Idaho native Jake Weimer also grew up racing through the trees of Washougal and finished a season best fourth overall. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Justin Hill used his past experience in the hard, slick hills to achieve his first top-five finish in fifth, while Martin Davalos finished eighth and Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top-10. Darryn Durham and Blake Baggett finished 14th and 15th respectively in the 250 class, and Tyla Rattray finished 19th in the 450 class.
In his eight-year professional career, Villopoto has won at just about every track and although he has won motos, he had never won the overall in his home state. He fought hard to recover from a slow start to finish second and therefore knew he needed to win the second moto if he wanted to grab the overall that had eluded him. Starting up front, Villopoto made quick work to take over the lead after hounding the leader for the long overdue win which he celebrated in front of family and friends.
“It feels great to finally get the win here,” said Villopoto. “I could hear the fans all around the track. Both Ryan (Dungey) and James (Stewart) were riding great today so it means even more to have had to work for it. Our goal is always to win every weekend but this one there was definitely a little extra incentive.”
Weimer has had a roller coaster of a season, but things clicked on Saturday on the track he grew up visiting. A mid-pack start in the first moto forced him to battle towards the front to finish 10th. In Moto 2 Weimer got a much better start and fought hard to secure his spot in fourth, gapping the rest of the field. His 10-4 moto score was enough to grant him a season best fourth overall on the day.
“It feels awesome to finally put two motos together,” said Weimer. “I got a great start in the second moto and was able to distance myself early. I grew up racing Loretta’s qualifiers up here so it’s somewhat of a home race for me as well. I’m feeling confident and plan to carry that into Millville.”
In his first professional visit to Washougal, Hill put his experience to work. Hailing from Oregon, Hill grew up racing Washougal as an amateur just like Villopoto and Weimer, giving him extra confidence and motivation on Saturday. He pushed and rode hard both motos to earn his first career top-five finish with a 5-7 moto score.
“I love this place,” said Hill. “I came up north early and have been working to find my old riding style. I think it has paid off and I feel like I have even more to come. I want the podium and plan to get there.”
Washougal is known for having a hard base and loose soil, which creates very slippery conditions. This year they did not rip the dirt very deep which only emphasized those conditions, and lead to the start being extremely important. Cianciarulo and Durham were both victim to this as they were not able to make up much ground from their start positions in the motos. Hard corners left very little passing lines and forced the riders to be extra aggressive in order to move forward.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads back east to Millville, Minn., to one of the most favored tracks on the circuit. The elevation changes and perfect loamy dirt allow for great racing and bar to bar battles. Round 9 takes place Saturday, July 27 at Spring Creek Motocross Park.