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SUPERCROSS: World: Seattle round 16 pre-race notes

Poulsbo, Washington's Villopoto Returns to Qwest Field with First-Ever AMA Supercross Lites Title Clinched Stewart Aims to Clinch Two Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series AURORA, Ill. (April 24, 2007) --...

Poulsbo, Washington's Villopoto Returns to Qwest Field with First-Ever AMA Supercross Lites Title Clinched

Stewart Aims to Clinch Two Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series

AURORA, Ill. (April 24, 2007) -- Poulsbo Washington's Ryan Villopoto returns home this Saturday to Qwest Field for the final race of the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship in hopes of his first victory in Seattle. Regardless, Villopoto wrapped up the championship on February 17 at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. Sharing the spotlight with Villopoto will be 21-year-old James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., who can clinch his first Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross championship.

Last Saturday Kawasaki's Stewart won his fifth consecutive Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series race at Ford Field. After winning the $1,500 Progressive Direct Holeshot Award, Stewart dominated all 20 laps of the main event en route to his 11th win of the season.

"I saw the white line for the holeshot -- I was like, I gotta go for it," said Stewart referring to his $1,500 Progressive Direct Holeshot last weekend. "And on the first couple laps, I was out of control; I was trying to push it a little harder than what the track was giving me, and I smoothed out a little bit."

Kawasaki's Ben Townley, of Tallahassee, Fla., won the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Championship with a second place finish tonight. Suzuki's Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., won the main event, leading all 15 laps.

"This was a dream come true," said Townley from the podium last weekend. "My parents are here, and my sister, and everyone in my whole crew," said Townley. "Everyone has supported me through this whole championship run. We started off in a bit of a hole and we've managed to come back and take it and I just gotta give it up to Pro Circuit, Monster Energy, Kawasaki -- They've just done an awesome job. Everyone on the team -- Thor, Parts Unlimited, Scott, Bridgestone, Amp'd Mobile -- everyone is just awesome to work with and it's just great to give them this number one plate."

Dungey opened the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites class main event with the $1,000 Progressive Direct Holeshot Award with Yamaha's Ryan Morais, of Temecula, Calif., in second and Honda's Billy Laninovich, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., in third. Townley rounded turn one in fourth place. Dungey established a huge lead and rode to the third win of the year."

"I am still learning, so I hope to have better luck next year," said Dungey. "I won the holeshot, and I rode a great race after that. I look forward to racing in Las Vegas in two weeks."

Last year the rain-drenched spread of 500 truckloads of dirt that sat on top of Seattle's Qwest Field became an equalizer for the field for 20 riders. Nearly 47,000 fans watched Stewart rebound from a 10th-place start to earn his ninth win of the season en route to his first-ever Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP championship. During practice Stewart crashed hard over the finish-line jump and overcame adversity in earning the win.

"I had a scary crash during my practice, but I went back and talked to my mom and she helped me put together a great ride tonight," said Stewart.

Although Stewart's win was impressive, it was merely a subtitle for the script that was written that night. Yamaha's Chad Reed, who finished the race in second place, tied defending AMA Supercross Series champion Ricky Carmichael heading into the final round in Las Vegas. In 34 years of racing this scenario has never occurred.

In last year's AMA Supercross Lites class Kawasaki's Grant Langston earned his first win in Seattle as well as his second regional AMA Supercross Lites championship. Langston gained control of the lead on lap two, passing his teammate Ryan Villopoto, of nearby Poulsbo, Wash., and leading the next 13 laps.

Four riders in the sport's history earned their first win in Seattle: Darrell Schultz ('81); Ricky Johnson ('84); Jeff Ward ('84); and Larry Ward ('90). From '79-'89, the Seattle stop of the AMA Supercross Series hosted back-to-back races. Ricky Johnson holds the all-time win record in Seattle with seven, six with Team Honda, one with Team Yamaha. Kawasaki rider Jeff Matiasevich strung together a string of four wins from '88-'89.

Amp'd Mobile Supercross at the old Kingdome February 18, 1978 is where Jim Ellis, of Hampton, Conn., won the AMA Supercross class (formerly the 250cc class) on a Honda. The first AMA Supercross Lites race was held on February 9, 1985 where Mike Healey, of Costa Mesa, Calif., scored his second and only win of his career.

-credit: www.supercrossonline.com

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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Chad Reed , Ricky Johnson , James Stewart , Ryan Dungey , Ryan Villopoto