
6. J. Brayton
7. V. Friese
8. R. Kiniry
9. A. Enticknap
10. A. Howell
11. C. Gilmore
12.  T. Tapia
13. S. Wennerstrom
14. M. Alcorn
15. J. O'Driscoll
16. C. Howell
17. C. Jurin
18. J. Hicks
19. C. Reed
20. P. Anthony

Heat 2
1. D. Millsaps
2. R. Villopoto
3. J. Hill
4. J. Barcia
5. B. Lamay
6. K. Partridge
7. C. Blose
8. P. Nicoletti
9. J. Weimer
10. N. Schmidt
11. D. Pipes
12. L. Powell
13. G. Crater
14. M. Akaydin
15. J. Oswald
16. J. Greco
17. C. Schlacht
18. K. Regal
19. R. Stewart
20. W. Van Olden

1. C. Reed
2. C. Gilmore
3. K. Regal
4. N. Schmidt
5. J. Oswald
6. D. Pipes
7. G. Crater
8. A. Howell
9. M. Alcorn
10. T. Tapia
11. M. Akaydin
12. C. Howell
13. J. O'Driscoll
14. C. Jurin
15. J. Greco
16. J. Hicks
17. L. Powell
18. S. Wennerstrom
19. R. Stewart
20. P. Anthony
21. C. Schlacht
22. W. Van Olden

450SX Class Season Standings

1.    Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 346
2.    Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 318
3.    Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 315
4.    Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 261
5.    Chad Reed, Australia, Honda, 224
6.    Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 220
7.    Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 202
8.    Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha, 177
9.    James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 174
10.    Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 165
Main Event
1. J. Anderson
2. C. Seely
3. M. Davalos
4. M. Stewart
5. C. Craig
6. E. Tomac
7. R. Sipes
8. T. Rattray
9. J. Savatgy
10. T. Baker
11. K. Cunningham
12. Z. Osborne
13. D. Tedder
14. T. Ingalls
15. S. Champion
16. T. Bereman
17. C. Hinson
18. R. Johnson
19. A. Politelli
20. B. Hall

Heat 1
1. M. Davalos
2. Z. Osborne
3. J. Savatgy
4. A. Politelli
5. E. Tomac
6. C. Craig
7. C. Seely
8. D. Tedder
9. B. Hall
10. A. Siminoe
11. J. Buller
12. C. Plouffe
13. C. Gores
14. K. Swanson
15. B. Stewart
16. K. Weisbruch
17. B. Scharer
18. G. Steinke
19. C. Church
20. D. Pulley

Heat 2
1. M. Stewart
2. J. Anderson
3. T. Rattray
4. R. Sipes
5. K. Cunningham
6. T. Bereman
7. C. Hinson
8. R. Johnson
9. S. Champion
10. K. Rusk
11. T. Ingalls
12. A. Burns
13. A. Nagy
14. T. Sawyer
15. T. Bright
16. S. Rhinehart
17. T. Baker
18. C. Young
19. K. Roczen
20. J. Canada

1. T. Baker
2. T. Ingalls
3. K. Roczen
4. A. Siminoe
5. B. Scharer
6. A. Burns
7. B. Stewart
8. K. Weisbruch
9. A. Nagy
10. C. Church
11. T. Bright
12. K. Rusk
13. J. Buller
14. K. Swanson
15. C. Young
16. D. Pulley
17. T. Sawyer
18. S. Rhinehart
19. G. Steinke
20. J. Canada
21. C. Plouffe
22. C. Gores


Western Regional 250SX Class Points
1.    Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM, 163
2.    Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 158
3.    Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 135
4.    Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 124
5.    Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Kawasaki, 114
6.    Zach Osborne, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda, 111
7.    Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 96
8.    Christian Craig, Wildomar, Calif., Honda, 87
9.    Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 87
10.    Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM, 87