Villopoto Widens Points Lead Heading into Oakland
Cole Seely earns first career win in the Supercross Lites class and moves into third place
AURORA, Ill (January 24, 2011) -- With three races in the books, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season continues its west coast swing this Saturday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a new venue to the 2011 schedule. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto regained momentum with a win last weekend to extend his points lead by five in the Supercross class. Meanwhile, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Cole Seeley closed the gap on the Supercross Lites class points leader by clinching his first victory of the season.
Last weekend at the inaugural Dodger Stadium race, Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe kicked off the Supercross class main event by capturing the holeshot. Leading through lap two, Metcalfe suffered a tough get-off and lost his spot in front to Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki teammate Ryan Dungey.
Dungey, the defending class champion, held his lead through one lap, but was shortly passed by San Manuel Yamaha's James Stewart, who won the main event in Phoenix. Stewart maintained the lead for eight laps; however on lap 11, after riding bar to bar with Villopoto, Stewart's front wheel slid out around a turn, allowing Villopoto to take the lead. Villopoto went on to grip this position for the remaining 10 laps to lock in his second victory of the season. Despite the fall, Stewart managed to register a second place finish, followed by Dungey, respectively.
"It was really slippery out there tonight," said Villopoto. "The start of my race didn't go as planned, but I was able to make up some time early on and things went my way."
"It felt like I had the race," exclaimed Stewart. "I felt like after 10 [laps] I would be good, and then I lost my front end which left me frustrated. I had to catch back up to Ryan [Dungey] and those guys. The way the tracks are built, you can't pass anybody, so you have to go in and bump around. You know it still worked out, I ended up second and on the box."
While the race for the top position in the Supercross class is separated by five points, the Supercross Lites class podium hosted a set of new faces making a charge at the lead. Heading into the Dodger Stadium race last weekend, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Josh Hansen sat six points ahead of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Broc Tickle, with Rockstar Energy Suzuki's Ryan Morais in third trailing by 15, respectively.
Seely opened the Supercross Lites class main event by capturing the holeshot, the first of his season. Division leader Hansen followed closely, keeping Seely in his sights on the opening lap. As Hansen staged his move on Seely, his bike stalled, forcing him to restart the race deep in the pack. This misfortune allowed Seely to gain considerable momentum and lead all 15 laps to take home the first victory of his career and the season for the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda squad.
"It was awesome to put this win together, said Seely. "I couldn't have made this easier on myself from the start. I just kept my focus forward the whole race and I knew at one point something was going on behind me by the noise from the crowd. I kept the guys behind me in check around those 180 turns and made sure they weren't gaining on my lead. I'm happy to finally make this happen."
With this victory, Seely bumped Morais out of the third place spot, and now sits seven points behind Supercross Lites class leader Hansen.