Villopoto Impresses in 450 Debut to Grab Victory at Glen Helen Ryan Dungey Captures 250 Class Win at Season Opener SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (May 26, 2009) - A new era of American Motocross began on Saturday as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross ...
Villopoto Impresses in 450 Debut to Grab Victory at Glen Helen
Ryan Dungey Captures 250 Class Win at Season Opener
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (May 26, 2009) - A new era of American Motocross began on Saturday as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicked-off its 2009 season at the 15th Annual South Point Hotel & Casino Motocross National from Glen Helen Raceway. In his 450 Class debut, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., rode to an impressive pair of moto victories to become just the third rider in history to win his first premier class race. In the entry-level 250 Class, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey outlasted his highly-talented competition to take a hard-earned overall victory.
Villopoto overcame mid-pack starts in each moto and battled his way through the field to take each win, passing long-time rivals to take the top spot in each race. In the final moto, the pre-season title favorite overcame a 10-second deficit over runner-up Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., to secure the overall and establish the early season momentum. Alessi's third and second place moto results landed him second while JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha's Josh Grant, of Riverside, Calif., finished third.
"It was tough," explained Villopoto. "My starts out of the gate were good but we can get better. The first moto wasn't too bad, I was fourth, but in the second I was 10th so I had a lot of work to do and Mike (Alessi) was way ahead of me. I knew where he was and paid attention to him but I kept doing what I was doing and running (my pace), not letting myself get into my head that I couldn't catch him and I eventually I caught him."
Dungey was in the midst of a stellar 250 Class battle throughout both motos. After moving into the lead late in moto one, he was passed by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel, of Corona, Calif., and settled for second. In the final moto, a mid-pack start forced Dungey to come from 10th place out of the gate, but he stalked GEICO Powersports Honda's Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee, Ga., in the closing laps and made the pass for the win with just two laps to go to take his fourth win in the last five races going back to last season. Pourcel brought home the runner-up spot while his teammate Tyla Rattray, of Murrieta, Calif., rounded out the overall podium in his U.S. debut.
"It feels good to start (the season) off the way we did," said Dungey. "Glen Helen is always a tough track for me. Not physically but more in other areas since I didn't really ride on anything like this until I was about 16. I really look forward to the east rounds, but to be able to win at a track like Glen Helen that's so tough is awesome."
Making its debut as a part of the race day schedule, the Women's Class of the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship opened up the first of eight rounds of action this season. Reigning series champion and Honda Red Bull Racing rider Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., swept both of the day's motos to claim the overall victory. Honda of Houston's Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Fla., brought home second while Cernic's Suzuki's Sherri Cruse, of Bakersfield, Calif., finished third.
"I didn't really feel any pressure," stated Fiolek. "I just go out and do my best and that's all I can do. My bike is awesome and my team is awesome so there is no pressure at all. The track was really rough but it was great to be out there."
In an effort to clarify current procedures, MX Sports Pro Racing and AMA Pro Racing will release a competition bulletin updating the scoring process for the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season.
Round two of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend from legendary Prairie City SVRA in Rancho Cordova, Calif. for the Hangtown Motocross Classic. Coverage of next weekend's race can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, May 30 at 9 p.m. ET.