AURORA, Ill. (February 17, 2012) – Tomorrow night, Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium will play host to its third Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, race as defending Supercross Class Champion Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., looks for his third consecutive win and fourth of the 2012 season.
In capturing his 18th career Supercross Class win last weekend, Villopoto extended his points lead to six heading into the seventh stop of the 17-race season. Villopoto has yet to win in the premier class at Cowboys Stadium, but did capture a Supercross Lites Class win in 2006 when the race was held at Texas Stadium, in Dallas. No stranger to racing in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, Villopoto knows that this track’s dirt is much different than others on the circuit.
“The dirt in San Diego is tough,” said Villopoto after the race. “There are a few tracks that you want to get through safe and San Diego was one of those for me. (Arlington) is another track that tends to be a bit different from the rest. It’s really hard packed and requires a unique bike set-up, so I’ll be looking to be smooth and fast to try to get the win.”
Currently second behind Villopoto is two-time Supercross Class Champion Chad Reed, who has one win on the season. Reed and Villopoto entertained the San Diego crowd with a late-race battle, and the same type of action is expected tomorrow night. TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Reed holds the record for most Supercross Class wins in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area with four, and last weekend, he notched his 119th career podium finish with his second place effort.
“I am really happy that I rode a solid 20 lap race tonight,” said Reed after the main event in San Diego. “I found myself being a little lazy in the turns and knew I’d have to stay strong and fight for it, if I wanted a chance at the win. The battle between Villopoto and I was good, but he was a little more aggressive than I was. It’s exciting to be headed east and back to Florida with my family. With the changes we have made throughout the West Coast events, we’re hoping for a successful rest of the season.”
JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., finished a disappointing 15th place, his worst finish of the season, and lost some valuable championship points. The former two-time Supercross Class Champion is, however, the only rider in the field that has won in the Supercross Class and Supercross Lites Class in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, capturing premier class wins in 2005 and 2007; his Supercross Lites Class win came in 2003.
“This has been a challenging season so far,” said Stewart. “I actually felt really good during the race last week, but another small thing caused a big problem. It sucks, but that’s where we’re at. San Diego is in the past now, and we have spent a lot of time looking at where we’re at and setting up for the next few races to be strong ones.”
Team Honda Muscle Milk rider Justin Brayton showed impressive strength Saturday night after coming back from a bad crash in qualifying to finish sixth overall in the main event.
“It was a tough day for me with that crash in qualifying,” said Brayton. “After not knowing if I was going to be able to ride at all the rest of the night I am happy with my sixth place finish. I am ready for Dallas and want to continue to build on my finishes the last few weeks.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer had a long night in San Diego. A crash in the heat race sent him to the LCQ, which he won. He nearly earned the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot in the main event, but later would suffer a couple crashes, ending his night in 20th place.
“It was a pretty wild night,” said Weimer. “It looked like I was going to have a good result once the gate dropped for the main, but things didn’t go my way. Each week I show that I have the speed to be up front, so I’m ready for Dallas and just want to race.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle had an up-and-down night in San Diego. After showing speed in the heat race, where he came back from a first-turn crash to qualify, the main event did not go as planned. The whoops claimed riders every lap and would take Tickle down twice, finishing 18th.
“I didn’t have the greatest night,” said a disappointed Tickle. “I haven’t ridden the East Coast since 2007, so my main goal is to just improve and ride to my potential.”
GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham also had a disappointing end to his night after riding strong all day, finishing 16th.
“The track was pretty difficult,” said Windham. “The whoops ate a lot of people in the main and unfortunately I was one of them. I felt good the first 17 laps and the GECIO Honda was running great, which makes me feel confident that I am inching closer and closer to the podium. It is frustrating though, having such a good ride and then making one mistake that puts you on the ground. I am looking forward to next weekend and heading east.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe was truly in his element in San Diego. The Australian native not only captured his first main event holeshot at Qualcomm Stadium, he also raced his Yoshimura-prepared RM-Z450 to an outstanding fourth-place finish. This excellent effort marks Metcalfe’s best result of the season and also moves him up in the overall championship point standings.
“It was a good night,” said Metcalfe. “We were able to put in some work this week and get the set-up back to what we were comfortable with and what we know works. The Yoshimura Suzuki RMZ-450 really worked great all weekend. I was still a little bit off in practice, but in the heat races and the main, I came through. I got good starts, which helped out, and I was able to ride strong. I qualified third in the heat race and got a good gate pick, so I got where I wanted to be, and ripped the holeshot. That was my first holeshot of the year, so I’m really pumped with that. I rode solid, and I rode as hard as I could, and we got a fourth. I’m looking forward to Arlington. It’s always a really tough, technical track and I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going.”
TiLUBE/Foremost Insurance Kawasaki’s Nick Wey finished eighth in his heat race and captured a coveted top-10 result in San Diego. Wey’s finish in the Supercross Class was his best this season, and the Michigan native hopes to build on last week’s success.
“The San Diego race went pretty well for me,” said Wey. “I was able to overcome so-so starts and pass a bunch of guys in both my heat and the main, where I got 10th. This was my best finish of the season, but I’m still going to work on a few things this week and try to improve overall. I’m thankful to everyone behind me and I’ll just try to keep improving from here. I’m really looking forward to Dallas and intend to keep improving on my results.”
Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil/ Honda’s Cole Seely made his way to the podium for a second-consecutive week with a second place finish in the Supercross Lites Class Main Event.
“The night went really well for me,” said Seely. “I am happy with a podium heading into the break, as well as sitting way better in the points chase.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson could not have been more excited with the win in San Diego last Saturday. Coming into the race, Wilson was 22 points behind the leader in the championship standings. Wilson went out and led every lap of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class Main Event to take the win and take over the points lead by two points.
“The night went brilliant,” said an overjoyed Wilson. “The difference this weekend was that my goal was to just go out and have fun, that’s when I ride my best. We’ve got a nine-week break but that doesn’t mean the work stops. I’ll be riding some outdoors, but I’ll also keep pushing it in supercross and keep a solid program throughout the break. I’m only two points ahead so it’s still going to be tough.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Supercross Lites East Region teammates Blake Baggett and Darryn Durham have been itching to race since January and are more than ready to battle for the win in Arlington.
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki will be headlined by Texas’ own Blake Wharton, who is making his debut with the team, and Hunter Hewitt, a seasoned veteran for the Suzuki squad.
“I’m really excited to get going in Dallas,” said Wharton. “I’ve been training and getting ready for the East Coast in California and I’ve been watching all the west races. I’ve learned a lot and I got to train a lot and I feel good on my bike, and feel good on the track and feel like I’m in good shape. We have press day in Arlington, which should be good and will give us a chance to check out the track. I’m just looking forward to getting this East Coast Lites season under way and we’ll see how it goes, but … I feel good.”
Hewitt will be racing in front of plenty of family and friends in his hometown race at Cowboys Stadium.
“Our first race is in Arlington and it happens to be my hometown race which is cool I guess,” said Hewitt. “It’s just another race in my eyes, but I’ll have my family and friends there that I’ve grown up with. Going into the race, you know it’s the first one, so it’s almost going to be a good gauging point on what everyone has done in the off-season. I know I’ve done my thing, so I know I’m going to be good and strong. I am going there with a clean head, and knowing that I’m going to put in a good solid 15 laps, worry about myself, get a good start and get a good heat qualifying time. I need to make sure I have good starts, that’s what I’m really counting on and I’ve been doing a lot of that at the practice track. Really just staying in my zone, and focusing on myself and just trying to get through this first one and see what my flaws and weaknesses are, and go from there. Thanks to everyone that’s been there supporting me and stuck through. Let’s get racing!”
Leading the way for the Star/Valli Yamaha team is Texas native Kyle Cunningham.
“I’m really looking forward to Arlington,” said Cunningham. “I’ve had a lot of time to prepare, and I’m just excited to get the ball rolling on the East Coast season. It’s great coming to the first round at home, with all my family and friends. The Star/Valli Yamaha Team has done a really good job with the bike and we’ve been working really hard on testing and making sure it’s ready to go and I feel really prepared right now and just ready to get the season going in Texas.”
SPEED will broadcast the Supercross Class race LIVE at 10:30pm EST on February 18, 2012.
Tune into the enhanced exclusive weekly video content from Supercross LIVE! during the entire 2012 season on SupercrossOnline.com, the Official Website of Monster Energy Supercross.
Weekly Supercross LIVE! Video Content Schedule
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