Washougal: Post-race notes, quotes

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (July 28, 2008) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart continued his quest for a first AMA Motocross title and maintained his perfect season at round nine of the 2008 Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF. The 28th ...

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (July 28, 2008) -- Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart continued his quest for a first AMA Motocross title and maintained his perfect season at round nine of the 2008 Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF. The 28th Annual National at Washougal Motocross Park Presented by Yamaha and Scott USA provided great excitement for the thousands in attendance and provided one of the most memorable motos of the season as Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey out-dueled Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto to earn his first career AMA Motocross Lites victory.

Geico Powersports Honda's Josh Grant grabbed the BTO Holeshot Award and led the pack up Horsepower Hill in the opening moto for AMA Motocross Lites. The series points leader and winner of the last 15 motos, Villopoto ended up fifth on the first lap. Dungey and Yamaha Motor Corp./Toyota Yamaha's Broc Tickle were in chase of Grant. Geico Powersports Honda's Trey Canard fell on the first lap and crossed the line in 39th. On the first lap up in the back section of the track, Villopoto got by Tickle and set off after Dungey. MDK/KTM's Ryan Sipes was 14th and was the man on the move. Buried in the pack, Canard started to work his way to the front as well. Villopoto chased down Dungey and their battle allowed Grant to stretch his lead out. Yamaha Motor Corp./Toyota Yamaha's Matt Lemoine fell out early on with apparent mechanical issues. Villopoto worked past Dungey after four laps on his rear wheel and went after Grant, passing him in a corner on the next lap. MDK/KTM's Martin Davalos fell just past the mechanics area while running fifth, dropping quickly to the back. Grant would soon aggravate an already tender ankle and dropped back a ways from the top two. From this point, Villopoto cruised home to another moto win. Sipes finished strong to move into fourth, passing Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Brett Metcalfe late. The final order was Villopoto, Dungey and Grant.

Suzuki City Biloxi, MS/OTSFF Suzuki's Cody Cooper grabbed his first Holeshot Award of the year in the opening AMA Motocross moto. Stewart quickly passed Cooper up Horsepower Hill to claim the lead spot. Those two were followed by Red Bull Honda's Andrew Short, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Michael Byrne, and North Racing Inc./Factory Connection Honda's Jimmy Albertson. Right before the whoop section, Short moved inside Cooper to take second. Stewart's teammate, and current points runner-up, Tim Ferry fell on the second lap and crossed the line in 39th. MDK/KTM's Nick Wey also found trouble and was working his way through the field. Stewart quickly sprinted away from the field while Byrne worked to drop Cooper to fourth on the second lap. The running order up front would stay the same throughout the remainder of the moto. Factory Yamaha's Josh Hill garnered his best moto of the season in fifth. Ferry sliced his way through the pack and managed an impressive 11th place finish by the end with Wey in 14th. Albertson and Moto XXX Honda's Jeff Alessi participated in a spirited battle throughout the moto until Albertson managed to pull away at the end. Stewart captured his 17th moto win in a row followed by Short and Byrne.

As the final AMA Motocross Lites moto blasted out of the gates, Canard capitalized on a great gate pick to grab the second Holeshot Award and open up an early gap on the field. Villopoto found difficulty and was mid-pack out of the first corner. MDK/KTM's Matt Goerke followed in second as Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Nicco Izzi trailed in third with Dungey and Metcalfe rounding out the top five. The battle behind Canard quickly picked up excitement as Dungey got by his teammate Izzi on lap two in the switchback section and then moved past Goerke the next lap. Villopoto was doing the same behind Dungey, sneaking past Goerke and Izzi. Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy's Mike Brown found himself back in the pack after a bad start. The race up front was shaping up to be memorable as Dungey crept up on Canard and Villopoto furiously closed the gap behind them. At the crest of Horsepower Hill, Villopoto gained an advantage but lost a bit on the bottom section of the track. On lap eight, Dungey got by Canard for the lead after working on the Honda rider for a few laps. Two laps later, Villopoto passed Canard and set his sights on Dungey. Motosport/Xtreme/Kawasaki's Tommy Hahn pulled off with mechanical issues about halfway through the moto. Dungey and Villopoto battled it out the remainder of the moto, bringing the fans to their feet and showcasing the high level of talent in the class. Villopoto gained on Dungey several times at the top of the hill, only to have Dungey pull away on the bottom section of the track. Both riders pushed each other to their limits all over the circuit, but a stray rock impacted Villopoto's goggles coming to the white flag, disorienting the rider and forcing him to back off. Early leader Canard tangled with a lapper on the last lap and needed assistance from the Asterisk Medical Unit. His misfortune gave Metcalfe the final spot on the podium for the second moto. Overall, Dungey's second moto triumph broke the tie between he and Villopoto while Grant grabbed third overall.

New Zealand native Cooper picked up where he left off in moto one, sweeping the Holeshot Award in the final moto and leading Byrne up Horsepower Hill. Short also had a good start and quickly found himself next to the Suzuki riders at the crest of the hill. He promptly moved past both of them by the time the field had worked its way down to the bottom of the track. Stewart quickly followed in Short's wake and moved past the Suzuki duo to grab second. It looked like Short may have a shot at leading his first lap this season, but Stewart worked inside of the Honda rider in a tight left-hand turn right before the finish and took the lead. Short stayed closed through the whoops, but the series' leader soon checked out and had built a lead of 31 seconds by the end of the moto. Short rode solid in second for the rest of the way to follow up his runner-up effort in moto one. The focus shifted to the battle for third between Cooper and Byrne. The factory rider ate Cooper's roost for nearly the entire moto. When he would close in on the New Zealander and attempt a pass, the door would shut and force him to back it down and avoid the roost. Finally, at the 28-minute mark of the 30-minute plus two lap moto, Byrne made the move before the finish line to get into third. The battle held extra significance, settling the run for third overall with Byrne getting the nod. Behind them, Hill was on the move after starting just inside the top-10. He eventually worked his way past Albertson to move into fifth, but was unable to make up any ground on the Suzuki duo ahead. Eventually, Ferry made the move on Albertson back to drop him to seventh. It was an overall impressive day for Albertson, starting up front and staying there. He took on pressure from Twisted/ Kawasaki's Sean Collier for most of the moto but was able to pull away late and hold onto seventh, placing him sixth overall. Collier came in eighth, ahead of Alessi and Moto XXX Honda's Antonio Balbi.


AMA Motocross

Michael Byrne, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross, Third Overall

"(The track was) quite slick. The rain definitely helped. The track was dry so that rain this morning was awesome. Being on the podium definitely builds (my) confidence. This is where I feel I belong. I try not to get wrapped up in (running up front) and just keep doing what I'm doing at home. I'm going to definitely take the week off and enjoy the next (couple) weekends."

Andrew Short, Red Bull Honda, AMA Motocross, Second Overall

"It feels great (to get second). I was kept honest by (Cody) Cooper and Michael (Byrne). They closed the gap on me in the second moto. Tim (Ferry) is my motivation. He is the reason why I go home and work harder to make myself better. The biggest thing (in being my best) is in the head. (The field) is all in shape, but mentally you can gain the most. That is an area where I've been lacking. It's been a lot of racing (for me) so I'm going to do some normal things around the house (during the time off)."

James Stewart, Monster Energy Kawasaki, AMA Motocross, Overall Winner

"My goal all year has been race to race and there is no need to change that up. If I just focus on what I do then the championship will come. Overall, it was a good day. I thought the track was pretty good. It got a little dry, but the rain came in and helped it out. There were ruts in the corners. I felt pretty good. I train so much and my program is always the same. I just try to focus on what I do best."

AMA Motocross Lites

Josh Grant, Geico Powersports Honda, AMA Motocross Lites, Third Overall

"I haven't been able to train much during the week (because of my ankle) so I've just tried to do my best when I get to the track. I felt good and I just plugged away (today). I knew I had to pass Nico (Izzi) to get third (overall) and keep Ryan (Sipes) behind me. I'm not taking the weekend off. I'm going to X Games and I'm going to take part in some of the activities there."

Ryan Villopoto, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, AMA Motocross Lites, Second Overall

"For whatever reason, the last three years I haven't had the greatest luck here. I had to work my way up and got into third and I had to catch Ryan (Dungey). Once we got by Trey (Canard) it was just me and Ryan. Going up the last hill I got hit in the head with a big rock and all the sweat outside of the goggles went inside so I had to take them off. Ryan's been riding good. With the way the track was today, you had to be careful about your lines and be conservative."

Ryan Dungey, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross Lites, Overall Winner

"It feels good. I've been working for a while to get this. Its probably one of the toughest things I've had to face to get here. It was hard to hold (Ryan Villopoto) off, but I'm just pumped to finally get here. James (Stewart) has helped me out tremendously. I look up to him so much so I really need to thank him and his dad for giving me the opportunity to learn from him. (This win means) everything. The hard work. What it took to win. Everyone that's helped me. My mom and dad. Just being able to throw the bike down with my arms in the air. Its great to just take this and go home."

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Mike Brown , Josh Grant , Josh Hill , James Stewart , Ryan Dungey , Ryan Villopoto , Trey Canard , Broc Tickle , Andrew Short