Saturday, 30 April 2011

Salt Lake City Supercross 450 Race Report

Over the last couple of rounds, the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross championship has seen 2 of its top riders fall out of realistic contention for the crown. It began a few weeks ago, before round 15 in Seattle, when Honda Racing's Trey Canard suffered an injury to his femur while testing for the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross series. At the time, Canard was 5th in the standings of the Supercross division, but was still within reach of the title, especially when his blazing speed, evidenced by 3 race wins, was counted into the equation. It was a tough blow to the series, and an even tougher blow to the rookie's season.

Coming in to the penultimate round of the series in Salt Lake City, there looked to be 4 riders who would do battle for the championship over the course of the final 2 races, but the track in Salt Lake, decided that only 3 would be leaving with a realistic shot at glory.

The big winner on the night was series points leader Ryan Villopoto. He started the main event in the top 5, quickly getting into 3rd place. On lap 7, Villopoto made the move on Chad Reed for 2nd. Reed had started the race in 2nd, right behind James Stewart. Out front, Stewart was beginning to pull away, and it looked like he would go nearly unchallenged for the victory. But, a lap after Villopoto took 2nd, he had the lead given to him when Stewart crashed hard and had to pull in to the mechanics area.

With that, the battle for the win was on, as the 1st and 2nd place riders in the standings controlled the same 2 spots in the main event. Villopoto at one point was able to open a sizeable gap of around 3 seconds, but with 5 laps to go, Reed went to work. When it was all said and done, Reed was able to get the gap down to less than a second, but could never complete the pass. Villopoto won the race, and padded his points lead heading into Las Vegas. Ryan Dungey rode a quiet race to finish on the podium in 3rd, and Stewart regrouped to salvage 10th. However, his mistake likely cost him any shot at the #1 plate.

It was a clutch performance by Ryan Villopoto. With so much pressure on him, it would have been easy to sit back and cruise for a 2nd or 3rd place tonight, but instead, he went out to prove a point and give himself some extra breathing room. He showed that when the chips are down, he can get the job done.

Next weekends race will bring a lot of excitement, but it will likely be a 3 man show as James Stewart now finds himself nearly a full race down. Still, we've seen some crazy events this season, and in Vegas, all bets are off for me.

Supercross Heat 1

1. Chad Reed
2. Kevin Windham
3. Ryan Villopoto
4. Jake Weimer
5. Kyle Regal
6. Justin Brayton
7. Tommy Hahn
8. Michael Byrne
9. Ben Lamay

Supercross Heat 2

1. James Stewart
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Davi Millsaps
4. Andrew Short
5. Nick Wey
6. Mike Alessi
7. Bobby Kiniry
8. Jason Thomas
9. Chris Blose


1. Tyler Bowers
2. Cole Siebler

Supercross Main Event

1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Chad Reed
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Andrew Short
5. Davi Millsaps
6. Kevin Windham
7. Jake Weimer
8. Tommy Hahn
9. Justin Brayton
10. James Stewart
11. Nick Wey
12. Kyle Regal
13. Michael Byrne
14. Chris Blose
15. Tyler Bowers
16. Jason Thomas
17. Bobby Kiniry
18. Cole Siebler
19. Ben Lamay
20. Mike Alessi

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