2008 Millville Race Report

            Heading into the 10th round of the series at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, both Team Monster Energy Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto stood poised to wrap up the championships in the Motocross and Motocross Lites classes, respectively. After it was all said and done, the two dominating Kawasaki riders clinched their titles with Stewart doing it after the first MX class moto and Villopoto wrapping his up after an incredible come-from-behind ride in the second Lites moto.

            In the opening moto, all Stewart had to do was hope that his teammate Timmy Ferry didn’t finish second, and a third-place finish posted by Red Dog proved to be just enough to allow the Floridian racer the cushion needed to win the title with five motos left to run. As for Villopoto, after running away with the opening moto, all he had to do was finish eighth or better in the second and the title was his. Unfortunately for RV, though, a first-lap crash on a downhill forced him to charge up through the field to an eventual runner-up finish, effectively giving up the overall to Team Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s hometown rider Ryan Dungey. Despite that, though, like mentioned above, RV finished better than eighth and still took home the title. For more on exactly what happened, though, read on and find out…[slideshow=5398]

MOTOCROSS LITES CLASS MOTO ONEDungey couldn’t match the pace of Villopoto for the first moto. He finished second.

When the gate hit the dirt for the start of the first moto of the day, it was Team MDK/KTM’s Martin Davalos who took the holeshot ahead of a hard-charging field of racers. After the pack thundered through the back whoop section, thought, Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey had already worked their way around Davalos while Team Geico Powersports/Honda’s Josh Grant began to pressure for third. As the race continued, it appeared that Dungey might be able to battle Villopoto for first. A few laps later, though, and Villopoto began to open up a sizable lead over the Suzuki-mounted hometown favorite. Meanwhile, Grant rode around all by himself in third with Villopoto’s teammate Brett Metcalfe holding down fourth. From there, the top four running order never changed with RV taking the win ahead of Dungey, Grant, and Metcalfe. Perhaps one of the best charges of the race, though, came from Team Geico Powersports/Honda’s newest recruit Blake Wharton who crashed on the first lap and charged up to 10th by the end.

Results:

1.     Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

2.     Ryan Dungey (Suz)

3.     Josh Grant (Hon)

4.     Brett Metcalfe (Kaw)

5.     Kyle Cunningham (Hon)

6.     Broc Tickle (Yam)

7.     Jake Weimer (Hon)

8.     Wil Hahn (Yam)

9.     Andrew McFarlane (Kaw)

10. Blake Wharton (Hon)

 

MOTOCROSS CLASS MOTO ONEStewart and the rest of the pack jump off the line for the start of the first MX class moto.

            This race was pretty much over as soon as the pack hit the first turn, as James Stewart took the holeshot with the championship on his mind and never looked back, leading every lap of the 30 minutes plus two lap moto. Behind him, Team Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short dropped into second early on while Stewart’s teammate Timmy Ferry did likewise into third place. Both riders got around early second-place holder Red Bull Honda’s Ivan Tedesco. Behind the top riders, Team MDK/KTM’s Matt Goerke and Team Yamaha’s Broc Hepler began to move up on Tedesco and pressure him for fourth. Within a few laps, Tedesco began to fade, allowing Goerke to take over fourth with Hepler fifth. After that, things didn’t change until the final few laps when Hepler’s hard-charging teammate Josh Hill caught up and passed both riders—Goerke actually went down and finished ninth—to finish fourth. In the end, Stewart took the win followed by Short, Ferry, Hill, and Hepler.

Results:

1.     James Stewart (Kaw)

2.     Andrew Short (Hon)

3.     Timmy Ferry (Kaw)

4.     Josh Hill (Yam)

5.     Broc Hepler (Yam)

6.     Michael Byrne (Suz)

7.     Ivan Tedesco (Hon)

8.     Jeff Alessi (Hon)

9.     Matt Goerke (KTM)

10. Nick Wey (KTM)

MOTOCROSS LITES CLASS MOTO TWOAfter crashing on the first lap, RV charged up to second to finish second overall and clinch his third consecutive Lites Class National Championship.

            The start of this moto began much like the first with Davalos taking the holeshot again while Villopoto and Dungey were stuck behind. After they pack went into the back section, though, RV was into the lead followed by Dungey and the rest of the pack. This is where it got interesting, as Villopoto crashed on one of the many downhills found on the picturesque Millville track, handing the lead to Davalos followed by Dungey, Blake Wharton, Team MDK/KTM’s Justin Brayton, and Josh Grant rounding out the top-five. Villopoto was buried back in 24th.

“I came down on that first downhill and I was charging hard,” Villopoto began about his second moto crash. “I hit the brakes, and I think I hit a wet spot, because before I knew it, I was laying on the ground and rolling down the hill.”

Within only two laps, Dungey took over first with Wharton moving into second, dropping Davalos back to third for one lap until Brett Metcalfe got around him for the position. From there, things didn’t change up front until the end of the race when Metcalfe caught and passed Wharton for second, and then shortly after that—on lap 13—Villopoto passed Wharton for third and then Metcalfe for second one lap later. When the checkered flag flew, Dungey took the win as well as the overall; Villopoto took second, easily clinching the title, while Metcalfe finished third. Wharton finished fourth.

            As for the race, Villopoto said, “I was trying to steal a win away from Ryan (Dungey) on his home track and return the favor from Washougal, but I made a mistake and there was nothing I could do about it besides catch back up.”

Results:

1.     Ryan Dungey (Suz)

2.     Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

3.     Brett Metcalfe (Kaw)

4.     Blake Wharton (Hon)

5.     Jake Weimer (Hon)

6.     Nico Izzi (Suz)

7.     Justin Brayton (KTM)

8.     Jake Moss (Yam)

9.     Andrew McFarlane (Kaw)

10. Wil Hahn (Yam)

Overall Results:

1.     Ryan Dungey 2-1

2.     Ryan Villopoto 1-2

3.     Brett Metcalfe 4-3

4.     Jake Weimer 7-5

5.     Blake Wharton 11-4

6.     Kyle Cunningham 5-11

7.     Andrew McFarlane 9-9

8.     Wil Hahn 8-10

9.     Justin Brayton 12-7

10. Josh Grant 3-34

 

AMA Toyota Motocross Lites Championship Standings (After 10 of 12 rounds):

1.     Ryan Villopoto (485/7 wins)*

2.     Ryan Dungey (376/2 wins)

3.     Brett Metcalfe (305)

4.     Jake Weimer (259)

5.     Nico Izzi (230)

6.     Ryan Sipes (192)

7.     Kyle Cunningham (174)

8.     Josh Grant (173)

9.     Trey Canard (173)

10. Andrew McFarlane (156)

MOTOCROSS CLASS MOTO TWODespite having already wrapped up the MX class title in the first moto, Stewart still gave it his all in the second moto, winning by over one minute.

            After having already wrapped up the title in the first moto and wearing a number one on his jersey, Stewart used the second moto to put a dominating exclamation point on his day. Unlike the first moto, Stewart didn’t take the holeshot, as that honor went to Honda-mounted Jeff Alessi, but before the first few turns were completed, Stewart was already into the lead and pulling away. Behind him, Alessi held onto second for seven laps before giving that up to Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Michael Byrne who held the position until the end. As the laps continued, Alessi began to drop further down in the running order, allowing Suzuki privateer Cody Cooper to take over third and MDK/KTM’s Nick Wey to move into fourth. Meanwhile, Short had charged up to fifth by the end after being caught in a first turn pile up that involved his teammate Tedesco, Team Yamaha’s Josh Hill—who appeared to have injured his wrist—and numerous other riders. When the race concluded, Stewart took the win, followed by Byrne, and Cooper. In the overall, Stewart finished first followed by the very consistent Short, and Byrne.

            For Stewart, the title was a long time coming and the only title that he hasn’t been able to achieve in his career. “It was a really good day,” Stewart said. “I was kind of a little nervous in the first moto, watching the gate and all, but I guess that’s normal. Once I got out there, though, I felt pretty good. It feels really good!”

When asked if he will return to defend his title, Stewart had this to say, “I want to. We have a lot of plans coming up for next year, and I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be a good season.”

 

Results:

1.     James Stewart (Kaw)

2.     Michael Byrne (Suz)

3.     Cody Cooper (Suz)

4.     Nick Wey (KTM)

5.     Andrew Short (Hon)

6.     Jeff Alessi (Hon)

7.     Matt Goerke (KTM)

8.     Gavin Gracyk (Yam)

9.     Tyler Wharton (Hon)

10. Charles Summey (Yam)

 

Overall Results:

1.     James Stewart 1-1

2.     Andrew Short 2-5

3.     Michael Byrne 6-2

4.     Nick Wey 10-4

5.     Timmy Ferry 3-12

6.     Jeff Alessi 8-6

7.     Matt Goerke 9-7

8.     Brock Hepler 5-11

9.     Cody Cooper 19-3

10. Charles Summey 13-10