Monster Energy Kawasaki Turns Millville into Titletown USA Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto claimed the AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites National Championships respectively at...
Monster Energy Kawasaki Turns Millville into Titletown USA
Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto claimed the AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites National Championships respectively at Spring Creek Motocross in Millville, Minn. Both riders locked up their titles with two events to go in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship. Stewart extended his streak to 20 moto wins claiming his 10th overall win of the season. Villopoto finished 1-2 for second overall. Timmy Ferry went 3-12 to finish fifth overall in the motocross class and Brett Metcalfe went 4-3 to finish third overall in the motocross lites class.
Stewart earned his first AMA Motocross National title after winning the first moto at Millville. Though he has one title in the three other professional classes, the outdoor championship has always seemed to elude him. With his 19th consecutive victory, Stewart claimed the number one plate.
"It feels good," said Stewart. "It is a long season and winning the championship is special. I've won 20 out of 20 motos so far and now I'm going to try and win four more motos. It was tough though. I won the title in the first moto so I couldn't really celebrate. I had to regroup and get ready for the second moto. I'm going to celebrate now though."
Third Times a Charm
Villopoto wasn't to be out done as he looked to claim his third straight AMA Motocross Lites National Championship. After finishing 1-2 for second overall, Villopoto completed Kawasaki's sweep of the outdoor titles. With the number one plate in his possession again, he is going to try and get two more overall wins.
"Three in a row is nice," said Villopoto. "The weekend ended the way I wanted it too, but I also wanted to get the overall win. So you could say in the long run it was good. But in the short run it could have been better."
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team almost had to put the celebratory champagne on ice for another week as Villopoto went down in the early stages of the second moto. When he got going again, Villopoto was well outside of the top 25, and needed to finish eighth or better to claim the title. In the end, Villopoto charged to second, firmly taking the title.
"I was coming down the hill and got on the brakes too hard," said Villopoto. "I went down and then had to dodge some guys to get back to my bike. Once I was going I wanted to just finish as high as I could. I kind of knew what I needed to do for the title. I thought they would put something on my pit board, but they never did. So I just charged as hard as I could and got second."
Racing to the Finish
Even though he had already claimed the title, Stewart didn't slow down in the second moto. After getting the early lead he continued to push building a more than one-minute lead at the checkered flag.
"I was scared (the AMA) might take the number one plate back," said Stewart. "My pit board told me I had a big lead and I was just trying to build it up and build it up. I think that is the most I have ever won by, so that's cool. I was joking that I got lapped here last year and I was trying to get that lap back."
Villopoto's third straight AMA Motocross Lites title puts him in select company as only three other riders have accomplished the feat. Villopoto joins Ricky Carmichael, Broc Glover and Mark Barnett as the only ones to hoist the lites championship trophy three times.
"It's awesome," said Villopoto. "Not many people have won three straight titles and I'm pumped I'm one of them. I've got my name in the record books now and lets see how many more people can do it."
With two races still left on the schedule, Kawasaki earned championships in both the motocross and motocross lites class. It is the earliest any manufacturer has claimed both titles in the season.
"I think it is all about having a solid program," said Stewart. "We know Pro Circuit is one of the best teams out here. With me, I had a tough few years, but Kawasaki was there for me and we were able to get it done."
By winning the AMA Motocross title, Stewart has now won all four AMA class titles. He has one AMA Supercross title, two AMA Supercross Lites championships and two AMA Motocross Lites titles. He has also won two FIM World Championships.
"This championship means a lot," said Stewart. "This is the only one I hadn't won. Now I get to put this plate up on my wall and say I won every title. This title is special for everybody."
PJ Larsen made his pro debut under the Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki tent and finished 16-15 for 15th overall. The race was a learning experience for the rookie and he hopes he can take the lessons he learned today to the next two events. Also making his pro debut at Millville was Hunter Hewitt. Hewitt went 21-18 for a 23rd place overall finish.
"It was a learning experience for me," said PJ Larsen. "These guys have a lot of speed. I just need to get some better starts. I went down on the first lap in the second moto and if I can avoid doing that again I'll be alright. I was a little nervous on the starting gate, but it wasn't too bad. I had a simple goal of learning as much as I could and I think I did that."
Villopoto wasn't the only Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider celebrating this weekend as Metcalfe joined him on the podium. The Australian rode two good races to finish 4-3 which was good enough for third overall.
"It was a good day," said Metcalfe. "I finished 4-3 and the second moto was a lot better. I got a good start and was riding well. I happy for Ryan winning the championship and I'm stoked I get another podium this weekend."
Ferry's day started off with a podium finish in the first moto as he came home in third. In the second moto, he fell early and had to fight his way up through the field. Though a fifth-place overall wasn't the finish he was hoping for, it keeps him in the hunt to finish second in the season standings.
"I wouldn't call this a bad weekend," said Ferry. "I got good starts and I was in the top five in both motos. I just made one mistake which put me last in the second moto. I fell coming down the hill and once I got going, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. I'm still racing for second in the points and I know it is going to be tough. I feel like I'm one of the fastest riders out there and I'm going to show it as the season closes up."