First career Supercross victory in San Diego for Hill
February 12, 2014
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Justin Hill earned his first career Monster Energy
Supercross victory at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
Hill rode smoothly all day and withstood the pressure of leading late in the race to capture his first victory
on his KX250F.
Hill took over the lead when Dean Wilson crashed on the second lap and damaged his bike. After some
quick work in the mechanics’ area to get back out on track, Wilson finished 21st.
Ryan Villopoto battled with the leader all night on the tough technical track and finished in second place,
leaving California with the series points lead. His teammate Jake Weimer had a crash in practice and was
unable to race after chipping a bone in his wrist and having his shoulder pop out. Weimer will be
evaluated this week to find the full extent of his injuries.
Hill has been riding strong all season and even led laps at Oakland, and on Saturday night he was able to
cross the finish line ahead of everyone and feel the joy of winning a supercross race. Learning a lot the
first time he led a race in Oakland, Hill put those lessons to good use in San Diego leading 14 laps en
route to his maiden victory.
“This is just an awesome feeling,” said Hill. “Wow, I’m so excited right now to get the win. The track was
difficult and I knew I had to stay focused the entire race. I was so focused I missed the white flag so I
thought I still had another lap to go when I got the checkers. Tonight has just been amazing.”
All day long Villopoto and his fellow competitors battled a technical track that was poised to force
mistakes. In the main event, the Washington native rocketed out of the starting gate and nearly grabbed
the holeshot. As they crossed the line on the first lap “RV” was sitting in second and keeping pressure on
the leader. For the entire 20-lap main event, Villopoto stalked the leader and was able to pull up right to
his rear fender on multiple occasions. But with the deteriorating dirt it was nearly impossible to find a spot
to make a pass. With his runner-up finish, Villopoto extends his points lead to nine markers.
“The track was really tough to find a spot to make a pass,” said Villopoto. “We had a good race and I was
right on James (Stewart) the whole time but catching him is one thing and passing him is another. I think
we were both riding the track to its maximum and if I pushed any harder it could have meant a mistake.
Right now Kawe have the points lead as the series heads East and I’m going to keep racing and hold on
to this red number plate.”
Wilson was looking to ride the momentum of his win in Anaheim, and he looked to be on pace after
winning his heat race. The Scottish rider looked good all day on the track and in the main event, he got a
good start and was able to lead the first lap. After a crash on the second lap where his bike was hit by
another machine, he had to go to the mechanics’ area and his team quickly removed a broken front brake
disc so he could continue.
“Tonight is disappointing,” said Wilson. “After last week’s win, I thought we would be in a better position
but the crash really set me back. My guys did a great job fixing the bike so I could get back out, but in
supercross, anytime in the mechanics area is just too much to overcome.”
As the main event progressed, Villopoto was looking for any advantage he could get to get around the
leader. One spot where he was doing something different was after the big double. Most riders would stay
inside on the left hand turn but Villopoto started railing the outside and tripling out of the corner.
“I’m not sure if that line was any faster, but it felt a little more secure,” said Villopoto. “The inside was
getting more slick as the race went on and it looked like if you were too aggressive you might make a
mistake. I started taking the outside and tripling because I felt I could stay aggressive and charge.”
With the San Diego round serving as a Military Appreciation Supercross the Monster Energy Kawasaki
team showed their support with a special graphics scheme. Both riders also displayed their support
through themed gear and patches. Also Villopoto, Weimer, Wilson, Hill and Darryn Durham visited with
former service members at Operation Homefront on the Friday before the race.