450 Words: The Outsider

450 Words: The Outsider

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By winning both motos in the 450 Class at the debut Built Ford Tough Utah National, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto secured his name in the record books—again. RV now has eight major titles, tying him for second on the all-time AMA list for supercross and motocross with none other than Jeremy McGrath. Villopoto has three Monster Energy Supercross titles, three 250 MX titles, and now a pair of 450 MX crowns. (For the record, McGrath won a record seven SX titles and one 250 MX title.) In my opinion, he must now be considered one of the all-time greats in our sport, both indoors and outdoors, in the company of McGrath, Bob “Hurricane” Hannah, Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, and of course Ricky Carmichael. But that's a discussion for another time.

After the race, as Villopoto pulled into the winner's circle to celebrate with his team, runner-up Ryan Dungey—the reigning champion until that moment—followed him to the podium, then came Trey Canard. Both are first-class sportsmen, factory stars, hardworking men, and superb role models, just like Villopoto. They all belonged there at the podium—no surprise there.

But it was the next guy who pulled in who really grabbed our attention. Weston Peick was not the man anyone might have expected to be the highest-finishing Suzuki rider in the race that served as that brand’s fiftieth anniversary in America. Yet there was Peick, a full-on privateer with just a few sponsors, finishing fourth overall on a Suzuki RM-Z450 that he bought and outfitted with some Yoshimura parts. Peick went 5-5 in the two motos, on a very difficult and rough track that was new to everyone. Did I mention he had to bump-start the bike right before the card went up?

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Peick cracks a smile after his fourth overall performance at the Utah National.
DC photo

A full-on motocross mercenary chasing prize money and sponsors however and wherever he can, Peick had driven from California to Utah in his van with a borrowed trailer, and his mechanic was not his dad, Louie, but his friend Dave Cruz. So when the race ended and the NBC Sports crew waved him in to wait for an interview, Weston handed his bike to his mechanic, walked over and grabbed a bottle of water from the podium cooler, and then just sat down and waited. His friends/sponsors Max Steffans from Fly Racing and Brian Fleck from Dunlop took turns patting him on the back and switching out his hats, Weston smiling just a little, revealing a hint of personal pride in what would be a huge accomplishment for anyone who has ever ridden a motocross bike.

For you old-timers, bench-racers, and all-around moto heads, there is a comparison here: Weston Peick is the modern-day “Rocket” Rex Staten. That says a lot about a young man who may say very little about himself but leaves it all out on the track.

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