Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto takes the AMA Supercross title in Las Vegas showdown…
How often in sport does the big showdown not live up to the hype? I’d say most of the time – the big fight that goes to a listless decision, the big match that plays out a 0-0 draw, another American des Nations win. Motocross is not immune but the Las Vegas finale of the 2011 AMA Supercross season is the exception that proves the rule – it’s a belter.
Three men – Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey – come in with a genuine tilt at the crown with James Stewart waiting in the wings should the three favourites stumble. But it’s Mike Alessi who takes the holeshot ahead of Kevin Windham so when Stewart comes charging up to join battle K-Dub refuses to yield. Stewart manages to find his way by eventually but Windham is on him like a dog on a piece of meat – his tenacity costs him though as Stewart takes a header through the whoops and Windham collects Stewart’s Yamaha in passing.
This leaves the three championship leaders at the head of the pack with everything to play for. Villopoto leads but is under heavy pressure from Reed – the Australian is ready to fight, battling through into the lead before Villopoto retaliates to recover the top spot as Dungey closes in to join the fun. But for Villopoto – who knows that his advantage will allow him to take the title no matter what as long as he finishes in the top five – backs it off a notch to sensibly reverse out of the battle. This leaves Reed and Dungey battling elbow to elbow for a consolation win with Reed hanging on to take the chequers by a nose. Villopoto’s third is enough to take the title from Reed with Dungey third in his defence of the crown.
In the East Coast 250F title clash Justin Barcia seals the title after series rival Dean Wilson makes a woeful start and is unable to climb back through the pack. Barcia takes third after falling while in the lead – the podium spot behind Blake Baggett and Ryan Sipes enough to clinch the crown. The West Coast decider sees contenders Broc Tickle and Eli Tomac spend the race battling together through traffic as Ken Roczen takes his first Supercross win. Tickle and Tomac are rarely apart but when they cross the line Tickle’s second beats Tomac’s fourth to title glory. The East/West shootout race sees Sipes take the win ahead of Cole Seeley and Roczen.