Race Report: Freestone
2007 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF

National Motocross returned to the Lone Star State after a 19-year absence when this weekend’s penultimate round of the AMA Motocross National Championship Series visited Freestone MX Park in Wortham, Texas. In a repeat performance of last weekend’s Steel City National, Team Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Team Yamaha’s Grant Langston earned the overall wins and extended their point leads in the Motocross Lites and Motocross classes, respectively.

Villopoto’s 1-1 moto sweep was made even sweeter because his teammate and championship rival Ben Townley suffered an untimely crash on the opening of the first moto and could only muster a sixth. Second in moto two earned Townley third overall, but he now finds himself trailing Villopoto by 19 points entering next weekend’s Glen Helen Series finale. Second on the day went to Yamaha’s Broc Hepler, who turned in a pair of third-place finishes.

Langston utilized 2-1 moto scores to earn his second career Motocross class win, and enjoys an eight point lead over Andrew Short. Team Red Bull/KTM’s Mike Alessi earned second overall with a 3-2 scorecard. Honda’s Andrew Short earned the first Motocross class moto win of his career in the first go-round and looked to have a two-moto sweep under his belt as he holeshot the second moto and checked out early on, but a wash out 10 minutes in left him in third and struggling to regain his rhythm. Short dropped to an eventual fifth in the moto, but it was still good enough for third overall.

LITES MOTO ONE

Broc Hepler emerged with the lead at the start of moto one and led new Makita Suzuki rider Nico Izzi, Josh Grant, Villopoto and Austin Stroupe. Townley crashed on the first lap and started the race in 38th place.

“I got a good jump but I made some mistakes on the first lap and went down,” said Townley, obviously disappointed to have lost so many valuable points to his rival.

Villopoto went to work quickly and displaced both Grant and Izzi on lap two, and began to apply heavy pressure to Hepler as the pack began lap three. Villopoto bounced past Hepler and into the lead on the “Texas 12 Pack” and checked out, leaving the others to scrap over second. Stroupe and Izzi battled tooth-in-nail over third, only a few bike lengths behind Hepler. Izzi began to slow dramatically on lap six and dropped off the leaders’ pace. Half a lap later, Izzi pulled off with a mechanical problem.

At the 12-minute mark, Townley had worked up to 14th, but up front his championship rival Villopoto enjoyed an eight-second lead. Hepler held down second at the halfway point ahead of Stroupe, while Canard found his way past Metcalfe for fourth. The pass seemed to inspire Metcalfe, however, and he picked up the pace, passed Canard back, and put some breathing room between himself and the rookie Honda rider.

As the moto wore down, Villopoto continued to pull away, while Stroupe mounted a tremendous charge and began to claw at the rear fender of Hepler’s Yamaha. Four seconds behind Stroupe came Metcalfe, comfortably ahead of Canard. At the checkers, Villopoto enjoyed a 22-second lead over Stroupe, who banzaied past Hepler just before the finish. Metcalf was alone in fourth, ahead of Canard and Townley, who put in a heroic charge through the pack for sixth.

RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Austin Stroupe
  3. Broc Hepler
  4. Brett Metcalfe
  5. Trey Canard
  6. Ben Townley
  7. Matt Goerke
  8. Kyle Chisholm
  9. Broc Tickle
  10. Tommy Hahn

MOTOCROSS MOTO ONE

Andrew Short lassoed the holeshot in the opening Motocross moto over Kyle Keylon, Jeff Alessi, Mike Alessi and Grant Langston. By lap three, Short enjoyed an eight second lead over Mike Alessi and Langston, who were a few bike lengths of Josh Hill and Ivan Tedesco, whi the fourth title hopeful — Tim Ferry — ran seventh.

Lap five saw Hill pull in for an emergency goggle swap, dropping from sixth to outside the top 20 in his debut Motocross class ride. Hill only competed one more lap before pulling off to get his eyes flushed at the Asterisk Mobile Medic unit.

At the halfway point, Short enjoyed a comfortable 15-second lead over Alessi, who had Langston breathing down his jersey. Six seconds back came Ferry and Tedesco. Cool G found his was past Alessi in the far section of the track and set out to chip away at Short’s massive lead.

At the checkers, it was Short, Langston, Alessi and Ferry.

RESULTS:

  1. Andrew Short
  2. Grant Langston
  3. Mike Alessi
  4. Tim Ferry
  5. Ivan Tedesco
  6. Michael Byrne
  7. Cody Cooper
  8. Josh Summey
  9. Kevin Windham
  10. Troy Adams

LITES MOTO TWO

Villopoto led the way at the start of moto two, with Canard, Hepler, Townley and the rest in hot pursuit. Hepler forced his way past Canard on lap one, as did Townley at the start of lap two.

By lap three, Villopoto enjoyed a four-second lead over Townley, who was followed by Hepler, Canard, Stroupe, Metcalf and Martin Davalos.

At the 10-minute mark, Villopoto had pulled out a 10-second lead over Townley. In third, meanwhile, was Hepler, but he had his hands full with a hard-charging Stroupe, who had found his way past Canard one lap earlier. Stroupe got the crowd on its feet as he worked past Hepler in the finish line area, but Hepler kicked it up a notch and did his best to retake the position. Stroupe, however, was able to make the pass stick and settled into a comfortable third.

Disaster struck for the Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad with 10 minutes left when Stroupe’s bike gave up the ghost, and Metcalfe crashed in the ruts and lost two positions. This left Villopoto out front, comfortably ahead of Townley, with Hepler in third and Davalos in fourth.

At the checkered flag, Villopoto enjoyed over 30 seconds over Townley. Hepler was all alone in third, while Davalos and Canard were spaced out evenly in fourth and fifth.

“I didn’t get the start I wanted in moto two so I went more inside in the second race and got the holeshot,” said Villopoto. “With a clear track, I just put my head down and never saw anyone the whole race.”

“I got an awesome start,” said Hepler, who earned second overall. “But Ryan was just too fast and I am not completely up to speed yet. I am happy with second, though”

RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Ben Townley
  3. Broc Hepler
  4. Martin Davalos
  5. Trey Canard
  6. Brett Metcalfe
  7. Tommy Hahn
  8. Broc Tickle
  9. Kyle Chisholm
  10. Jake Weimer

LITES OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto 1-1
  2. Broc Hepler 3-3
  3. Ben Townley 6-2
  4. Brett Metcalfe 4-6
  5. Trey Canard 5-5
  6. Martin Davalos 11-4
  7. Tommy Hahn 10-7
  8. Broc Tickle 9-8
  9. Kyle Chisholm 8-9
  10. Austin Stroupe 2-32

LITES CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto (497 points/5 wins)
  2. Ben Townley (478/5 wins)
  3. Josh Grant (346/1 win)
  4. Jason Lawrence (277)
  5. Ryan Dungey (267)
  6. Jake Weimer (226)
  7. Brett Metcalfe (202)
  8. Tommy Hahn (202)
  9. Broc Tickle (189)
  10. Kyle Chisholm (176)

MOTOCROSS MOTO TWO

Short grabbed his second holeshot of the day when the gate dropped to start moto two. Mike Alessi started second and was trailed by Kevin Windham, Gavin Gracyk, Langston and Ferry. Langston and Ferry made their was past Gracyk quickly, knowing well that Short was up front and pulling away.

On lap five, Langston made his past way Windham and began to hound Alessi for second, but all the while Short was having the ride of his life and already had an eight-second lead.

On the next circuit, Langston forced his was past Alessi for second just before the sand whoops, and the former World, National and Supercross Lites Champion fixed his sights on the leader. Langston didn’t have to try too hard, however, as Short lost control in a rutted corner and dropped to third, just ahead of Ferry. Langston was happy to inherit the lead, and went to work quickly, pulling away from Alessi even further.

With Short in his sights after his crash, Ferry caught a second wind and dogged the former leader, finally making his way past by out-braking him entering a corner in the same section that cost Short earlier. This left the running order with 10 minutes to go: Langston, Alessi, Ferry, Short, Hill and Windham. Ferry didn’t let up once he was in control of third, either; Red Dog clawed his way forward and found himself on the rear fender of Alessi in the closing stages of the race. Concurrently, Yamaha’s rookie Motocross class entrant Josh Hill caught and passed Short, costing him valuable championship points and helping his teammate Langston in the process.

With two laps to go, Alessi lost control of his KTM and swapped off the track, taking a wild ride through the FMF banners that lined the inside of the track, but miraculously he threaded the needle in between two hay bales and never lost a beat, maintaining a slight edge over Ferry.

At the checkers, Langston led Alessi by seven seconds. Ferry was third, and Hill was fourth, followed by an obviously disappointed Short.

“I just tucked my front end in a corner,” said Short. “After that, I was just done.”

Langston, meanwhile, was ecstatic about his win. “Ever since I got on the new 2008 YZ450F, things have turned around for me,” he said. “The bike corners amazingly well and I have unlimited confidence in it.”

RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Tim Ferry
  4. Josh Hill
  5. Andrew Short
  6. Cody Cooper
  7. Kevin Windham
  8. Ivan Tedesco
  9. Kyle Keylon
  10. Michael Byrne

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston 2-1
  2. Mike Alessi 3-2
  3. Andrew Short 1-5
  4. Tim Ferry 4-3
  5. Cody Cooper 7-6
  6. Ivan Tedesco 5-8
  7. Kevin Windham 9-7
  8. Michael Byrne 6-10
  9. Josh Hill 37-4
  10. Gavin Gracyk 14-11

MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS:

  1. Grant Langston (394 points/2 wins)
  2. Andrew Short (386)
  3. Tim Ferry (381/1 win)
  4. Mike Alessi (379)
  5. Kevin Windham (322/1 win)
  6. Ricky Carmichael (291/6 wins)
  7. James Stewart (290/1 win)
  8. Michael Byrne (218)
  9. David Vuillemin (207)
  10. Ivan Tedesco (198)

d Ferry. Langston and Ferry made their was past Gracyk quickly, knowing well that Short was up front and pulling away.

On lap five, Langston made his past way Windham and began to hound Alessi for second, but all the while Short was having the ride of his life and already had an eight-second lead.

On the next circuit, Langston forced his was past Alessi for second just before the sand whoops, and the former World, National and Supercross Lites Champion fixed his sights on the leader. Langston didn’t have to try too hard, however, as Short lost control in a rutted corner and dropped to third, just ahead of Ferry. Langston was happy to inherit the lead, and went to work quickly, pulling away from Alessi even further.

With Short in his sights after his crash, Ferry caught a second wind and dogged the former leader, finally making his way past by out-braking him entering a corner in the same section that cost Short earlier. This left the running order with 10 minutes to go: Langston, Alessi, Ferry, Short, Hill and Windham. Ferry didn’t let up once he was in control of third, either; Red Dog clawed his way forward and found himself on the rear fender of Alessi in the closing stages of the race. Concurrently, Yamaha’s rookie Motocross class entrant Josh Hill caught and passed Short, costing him valuable championship points and helping his teammate Langston in the process.

With two laps to go, Alessi lost control of his KTM and swapped off the track, taking a wild ride through the FMF banners that lined the inside of the track, but miraculously he threaded the needle in between two hay bales and never lost a beat, maintaining a slight edge over Ferry.

At the checkers, Langston led Alessi by seven seconds. Ferry was third, and Hill was fourth, followed by an obviously disappointed Short.

“I just tucked my front end in a corner,” said Short. “After that, I was just done.”

Langston, meanwhile, was ecstatic about his win. “Ever since I got on the new 2008 YZ450F, things have turned around for me,” he said. “The bike corners amazingly well and I have unlimited confidence in it.”

RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Tim Ferry
  4. Josh Hill
  5. Andrew Short
  6. Cody Cooper
  7. Kevin Windham
  8. Ivan Tedesco
  9. Kyle Keylon
  10. Michael Byrne

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston 2-1
  2. Mike Alessi 3-2
  3. Andrew Short 1-5
  4. Tim Ferry 4-3
  5. Cody Cooper 7-6
  6. Ivan Tedesco 5-8
  7. Kevin Windham 9-7
  8. Michael Byrne 6-10
  9. Josh Hill 37-4
  10. Gavin Gracyk 14-11

MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS:

  1. Grant Langston (394 points/2 wins)
  2. Andrew Short (386)
  3. Tim Ferry (381/1 win)
  4. Mike Alessi (379)
  5. Kevin Windham (322/1 win)
  6. Ricky Carmichael (291/6 wins)
  7. James Stewart (290/1 win)
  8. Michael Byrne (218)
  9. David Vuillemin (207)
  10. Ivan Tedesco (198)