Villopoto Leads California Gold Rush in Anaheim
February 18, 2010
Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto dominated the main event Saturday night leading all
20 laps at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. on his way to his second win of the season.
Nick Wey earned his third straight top-10 finish with the team, riding for the injured Chad Reed. In the supercross lites class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer finished eighth after falling while in third place, with Josh Hansen finishing 17th.
Villopoto rocketed off the starting gate and never looked back on his way to his fourth career supercross win. After beating everyone through the first turn, the 21-year-old Washington native built a lead early and then rode a steady race maintaining the gap to the checkered flag.
"It was great to get the start I've been looking for," said Villopoto. "Getting the holeshot was key tonight. Getting out front early let me put in 20 solid laps and win the race without tasting any roost."
Though Wey didn't get the finish he was looking for, he felt he rode his best race of the season finishing 10th. On the start, Wey stalled his bike just after the first turn in Anaheim and had to work his way up from last place. Over the 20 laps he slowly worked his way up to 10th on a mostly one-lined track that made it difficult to pass.
"I didn't get a good start," said Wey. "I even made a mistake and stalled the bike on the first lap and was last. Even though I finished tenth, I feel like this was my best race. Once I got going I started making some good passes and I moved up through the field. I just need to take last week's start, combine it with how I rode tonight and it would be awesome."
Weimer came to Anaheim 3 with a comfortable points lead and after winning his sixth heat race of the season, he looked like he would pad it some more before the nine-week break in the schedule. While running third, Weimer went down in the turn before the finish line and dropped all the way back to 20th. He steadily worked his way up to 8th to salvage as many points as possible and now enters the break with a 14-point lead in the championship.
"I just made a mistake coming into the corner before the finish," said Weimer. "I was a little sloppy and came into the corner and the front end got away from me. I'm going to put it behind me and look ahead to Seattle. I was bummed right after the race, but I knew I was giving it my best and that is all I can do. I'm glad that I've had such a great season and built a little bit of a cushion in the points so I still have a lead."
Hansen claimed his third heat race win of the season, but he was unable to transfer the result to the main event. Just before the halfway mark of the race, he crashed in the rhythm section just after the start straight and fought his way back to 17th.
"My heat race was good," said Hansen. "That's what I expect to do every week. It seems like my heat races go well, and then something happens in the main. I was working my way forward after the start and then I went down. It was tough. Everyone was taking the same lines on the track so it made it nearly impossible to pass anyone. I didn't get the finish I wanted."
With one-third of the season in the books, Villopoto is only three points back of the championship lead. With two wins in the last three races, he is looking to use the momentum to catapult into the points lead and then control the series throughout the rest of the season.
"I'm going to keep working hard and doing everything I need too during the week," said Villopoto. "I want to keep getting holeshots because that made everything easy. I just want to keep making up points and claim the championship when the season ends."