Two weeks ago at historic High Point Raceway, riders patiently waited through torrential rain on Saturday and were rewarded with abundant sunshine for Sunday’s races. When all was said and done, the series’ two point leaders and most dominant riders in Monster Energy Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto stood on top.
Despite missing out on the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award in both motos, Stewart made quick work passing his competitors to cruise to the overall victory and remain a perfect 8-0 in motos for the season. One year ago, he took his only overall victory of the season at Thunder Valley and with the introduction of night racing, he is excited about what the weekend might bring.
“It should be fun,” stated Stewart. ”I’m glad we get to practice on Friday night, so we can make changes if we need to. Right now I just want to go out and have fun. My goal is to win, but I want to have fun.”
“I’m riding really good,” said Ferry. “Kawasaki has given me a great bike and I just need to get some better starts. The lights should be good. It will be different riding flat out when it is dark, but I think we’ll be up front.”
In AMA Motocross Lites, Villopoto extended his moto winning streak to seven and continues to build on his early points lead. He earned the overall win in Lakewood in 2006, and despite showing some mixed emotions about the night race in the post-race conference at High Point, he is looking to continue moving forward.
“I just want to keep making my gap to second bigger,” explained Villopoto. “My goal all along has been a third title and we are on the right path. I just need to go out and keep doing what I’ve been doing and everything should work out.”
Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Austin Stroupe and Brett Metcalfe head into Colorado after solid performances in Pennsylvania. Stroupe battled back from adversity in the first moto to wrap-up a 9-3 moto performance and fourth overall. Metcalfe followed in fifth after finishing seventh and fourth in the day’s motos. While he suffered a shoulder injury in training, Metcalfe will be race-ready on Saturday evening.
In the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki camp Mike Alessi and Ryan Dungey each earned podium finishes at High Point. Alessi swept the BTOSports.com Holeshot Awards yet again and managed to hold off the hard-charging Stewart to lead a lap. Last year at Thunder Valley, he was part of a great four-way battle for the victory, walking away with 3-3 moto finishes and second overall.
“For the last two weeks I have been training in high altitude to get ready for the Colorado race,” said Alessi. “I really like the track at Thunder Valley, though I am a little iffy on the night race because I feel motocross is not supposed to be at night. The real, true motocross is when it’s hot and you have to work for the position you are in. I’m afraid the night race might make everyone even, which could make for great racing, but at the same time it is not true motocross.”
Dungey experienced his first real test of the 2008 season at Mount Morris when Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence tangled with the Suzuki rider in the first moto, sending the #28 bike to the ground. He would rebound for a sixth place finish in that moto and proceeded to earn second in moto two, leading him to third-place overall. While he showed speed and competitiveness in Lakewood last year, a mechanical failure led to a disappointing 11th-place finish a year ago.
“Basically, I went home for a few days and just hung out,” explained Dungey. “Then I came back to Florida and got a good week of riding in before heading to the Thunder Valley race. I feel good, I feel ready and I feel like I’ve done all I can to get ready for this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”
Rebounding from a tough crash in Texas, Dungey’s AMA Motocross Lites teammate Nico Izzi experienced opposite ends of the spectrum in Pennsylvania, but he left the weekend with his best career moto finish, capitalizing on a great start in moto one to finish third. A tough 15th place showing in moto two resulted in eighth overall.
At Red Bull Honda, Davi Millsaps led the way for the red bikes, finishing third in both motos to garner his second podium finish of the season. One of the four competitors gunning for the top spot at Thunder Valley one year ago, he was able to take the win in the race’s first moto.
Teammate Andrew Short returns to his hometown this weekend and is hungrier than ever to grab his first career victory. His recent run of solid rides continued at High Point where he put together back-to-back fifth place runs. At this track last season, he was in contention for the overall victory throughout both motos, bringing home second and fourth place finishes for third overall.
In AMA Motocross Lites, it was a breakthrough weekend for Geico Powersports Honda’s Jake Weimer in Mount Morris. An outstanding start in the first moto led to second place in the first moto, with Weimer showing perseverance after washing out early on. In the second moto, he maintained a solid pace to bring the bike home in fifth and take a career-best second-place overall. After a less than stellar performance in Colorado last season, the much faster and more mature Weimer will hope to turn things around Saturday.
Interview opportunities are available to the media by contacting AMA Toyota Motocross Championship media coordinator Brandon Short via email at Media@MXNationals.com or by phone at 951-203-2605.
For more information on the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship, presented by FMF, log on to www.amamotocross.com for live timing and scoring at @theWireLIVE!. Racer X Illustrated will host a new and improved webcast on www.motocross.com, with live racing action hosted by Jason Weigandt. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com has also been added on Saturday night of each race weekend, featuring practice footage and interviews taken earlier in the day.
Credential requests for each round of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF must be submitted via email to Media@MXNationals.com three weeks prior to the race. Media members interested in interviews with the riders of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF should contact Brandon at 951-203-2605 or email Media@MXNationals.com.