In the second moto, Villopoto was right where he wanted to be on the start, but a crash early in the race sent him back to 18th and he fought hard to finish fourth in the moto and third overall. His teammate Jake Weimer looked good on the tight twisty track, overcoming a tough first moto to finish 18-8 for 11th overall. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray also had a tough day in the 450cc class. After finishing 11th in the first moto, the South African was part of a first turn pileup that damaged his bike and forced him to retire in 38th which was good enough for 17th overall. In the 250cc class, Blake Baggett rode strong all day finishing 3-3 for fourth overall.
Martin Davalos was 11th overall, Justin Hill 14th and Darryn Durham still racing his way back from injury was 17th. During the week leading up to Muddy Creek, Dean Wilson re-injured his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season following surgery this coming week.
Villopoto fashioned the best ride of the day in the second 450cc moto as the Poulsbo, Wash. native started near the front but went down early losing precious time and positions. Remounting in 18th Villopoto steadily worked his way through the field on the very narrow course moving all the way up to third before a late fall cost him two spots. Once he was going again Villopoto charged to get back one spot and was on the tail of the third place finisher at the checkered flag. His valiant ride came following a tough first moto where he ran consistent lap times right around the 2-minute mark for 17 laps.
“Today didn’t go exactly how I wanted, but we were able to maintain the points lead,” said Villopoto. “The track was very narrow and it made it difficult to pass so I knew I had my work cut out for me in the second moto. I was tucked in behind (Justin) Barcia and was probably a little too close and misjudged a rut which sent me down. From there I just did what I could to salvage some points.”
Defending 250cc class champion Baggett rode two consistent motos that followed his nature of finishing stronger than he started. In both motos Baggett hung around the top-five and made late race passes to finish third in each moto. Odd circumstances in the finishing order cost Baggett an overall podium as his 3-3 moto score saw him on the outside looking in, finishing fourth.
“I think I could have gotten better starts and challenged to the win today.” said Baggett. “It was almost like riding in a tunnel today because the track was so tight, making passing difficult. Everyone was sprinting all race and I know I have the speed and endurance to get back on the top of the podium.”
In the 450cc class, Rattray had an impressive first moto going as he was running in the top 10 most of the race. He was able to finish 11th and looked to be in a good spot heading into the second moto. Unfortunately a pileup in the first turn of Moto 2 damaged his bike so severely he was not able to continue.
For Weimer the first moto was pretty forgettable as a fall saw him drop to the back of the 40-rider field and he clawed his way up to 18th. In the second moto, Weimer got a good jump out of the gate and stayed in the top 10 all race finishing eighth.
“I rode a lot better than my results today,” said Weimer. “I knew this was going to be a tough track and I wanted to get a good start and maybe was pushing a little too hard when I went down in the first moto. I was able to ride strong in both motos which is a positive and I know I can get up there.”
Muddy Creek in Tennessee really lived up to its name in the first practice of the day. To get the dirt right for the afternoon motos the track was saturated overnight and into the morning, which made for a bit of a sloppy practice session. As the day heated up and the track dried out, the enormous crowd was treated to a great afternoon of racing.
Another unique feature of the inaugural event was the specially designed trophies that feature rifles and pistols from the 1700’s. The trophies were the talk of the pits as everyone wanted to add the majestic hardware to their collection.
The series will head near Morgantown, WV next Saturday at High Point Raceway for the fourth round of the series in Mount Morris, Penn.