Villopoto Perfect In 450 Main Event | 2014 Houston SX

By Brendan Lutes
Photos by Jeff Kardas
After two months on the East Coast, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series returned to the West for the 14th round inside Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. With fresh dirt and a challenging, technical layout, the Houston track claimed numerous riders throughout the night, including eventual winner Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto. But in spite of that, Villopoto still managed to rise to the occasion and claim his fourth victory of the season, extending his points lead to 45 over Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart.

Monster Energy Supercross 450 Championship
Ryan Villopoto | 1st Place

Throughout the day, defending Champion Ryan Villopoto struggled with the track conditions, crashing in timed qualifying and in his heat race. The crash in his heat race was the worst of it, though, as RV hit the deck hard, landing on his head and right shoulder. He remounted and used the heat race to sort himself out, before returning in his semi race where he took a convincing win. In the main event, the three-time Champion proved to everyone why he has the number one plate, as he took the early lead and promptly checked out. No one could even come close to him in the main event.

Justin Barcia | 2nd Place

The Muscle Milk Honda rider had one of his best races of the season, as he transferred to the main event after an excellent heat race performance that saw him take third behind James Stewart and Ryan Dungey. It’s worth mentioning too that the first 450 heat race that Barcia was in was easily the best and most intense race of the evening. Barcia along with Stewart, Dungey, and RV all battled for the lead separated by only bike lengths. In the main event, Barcia got off to a great start and was the only rider to keep RV within sight throughout the 20-lap race. He was also one of only a few riders to consistently jump a difficult quad.

Ken Roczen | 3rd Place

After a fourth last week in St Louis, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen came into Houston looking to improve. In practice, Roczen posted the third fastest time, giving him more confidence in the night show. Roczen qualified for the main with a strong third place in his heat race, and in the main event, the German rider got off to a third place start and was never challenged for the position. Throughout the main, Roczen managed to post consistently fast laps, however, it wasn’t enough to catch the top two riders. Here, he battles with Eli Tomac (3).

Trey Canard | 4th Place

In only his second race back this season, Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard is quickly gaining momentum. Canard qualified out of his heat race after witnessing Villopoto’s crash in the closing laps to finish fourth. In the main event, the former 450 Supercross winner rode smart and consistent, as he held down fourth for the entirety of the race. Following the race, Canard said that he felt he needed to improve on his intensity during the main event.

James Stewart | 5th Place

One of the grittiest rides of the night came from Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart. Since Wednesday, Stewart had been battling a stomach ailment, which still lingered throughout the day, hindering his ability to ride. Stewart withdrew from all but a few laps of practice and promptly came out swinging in his heat race. After holding off charges from Villopoto, Dungey, and Barcia, Stewart was able to take the victory. In the main event, the Suzuki rider got off to a bad start in seventh and was unable to make up much ground. Stewart did, however, gain two positions to finish fifth when the checkered flag flew.

NOTEABLE PERFORMANCES

Ryan Dungey | 7th Place

Prior to Houston, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was sitting in second place in the championship points standings. But after getting caught up in some carnage shortly after the start of the main event, he was forced to claw his way back to the front of the pack. Dungey made great strides throughout the race, but was unable to catch the leaders. He ultimately finished seventh. He now sits third in points—just one point shy of second.

Josh Hill | 12th Place

Although it doesn’t look like a stellar result on paper, Josh Hill’s race in Houston was one of his best, as the RCH/Soaring Eagle/Suzuki rider was extremely fast all day long. In practice, Hill was fifth fastest, which he parlayed into a decisive heat race win. In the main event, though, things went south when he crashed in the first turn and was forced to come from dead last.

Main Event Results
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Justin Barcia (Hon)
3. Ken Roczen (KTM)
4. Trey Canard (Hon)
5. James Stewart (Suz)
6. Andrew Short (KTM)
7. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
8. Mike Alessi (Suz)
9. Eli Tomac (Hon)
10. Chris Blose (Hon)
11. Nick Wey (Kaw)
12. Josh Hill (Suz)
13. Nick Schmidt (Hon)
14. Cody Gilmore (Kaw)
15. Jimmy Decotis (Hon)
16. Ronnie Stewart (Suz)
17. Jimmy Albertson (Hon)
18. Kyle Regal (Hon)
19. Ben Lamay (Yam)
20. Weston Peick (Suz)
21. Josh Grant (Yam)
22. Vince Friese (Hon)
Monster Energy Supercross 450 Championship Points Standings (After 14 of 17 rounds):
1. Ryan Villopoto (293/4 wins)
2. James Stewart (248/5 wins)
3. Ryan Dungey (247/1 win)
4. Ken Roczen (235/2 wins)
5. Justin Barcia (198)
6. Justin Brayton (196)
7. Andrew Short (181)
8. Broc Tickle (126)
9. Wil Hahn (122)
10. Josh Hill (112)