Points Race Tightens in a Parity-Driven Supercross Class Heading into Toronto
Villopoto: "I was really disappointed with how things went in Jacksonville”
AURORA, Ill (March 22, 2011) – Through 11 races, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season, makes its lone international stop from Toronto’s Rogers Centre on Saturday night. Last weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., American Honda’s Trey Canard, of Shawnee, Okla., claimed his second victory of the season and now sits just 27 points out of the lead. In the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class championship, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee , Ga., also locked in his second victory of the season and currently leads the division by 17 points.
Media day will be held Thursday, March 24 from Noon – 2:00 p.m. in the Baseball Press Box at Rogers Stadium. Riders in attendance will be available for interviews and will ride the track for the media.
In a shocking turn of events, Supercross class leader and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, who came into Jacksonville with a three-race win streak, crashed in his heat race, which forced him into the last chance qualifier. As the gate dropped for the LCQ, on the first turn, Villopoto was forced off the track and lost valuable ground to the rest of the pack. Unable to rebound and earn a spot in the top two, Villopoto, for the first time this season, did not qualify for the main event.
"I was really disappointed with how things went in Jacksonville,” said Villopoto. “I have been feeling really good and it didn't show. Everyone has bad days and I'm really glad I got out of there healthy. My focus remains the same and I just want to get back out there so I can make up the points I lost."
After dominating his heat race, Team San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart suffered a horrific crash after a rhythm following turn one. Stewart, a two time Supercross class champion, was carted off the track by the Asterisk Mobile Medical Team, losing valuable points in the championship race. With Villopoto failing to make the main event, it was an opportune time for Stewart to close in on the 26-point gap that separated him from Villopoto. Stewart will use this week to heal up for Toronto.
“I was really hoping to pull this one out,” Stewart said. “It was my home state, I’m familiar with the tracks, all my fans were there cheering me on and it’s just really disappointing for me, my team, my sponsors and my fans. It’s all about Toronto and the rest of the season now.”
With all this action happening back at turn one, American Honda’s Trey Canard pulled out in front with TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed and Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey in tow. Canard led the first 18 laps before Reed made a pass for the lead that was quickly answered back by Canard before riding to victory.
“Opening the main, I was really excited about my start, which has been my downfall this year,” said Canard. “I thought the first 12 laps were solid, I rode really well. Late in the race, I switched up my line in the whoops and it was definitely not working which made me run up into a few lappers and lose momentum. Reed really closed up on me at the end and I felt the pressure. He passed me at one point, but something clicked and I charged right back to the front. The last two laps I rode good and did what I needed to do to take the win.”
In the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class championship, there have been four different winners in five races. GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia kicked off the night by taking an early lead with GEICO Honda teammate Blake Wharton and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson trailing closely. Barcia carried this lead for all 15 laps to earn his fourth career win in the Supercross Lites class. Finishing second and third were Wilson and DNA Shred Stix/Star Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes, respectively.
“I knew I was going to have a good day early on,” said Barcia. “It was rough in the middle of the day and I tweaked my wrist a bit. It wasn’t a pretty win that’s for sure, but I’m just glad to get out of here safe.”
Last year, Monster Energy Supercross’ only visit outside the United States was a resounding success as 42,083 devoted Canadian fans packed into Toronto’s Rogers Centre for the 10th race of the season. Villopoto raced to his fifth win of the year, while Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee, Ga., captured the first Lites class win of his career.
The first AMA Supercross race held in Toronto was December 4, 2004 when Ricky Carmichael won on a Honda. When Toronto became a regular part of the Monster Energy Supercross schedule on March 29, 2008, Chad Reed won on a Yamaha. James Stewart is the only two-time Supercross class winner in Toronto.