Race Report: Monster Energy Supercross – Las Vegas
Villopoto, Barcia, Tickle Crowned in Sin City
By Donn Maeda
Photos by Jordan Powell
In front of a sold-out crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto wrapped up his first-ever Supercross Championship with a solid – albeit safe – third place finish aboard his Mike Williamson-tuned Kawasaki KX450F. Team TwoTwo Motorsports rider Chad Reed – the rider whom had the best chance of beating Villopoto in the final standings – earned the win in the final main event of the year, but it was not enough to overtake RV in the final point standings.
In the Western Region Supercross Lites main, KTM’s German wonderboy Ken Roczen earned a popular win, but the championship title went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle, who turned in an incredible performance to climb to second at the race’s end. Tickle battled past his championship rival Eli Tomac, who was actually in position to win the title, but dropped to fourth at the end.
The Eastern Regional Championship, meanwhile, went to Geico Honda’s Justin Barcia, who salvaged third in the East Coast main after a crash while leading. The race win went to Blake Baggett, who nipped Ryan Sipes for the win in the twilight of the 15-lap main event.
The Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East vs. West Shootout, Sipes rebounded with the win in the 10-lap contest, topping TLD Honda’s Cole Seely and Roczen.
EASTERN REGIONAL SUPERCROSS LITES
Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot at the start of the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites main event and led Ryan Sipes, Blake Baggett and Lance Vincent onto the track. Barcia looked great for the first few laps and looked to have the race under control, until he lost his front end in a slippery bowl corner and went down. Sipes took control of the lead with Baggett hot on his tail, while Barcia remounted quickly and moved back up to third within only one lap.
Baggett turned up the heat on the sixth lap as he pulled alongside Sipes on Monster Alley and sailed into the lead as they re-entered the stadium, but he carried too much speed into the next corner and Sipes snuck back into first. As the laps wore down, Sipes and Baggett stayed close to one another, Sipes pulling away in the whoops and Baggett closing back in on the rest of the track. On the last lap, Baggett really caught fire and closed to the rear of Sipes, and made an aggressive dive to the inside of a left-handed corner. The two leaders made contact, and Baggett emerged with the lead. Though Sipes tried his hardest, he was unable to retake the lead and followed Baggett across the finish line by a few inches. This was Baggett’s second win of the season; his first coming at the legendary Daytona Supercross by Honda. Barcia cruised home in third and wrapped up the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship, while Wilson and Malcolm Stewart rounded out the top five. Matt Lemoine turned in a commendable ride, racing from 18th on lap one to sixth at the finish.
“I want to say happy birthday to my little sister who turned 12 today,” said Baggett. “I’ve had some big ups and downs this season, and it is good to finish out the series on a high note. Right now, I am just looking forward to the 250 Nationals.”
“I came into this season and I knew that this was my year to win the championship,” said new champ Barcia. “When I crashed and broke my wrist, I knew that I was going to have to just ride through it if I wanted to get the job done. It hurt a lot at times, but right now, I can barely remember the pain.”
1. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
2. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
3. Justin Barcia (Hon)
4. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
5. Malcolm Stewart (Suz)
6. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
7. Lance Vincent (Hon)
8. Hunter Hewitt (Suz)
9. Les Smith (Hon)
10. Justin Sipes (Kaw)
11. Chris Gosselaar (Suz)
12. Taylor Futrell (Hon)
13. Levi Kilbarger (Hon)
14. Tyler Bright (Hon)
15. AJ Catanzaro (Hon)
16. Johnny Moore (Hon)
17. Kelly Rusk (KTM)
18. Ricky Renner (KTM)
19. Brad Ripple (Hon)
20. Gannon Audette (Yam)
|FINAL EASTERN REGIONAL SUPERCROSS LITES POINT STANDINGS
1. Justin Barcia (205)