Washington’s Ryan Villopoto won the day at round three of the United States Motocross Championships at High Point at the weekend but Australian Chad Reed continues to lead the open class title chase.
In the 250 class, Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, from California, captured his second win in three races, sweeping both motos.
Coming into the weekend, Villopoto had managed back-to-back third-place results through the first two rounds. He started the day off at High Point with a dominating performance in the opening moto, finishing in the top spot for the first time in 2011, over eight seconds ahead of Suzuki’s defending champion, Ryan Dungey.
Just prior to the start of Moto 2, a rain shower moved through the area, turning the track to mud.
KTM’s Mike Alessi grabbed the early lead, only to crash and hand the position to Honda’s Reed.
From there, Reed, the current championship points leader and winner of the previous two rounds, maintained the position to collect his fourth moto win of 2011. Villopoto followed in second to secure the overall, while Dungey’s third-place finish in the moto landed him in the runner-up spot for the day. Reed (5-1) rounded out the overall podium in third.
“It’s nice to get my first win in a long time,” said Villopoto, whose only previous victory in the class came in his 450 division debut in 2009. “I didn’t feel good at Hangtown, but I felt good at Texas – I just didn’t have it. We had a weekend off and the team did a lot of testing.
“Now, I can ride my bike the way I need to ride it. I showed that in the first moto, but obviously the second moto was a little different with the mud. I just tried to get a good start and ride decent. The track got better, but it also got slippery. We had to be cautious the whole moto. Now, we’ll go to Budds Creek, and I’m happy to be where we’re at (in the championship).”
Villopoto gained six points on Reed in the 450 Class standings, and now sits 15 points out of the lead.
After an impressive performance to open the 250 Class season with a win at Hangtown, Baggett showed even more dominance at High Point. The second-year rider completed the first lap of Moto 1 in ninth, and worked his way through the field for the remainder of the 30-minute race. On Lap 13, he took over the lead from Honda’s Darryn Durham and carried it through to the finish.
In Moto 2, Baggett capitalised on a good start to grab the top spot early. On Lap 6, he crashed, handing the lead to his team-mate Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, and dropping to third. Despite his misfortune, Baggett refused to settle, fighting his way back into the lead with just three laps remaining to finish the day with perfect 1-1 moto scores.
“In the first moto I had my work cut out for me,” said Baggett. “I waited until halfway and put on a late charge. In the second moto, it was muddy, and I had a brain fade and just went down. After that, I just went for it. I didn’t know what Tyla (Rattray) had done in the first moto, so I just knew that a 1-1 would win. We actually had a battle there for a while, but I ended up getting around him. I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
Rattray (3-2) followed in second, for his third straight podium finish of the season, while Honda’s Eli Tomac finished third (6-3). By virtue of his finish, Rattray now moves into the 250 Class points lead, two points ahead of his team-mate, Dean Wilson, of Scotland.
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend with Round 4 of the 2011 season at Budd’s Creek, Maryland.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Results from round 3 of 12:
450 Class (Moto Finish)
Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-2)
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (2-3)
Chad Reed, Australia, Honda (5-1)
Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (4-4)
Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (3-9)
Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda (6-5)
Tommy Hahn, Great Bend, Kan., Yamaha (10-7)
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Suzuki (8-10)
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (7-11)
Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha (14-8)
450 Class Championship Standings
Chad Reed, Australia, Honda – 138
Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 123
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 111
Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha – 104
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Suzuki – 88
Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda – 76
Ricky Dietrich, Snohomish, Wash., Yamaha – 72
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 68
Tommy Hahn, Great Bend, Kan., Yamaha – 65
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 59
250 Class (Moto Finish)
Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki (1-1)
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (3-2)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (6-3)
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (2-8)
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki (10-4)
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (8-7)
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (11-5)
Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha (5-11)
Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Honda (4-14)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (13-6)
250 Class Championship Standings
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki – 127
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki – 125
Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki – 116
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda – 104
Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha – 90
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda – 79
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 68
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki – 67
Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha – 61
Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Suzuki – 53