Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto took command of the lead on the first lap of the main event and led every lap to become the first three-time winner of the year in the 450SX class. The Eastern Region of the 250SX class kicked off with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson dominating all day long to take the first win of the season. Making his professional debut, teammate Justin Hill impressed many by finishing fifth in his first 250SX main event.
After an up and down season thus far, Villopoto showed why he is the two-time defending champ in Cowboy Stadium. He grabbed the holeshot in his heat race and was settling into a comfortable pace until a small mistake in the rhythm section dropped him to second place, where he finished and transferred to the main event. When the gate dropped for the main event, Villopoto powered around the inside on his KX™450F and nearly grabbed the holeshot. He quickly made a pass on the leader and that was all she wrote. Villopoto went on to run the first half of the main event with sub-45 second lap times, establishing a nice cushion, taking his third win of the season.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win,” said Villopoto. “I felt good all day. We weren’t the fastest, but when the main event came along I made it count. We’re still very much in the championship and it’s just going to take consistency.”
While battling for the 250SX West championship last year, Wilson suffered a season ending shoulder injury. Following 10 months of recovery, the Scotsman returned to the track. Wilson was the fastest qualifier all day, but did not get the greatest start in his heat race. A down rider held up Wilson in the first turn, but he quickly started working towards the front of the pack. Four laps into the six lap heat, Wilson was in second and catching the leader before the leader took a gruesome crash resulting in a red flag. They lined up the field in a staggered start with Wilson leading the restart and he finished off the final two laps to take the win. Much like Villopoto, Wilson got a great start and took over the lead on the first lap of the main event. Leading all 15 laps, Wilson took the long awaited checkered flag for his first win of the season.
“I’ve been waiting and thinking about this day for a long time,” said Wilson. “It feels amazing, but there’s lots of races to go. The championship is one of my goals I’ve always had, so we’ll just keep working hard with the team and keep them coming.”
After a successful amateur career with Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green, Hill made his professional debut at Cowboy Stadium. In his first pro gate drop, Hill got caught behind a downed rider in the first turn and had to play catch up in the heat race. He battled for the final transfer spot throughout the first half of the heat and after the staggered restart, he moved into eighth, transferring to the main event. Hill got off to a top-10 start on his KX™250F and began to sprint with the field. He progressively moved his way up and by the halfway point Hill had reached the top five. From there he stayed consistent and finished a respectable fifth place in his first main event.
“Tonight was excellent,” said Hill. “I didn’t get the best start in the heat but I was working my way up. Then we had a staggered restart, which was really weird but I think I benefitted from it. There was a lot of bumping and rubbing, but I finished the night with a top-five. I was able to hang with the top guys out there and I know where I need to improve. The more I race I think I’ll get better and better.”
Two riders missing from action in Texas were Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Darryn Durham. Weimer hopes to return next week in Atlanta after recovering from broken ribs, while Durham is making sure his ankle injury is 100-percent before he returns to the gate.
After achieving two podium finishes in the Western Region this season, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki started fresh with the Eastern Region kicking off in Arlington. With Wilson being a past champion and Hill starting his rookie season, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Both riders put in impressive results at Cowboy Stadium, but there is always room for improvement.
“Both Dean and Justin looked great coming into the East and I’m happy with tonight’s finish,” said Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Team Owner Mitch Payton. “Dean has rode for us for a few years, so we know what to expect and how to work with him, while with Justin we are all still learning together. We will continue to build from this first round and carry it on throughout the rest of the season.”
One of the most amazing stadiums that the Monster Energy AMA Supercross visits, Cowboy Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world and one of the most expensive sports venues ever built. Its large arches rise nearly 300 feet and stretch a quarter of a mile in length. With the $40-million dollar high-definition video board that spans 160 feet across, fans often spend as much time watching the video board than they do the live action on the track.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross heats up as we head to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., for Round 8. As we near the halfway point of the 450SX season, Villopoto sits third in the points standings, while Wilson will look to increase his lead in the 250SX Eastern Region.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross – Round 7
Cowboy Stadium – Arlington, Texas
February 16, 2013
450SX Main Event
- RYAN VILLOPOTO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
- Davi Millsaps, Suzuki
- Ryan Dungey, KTM
- Chad Reed, Honda
- Justin Brayton, Yamaha
- Justin Barcia, Honda
- Trey Canard, Honda
- Matt Goerke, KTM
- Andrew Short, Honda
- Broc Tickle, Suzuki
450SX Points Standings
- Davi Millsaps, Suzuki, 154
- Ryan Dungey, KTM, 133
- RYAN VILLOPOTO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 130
- Trey Canard, Honda, 119
- Chad Reed, Honda, 115
- Justin Barcia, Honda, 98
- Andrew Short, Honda, 95
- Justin Brayton, Yamaha, 83
- James Stewart, Suzuki, 75
- Matt Goerke, KTM, 69
- 13. JAKE WEIMER, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 48
250SX Eastern Region Main Event
- DEAN WILSON, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
- Blake Wharton, Suzuki
- Wil Hahn, Honda
- Kyle Peters, Honda
- JUSTIN HILL, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
- Marvin Musquin, KTM
- Gavin Faith, Honda
- Jimmy Decotis, Honda
- Vince Friese, Honda
- Lance Vincent, KTM
250SX Eastern Region Points Standings
- DEAN WILSON, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 25
- Blake Wharton, Suzuki, 22
- Wil Hahn, Honda, 20
- Kyle Peters, Honda, 18
- JUSTIN HILL, MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 16
- Marvin Musquin, KTM, 15
- Gavin Faith, Honda, 14
- Jimmy Decotis, Honda, 13
- Vince Friese, Honda, 12
- Lance Vincent, KTM, 11