Revolver: RV's Thoughts on Supercross

Revolver RV's Thoughts on Supercross

Remember Ryan Villopoto? When we last saw RV here he had just wrapped up his fourth straight 450SX title and was going under the knife, which would force him out of the 2014 450MX season. He attempted a MXGP season in 2015, but due to injury he retired after competing in just four rounds. RV’s still around here and there, doing promotional work for Kawasaki and his long-time sponsors. He also keeps tabs on the sport from his home base in Washington.

I caught up with Ryan while he was on his lunch break at work. Yes, you read that right. Villopoto has taken a job two to three days a week using his tractor and grader to help his buddies driveway business. He’s also going for his CDL license any day now, he’s going to be a dad to twins and he seems very happy with his life.

Like all of us, he’s been watching the just completed 2016 Monster Energy Supercross Championship and has some thoughts and musings on what happened. Without further adieu, here is RV’s perspective on what happened this year.

Racer X: On Ryan Dungey winning the 450SX title…
Ryan Villopoto: ”Even when I was racing, Dungey was the guy that you could count on being there every single weekend. So as a competitor, as a racer, just as I’m sure [Ken] Roczen or Eli [Tomac] asked the question, how do you beat him? Because he is so consistent. I think a big part of it is number one you have to be consistent, but I don’t see anybody out there being more consistent than him, so then you have to win more races than him. You have to have sheer speed.

You have to try and break him via pure speed. When I raced him I was pretty consistent, but I would think he was on the podium more than I was. You’d have to go back and look, I feel like he was really consistent but I won way more races, which got me the title.”

On Dungey working with his old trainer Aldon Baker…
I don’t take anything away from Ryan. He’s the best guy right now by quite a ways. But look at his program, look at him as a rider and how much more confidence he has. He didn’t have that when I was racing and I had Aldon. So I had the whole package, and now he’s got the whole package. You ask how much has Aldon helped? I think the results show themselves how much that’s helped, which is a lot.

I talk to him [Baker] all the time. I think around Anaheim 1 or 2 me and Dungey and Aldon went to dinner. Everything’s cool with him and I. He’s got to get a job, right? He’s got to move on. I moved on, so he’s got to move on.

"Dungey’s program as a whole, with Aldon and everything, you can’t beat it." Cudby

On Dungey doing less with Baker than he did on his own…
“I’ve talked to Aldon a little bit and when they first started working together. I said, how is he, and so on? What do you think of the program? Ryan is one of those guys that he wouldn’t stop searching until he found it, no matter what. I was kind of opposite. If I searched for a while, and if I couldn’t find it, I’m like, f**k it. I’m over it. So it was more of a problem for Dungey. I think he would go to bed thinking about “How can I beat RV?” or “What can I change?” Instead of going to bed and just getting a good night’s rest and knowing everything’s taken care of. Aldon takes care of all that for you.”

On Dungey being so dominant this year…
“I’m not surprised at how much better he is than the other guys. They put in a lot of work. KTM, they put in a sh** ton of work also. Dungey’s program as a whole, with Aldon and everything, you can’t beat it. If everything goes well and you have no injuries or bike problems, stuff that’s not in your control, you’ve got to be dumb to bet against him.”

On Ken Roczen’s season…
“It was just okay. I was expecting for him to be better. But you can’t start the season that far off. You can’t start the season and be that far behind in points right away and that far off. Sure, he had a couple good runs there but he only won a few races. That’s the perfect scenario. When I raced Dungey, he won three or four races or whatever it was, and I won 11. There you go. How’s that going to work out? It’s not going to work. I expected him to be better.”

On Roczen leaving Baker’s program…
“The results speak for themselves so far. He hasn’t won, and I’m not saying that Kenny can’t find a trainer that could train him and put a program together for him to where he couldn’t be competitive, but really, to be honest, finding really good trainers for our sport is hard.”

"You can’t start the season and be that far behind in points right away and that far off. " Cudby

On Roczen’s late season surge…
“I think at one of the races where Dungey could have wrapped it up, in Boston, he got third, and Kenny won. I’ve raced Dungey plenty enough. In my situation, you go to a race and you know you can wrap it up, there’s definitely more nerves than not. I’m not trying to take the win away from him, or the bike setup, sure that might have helped, but I think that he looked at the situation and kind of figured out he was pretty far off and maybe started putting more effort into it, training more and riding more and got better. But it’s not enough. It’s way too late.”

On Eli Tomac’s season…
“That was, by far, I think everybody’s biggest shocker. I don’t think anybody was expecting that. I know he’s young. He hasn’t switched between a lot of teams. I didn’t switch any teams, but switched to a new bike. He’s figuring it out. Obviously it wasn’t the year that anybody thought that he was going to have. I didn’t think he was going to win, but I at least thought he would be fighting for podiums every weekend. I was expecting that. I’m not betting against Dungey for the title as long as he’s racing, put it that way. Eli’s got a big contract and that could be pressure—everyone’s different in how they handle that. It didn’t bother me but I can see others who it did.”

On Jason Anderson’s season…
“I thought it was decent. I think there are probably some people out there that thought he was going to do really well. I thought he was going to do well but I also knew he was going to be up and down. So for me, it was what I was kind of expecting. Maybe he could have been a little more consistent but nothing shocking in either way. He needs to mature and get way more consistency under his belt before he can be a title guy. And I’m sure he can. He showed consistency in the Lites class. He has it, but will he ever get it in the 450 class? I don’t know.”

On why he and Dungey never got into very aggressive passes…
There’s already so many other things you have to try to worry about and try to control that making enemies out there, that’s just another thing you’ve got to add to your plate to watch out for. So if you can get the job done without being dirty or without being too aggressive, then that’s what you should do because that alleviates something else you’ve got to be worried about. You’re always a little bit worried about it but you never know what’s going to happen. You can’t just leave the insides blatantly open. There’s so many other things you’ve got to worry about. Don’t make enemies and have to worry about that also.

I know for a fact I’m not very good at it (aggressive passing), and I know Dungey is not good at it either. We’ve both kind of in the same book right there. We both aren’t very good at playing that game. And that’s not a factor of winning or losing a championship. That’s not going to change it in the end.”

On Chad Reed…
“Chad’s still plugging away. He’s still up there fighting for the podium. That’s really all you can ask for. I know he wants to win or feels like he can and he wants to be really, really back up front and winning, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. But he’s still up there fighting for podiums, and on a really damn good day he’s up there in second and maybe really close to first. Chad has to think that he can win because if you’re not thinking that way you’re never going to get there. You’ve got to think positive. But he’s still out there doing a pretty good job.”

On racing Reed for a supercross title…
“The year that he got hurt was the year that he probably had it going the best since the Stew/RC years…I don’t know, maybe ask him what he thought. But I would say he was possibly at his best. So he was really good. I wouldn’t say I worried about him too much. I would be more worried about Stew for whatever reason.”

“I was always worried about Stew just because you never knew what you could get.
“I was always worried about Stew just because you never knew what you could get." Cudby

On Dungey’s losing a race win for jumping on a red-cross…
“I didn’t really see what happened but I heard about it. All I know is in Dungey’s shoes and when I was racing, that’s the last thing we’re worried about is trying to make up speed. So 100 percent he didn’t see it or the light wasn’t on, or it was in-between. Whatever he said happened was probably what exactly happened.”

On his surprises in the 450SX class…
“I’d say Marvin Musquin. Marvin rode good. He almost got a race win. He almost got landed on in the same race also! I don’t want to say you expect them to do that but he did surprise me a bit. Again, like Dungey he’s got the solid program up and down so you expect him to be good.”

On James Stewart…
“I was always worried about Stew just because you never knew what you could get. Dungey you knew who he was, what he was going to eat for breakfast in the morning, and everything. You could play his whole day out as a racer. But Stew you never knew what you were going to get. But now…he’s obviously racing for some reason, whatever reason that is. He thinks he can still win, I don’t know. I came in one year out of shape and it wasn’t pretty. It ended up bad. That was shocking. For Stewart to finish one round out of 17, I don’t have any words for that. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. That’s how bizarre it is.”