No matter your opinion of Ryan Villopoto, the man is a legend in the making. From his professional debut in 2006 for Mitch Payton’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad to his current role as team captain at Monster Energy Kawasaki, the 25 year old from Washington state has changed motocross dramatically in speed, training, and skill. He has raced against and bested some of the sport’s biggest names, led Team USA to victory at numerous Motocross of Nations, and has fought back from injuries to become an even better athlete. Achieving one professional title is a career milestone, but to do it four consecutive times is a feat that few in history have accomplished.
Taking the Monster Energy Supercross championship this season put Villopoto on ESPN’s radar for their annual ESPY award presentation, and the nine-time AMA champion is now in contention for Male Action Sports Athlete of the Year. Villopoto finds himself against stiff competition, including some that are more familiar with the general public, but the domination RV displayed while riding with a knee injury will make for a close number at the polls.
Next year is slated to be the final leg of Villopoto’s career and will be the last chance we have to see one of the sport’s most important riders at his very best.