WORTHAM, Texas (June 9, 2008) - Round three of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF will go down as one of the toughest motocross races in recent memory. Sweltering heat and high humidity made for dire conditions, with a reported...
WORTHAM, Texas (June 9, 2008) - Round three of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF will go down as one of the toughest motocross races in recent memory. Sweltering heat and high humidity made for dire conditions, with a reported high of 103 degrees, taking its toll on a large number of riders at the Monster Energy Freestone Motocross National. Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto once again earned overall victories in their respective classes.
In AMA Motocross Lites moto one, Villopoto quickly asserted his dominance, grabbing the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award. He was followed closely by teammates Austin Stroupe and Brett Metcalfe. ReduxBeverages/Brawndo/Teamsolitaire.com Honda's Robert Kiniry and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey were neck and neck throughout the first lap with Kiniry finally getting by Metcalfe in the double section. MDK/KTM's Ryan Sipes moved past Metcalfe and was closing in on Stroupe when his KTM engine blew up, forcing him out of the race. Dungey got by Metcalfe on the back tabletop, continuing his ride to the front. Stroupe washed his front end out but quickly remounted losing only one spot to Dungey. Last week's Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award winner Trey Canard crashed early in the race and worked his way up before pulling out late in the race due to a head injury. Motosport/Xtreme/Kawasaki's Andrew McFarlane was riding well in 7th place for a majority of the race. Dungey experienced a scare as he chased Villopoto, swapping the bike significantly, but saved it. DNA Energy Drink/BTO Sports Honda's Bryan Johnson pulled out of the race at this point. Metcalfe crashed hard in the "12-pack" sand whoops but recovered quickly. Villopoto had opened over a 10-second lead at this point. Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence was in a spirited battle with Kiniry, as both riders swapped positions. Geico Powersports Honda's Jake Weimer ignited a late-race charge, passing both Kiniry and Lawrence to grab fourth. Villopoto cruised to the win in a dominating performance followed by Dungey and Stroupe.
Out of the gates for AMA Motocross moto one, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi grabbed one of his patented BTOSports.com Holeshot Awards in the first moto. For the first time in the series, someone other than James Stewart led a lap. Stewart got by Alessi quickly on the tabletops going into the back on the second lap, but pushed the front end and fell in the exact same turn as Stroupe in AMA Motocross Lites moto one. In the process, Red Bull Honda's Davi Millsaps and teammate Andrew Short got around the #7 bike of Stewart. Not to be denied, Stewart charged hard and got around Short quickly and pulled up to Millsaps' rear fender. To the amazement of everybody, Stewart then jumped over Millsaps on a double after the finish line that no one all weekend jumped, creating one of the most exciting moments of the season thus far. Red Bull Honda's Ivan Tedesco passed Alessi's teammate Michael Byrne while Yamaha privateer Sean Hamblin got by Spike Hardcore Energy Yamaha's Gavin Gracyk on the fourth lap. Stewart was charging hard to catch Alessi as #800 was continuing to lead the moto. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Tim Ferry was working his way to the front of the pack after a first lap fall. Stewart was not to be denied as he out-braked Alessi by the mechanics area and grabbed the lead. Millsaps looked to be winded as Short and Suzuki City Biloxi MS/OTSFF Suzuki's Cody Cooper both got by him. Team Factory Yamaha's Josh Hill pulled off with what looked to be a bike problem and would rejoin the race only to quickly withdraw again. Hamblin got by Byrne in the back corner of the track, but Byrne would quickly return the favor. Hamblin's machine would break shortly after this. Ferry set himself up for the RC Hard Charger Award as he ended up seventh from a first lap position of 35th while Stewart grabbed his fifth-straight moto victory in convincing fashion followed by Alessi and Short.
In the AMA Motocross Lites final moto, the buzz around the pits was the news that Trey Canard would not line up due to a concussion he suffered in moto one. Ryan Sipes grabbed the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award with teammate Martin Davalos right behind him. Davalos would soon fall off the pace while Sipes continued to lead. Sipes led the first lap before a bobble in the back sand section allowed Stroupe and Dungey to get by. First moto winner Villopoto was buried in the pack a bit; the victim of a bad start. However, he soon worked his way into third place, easing by Sipes and into a podium spot. Sipes would later go on and crash out of the race, finishing a tough day for him. Stroupe and Dungey raced hard for the lead, with Dungey eventually making the pass entering the back portion of the circuit. This allowed Villopoto to gain ground on the front-runner at two seconds a lap. Villopoto continued to charge and passed his teammate Stroupe around the outside of a turn while Lawrence went down hard in the 12-pack of sand whoops. Villopoto grabbed the lead from Dungey just a short time later, making the pass on the Suzuki rider going into the back. He immediately put down some incredibly fast laps to open a gap over the rest of the field. MDK/KTM's Matt Goerke, Geico Powersports Honda's Dan Reardon and Motosport/Xtreme/Kawasaki's Tommy Hahn were having an incredible battle for sixth. Near the ¾ mark, there were only 25 riders out of 40 still on the track circulating due to the extreme heat and humidity. Brett Metcalfe was really feeling the effects of the heat, losing a lot of spots near the end of the race. When he crossed the finish line, he collapsed on the motorcycle with apparent heat exhaustion. Villopoto won again with a great ride as the same two riders from moto one, Dungey and Stroupe, followed him in the finishing order.
The day's final moto proved to be as entertaining in the early stages as moto one. Alessi once again boasted a great start and grabbed the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award, followed by Red Bull Honda's Ivan Tedesco. Stewart moved into second but was not able to pass Alessi before the end of the lap. Moto XXX Honda's Jeff Alessi was riding a great race in third. Ivan Tedesco tipped over somewhere in the back, allowing Ferry and Cooper to get by. Finally, Stewart got by Alessi for the lead en route to yet another dominating victory. Hill crashed, relegating him to the back and continuing his tough season. Tedesco and Millsaps teamed up on Jeff Alessi with each making the pass. Similar to last week, Millsaps started to drop back in the final portion of the moto. He would eventually get a second wind and pick it back up again., but not before losing spots to Byrne and Short. It was at this point that Tedesco swapped of a jump and crashed hard, forcing him out of the race. Hill was very tired at this point as well, losing quite a few spots along the way. The final running order was Stewart, Alessi, and Ferry with a big gap on fourth. Stewart and Alessi would take the top-two spots in the overall as well with Texas-resident Short bringing home third. Stewart has now won six motos in a row.
Andrew Short, Red Bull Honda, AMA Motocross Class, Third-Place Overall
"(Freestone) is really close to my house, so I don't have to hop on a plane, which is good. I just love it. When you're close to home you get a little extra motivation and get out there in front of people you know. Every year it seems to click here. (In the second moto) I didn't get a very good start and sort of just hit the wall (physically) at the end. It was really hot and I just went into survival mode. It was everything I had and I put everything into it and it turned out well obviously getting third overall. Recovery is going to be huge (heading into High Point). You can't just do a full day's work when it's hot like this. It kind of tears your body down. I'm just going to try and recover and get my head in the right place and work on getting another good finish."
Mike Alessi, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross Class, Second-Place Overall
"I need to just recover (for next week). My hands are pretty much done right now. They've never been this bad. It was just so hot out there all day that the tape (on his hands) got sweaty and didn't really help. I didn't change too much (on the bike). The bike is really great right now. I just got back into form and where I needed to be. I saw (James Stewart) go down right in front of me. I knew he'd be quick to get back up and catch back up. I just rode my own race and didn't worry about anyone else but myself. I maintained a good pace and when he caught back up to me, I tried to put up a good battle, but he got by. I tried to stick with him, but I'm not going to change anything to adjust to someone else's pace. Whatever that means is going to be what's best for me. I'm not going to ride over my head and crash. I need to be safer this year. I felt good today and I can't ask for anything more out of me. I just ride my own speed. Ride as hard as I can. I did that today so there isn't much to be mad about"
James Stewart, Monster Energy Kawasaki, AMA Motocross Class, Overall Winner
"It was good today. I felt good. It was hot. They over-watered the track and I had hard-packed tires on. When they water the track like that it just gets slippery. It takes 15-20 minutes for the water to soak in so when I went into the corner I just lost one of the ends. I'm not sure if it was the front or back. I think the track's too fast. A real motocross shouldn't be two minutes (a lap). I'm sure they'll make improvements and make it longer. I'm excited to move on to (the tracks) that are longer. I just feel like the track is too short. It felt more like a supercross race. I think I'm riding a little bit different (this season). I'm standing up a lot more than I normally do. I feel like the bike is good enough to get it done. I think it will prove that as the year goes on, (even though) I only had two days to test (on it) before I started riding. I'm full steam ahead (this year). This season is different than any before."
Ryan Dungey, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross Lites, Second-Place Overall
"It was definitely good out front. I feel comfortable. The second moto was just tough. It was hot and Ryan (Villopoto) came up on me and got me. I just think it's good to be there out front. I need to keep doing it and keep trying harder. (Training with James Stewart) has been good. I've been down (in Florida) since November before supercross. Now that he's been riding its good. We've been riding together and it's definitely a big help. There's a few things each week I take from (racing with Villopoto). I go back home and just start working on things. It's not going to be easy at all. He's been the dominant rider for two years now, but I think things are coming along better (for me). I feel more comfortable each week and I think that hopefully I can get ahead here over the next few weeks and next couple rounds."
Ryan Villopoto, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, AMA Motocross Lites, Overall Winner
"I wouldn't call it a season yet. It's still really early, but it's nice to get some wins and get a points lead. But it's going to take more than that. I could have one DNF and be down five. Ryan (Dungey) is riding good, so I'm going to have be strong every weekend. The final moto was decent. I got a pretty good start, but got tangled and got to the line I think in eighth. But I put a charge on. I didn't want (Austin) Stroupe or Ryan (Dungey) to get away. I got by (Ryan) Sipes and then went down in the middle of a turn to let him back by. I got back on and put in another charge after that. It was definitely hot. This has been the first weekend like that (this season). It puts a toll on everyone and I really just had to keep my eye on Ryan and keep turning laps."