Race Report: Salt Lake City 2012

 By Michael Antonovich

Photos by Jeff Kardas

The Monster Energy Supercross Series made its annual stop to Salt Lake City for the 16th round of the 2012 season. The Utah event is usually known for poor weather, but this year's late April round was met with clear skies and mild temperatures. The track, though a basic layout, became technical as it developed numerous ruts in its rock laden soil. After last week's Seattle showdown, the stage was set for a rematch between GEICO Powersports Honda's Eli Tomac and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki battered Dean Wilson, as the two were the favorites for the West Coast Lites title. In the Supercross class, it seemed that anyone could win with the dominant Ryan Villopoto now on the sidelines.

Lites Qualifying

Heat One

JDR/J-Star/KTM rider Matt Moss claimed the holeshot in the first heat race of the night, but lost the lead to Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha's Ryan Sipes before the end of the first lap when he failed to huck the steep triple jump. Sipes would hold the spot for a number of laps over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson, who was riding with a heavily taped shoulder. Sipes’ time at the front came to an abrupt end when he lost the front end of his bike in tight bowl turn and handed the lead to second place rider Wilson. GEICO Powersports Honda racer Wil Hahn pressured Wilson and the duo gapped the rest of the field, but Wilson held on to take the win.

1. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
2. Wil Hahn (Hon)
3. Matt Moss (KTM)
4. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
5. Chris Plouffe (Hon)
6. Topher Ingalls (Hon)
7. Killy Rusk (Hon)
8. Myles Tedder (Kaw)
9. Beau Hudson (Kaw)

Heat Two

Billy Laninovich lead the pack to the first turn aboard his privateer Honda in the second heat race, but quickly lost the position to Red Bull KTM racer Marvin Musquin. Rockstar Suzuki's Martin Davalos bumped his way past Musquin and took command of the race, but a hard charging Eli Tomac overtook Davalos in the final laps of the qualifier. Davalos would lose another place on the final lap to teammate Jason Anderson after the two locked into battle.

1. Eli Tomac (Hon)
2. Jason Anderson (Suz)
3. Martin Davalos (Suz)
4. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
5. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
6. Vince Friese (Hon)
7. Landen Powell (Hon)
8. Travis Bright (Hon)
9. Collin Jurin (Suz)

LCQ

Scott Champion took his C4MX Honda to its second consecutive holeshot and Lites LCQ win in Salt Lake City. Champion faltered once in the opening lap, but this was his lone mistake of the sprint. Travis Bell ran second to Champion until 51Fifty’s Preston Tilford took the final transfer.

1. Scott Champion (Hon)
2. Preston Tilford (Hon)

Main Event

After routine track prep, the Lites main event stormed down the start straightaway and into the left hand bend with Jason Anderson at the front. Anderson would set the tone for the majority of the main event and used to open track to flaunt his aggressive riding style, but issues with lappers slowed his progress and allowed the pack, namely Eli Tomac, to catch him. Tomac had come from outside the top five to third in a matter of laps, and within a short amount of time was locked on second place Dean Wilson. The Honda racer patiently watched as Wilson, who was feeling the full effect of his injury, made the same mistake in the same section over two consecutive laps. Just moments later, Tomac slid past Wilson for the spot and motored off after Anderson. Tomac was within striking distance of the Suzuki pilot rather quickly and waited for the right moment to take the lead, which came in the sweeper just after the finish line. As Tomac built a lead over Anderson, Dean Wilson began a short-lived charged that ended when he got out of line while blitzing the whoop section before the finish. Wilson's bike violently augured his body into the ground and though he got up rather quickly, he retired from the event without making another lap. This DNF essentially handed the championship to Tomac, who won the title by 27 points over second place Wilson.

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Overall
1. Eli Tomac
2. Jason Anderson
3. Martin Davalos
4. Wil Hahn
5. Marvin Musquin
6. Matt Moss
7. Billy Laninovich
8. Topher Ingalls
9. Vince Friese
10. Scott Champion
11. Killy Rusk
12. Landen Powell
13. Preston Tillford
14. Beau Hudson
15. Chris Plouffe
16. Ryan Sipes
17. Myles Tedder
18. Travis Bright
19. Dean Wilson
20. Collin Jurin
250 Class West Coast Championship Standings (After 8 of 9 rounds)
1. Eli Tomac (159pts)
2. Dean Wilson (132)
3. Marvin Musquin (127)
4. Cole Seely (119)
5. Jason Anderson (95)
6. Matt Moss (92)
7. Billy Laninovich (84)
8. Ryan Sipes (83)
9. Nico Izzi (78)
10. Travis Baker (75)

Top Times
1. Eli Tomac 47.173
2. Dean Wilson 47.672
3. Martin Davalos 48.153
4. Wil Hahn 48.205
5. Marvin Musquin 48.549

Supercross Qualifying

Heat One

Monster Energy Kawasaki's lone racer, Jake Weimer, took the holeshot and early lead in the first 450 heat race of the night. Weimer and Chaparral Motorsports L&MC’s Andrew Short stayed close to one another in the opening stages, but by the fourth lap Weimer was safely out front and went on to take the win. Both Weimer and Short distanced themselves from the battling Broc Tickle and Mike Alessi; after a number of laps, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider made his way by the MotoConcepts mounted Alessi in the whoop section that led into the finish line double for third place.

1. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
2. Andrew Short (Hon)
3. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
4. Mike Alessi (Suz)
5. Kyle Regal (Kaw)
6. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
7. Gavin Faith (Yam)
8. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw)
9. Jason Thomas (Suz)

Heat Two

Ryan Dungey got the early jump on the field in his second race back since injury aboard his Red Bull KTM, but American Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton and JRG/Toyota/Yamaha's Davi Millsaps both squeezed past Dungey early in the opening lap. Dungey would then forfeit third place to Hart and Huntington replacement racer Tyler Bowers after the KTM racer made a series of mistakes that had him out of sorts and off the pace. After spending a handful of laps regaining his composure, Dungey would retake the position and charged after the leaders, but would run out of time at the flag.

Out front, Justin Brayton paced the Salt Lake circuit just ahead of Millsaps. Millsaps had closed the gap between himself and Brayton by tripling onto a tabletop in the rhythm section, a line that was faster than Brayton's double then leap over the two plateaus. Millsaps then blocked Brayton in a corner and motored off win to the heat race win.

1. Davi Millsaps (Yam)
2. Justin Brayton (Hon)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Tyler Bowers (Kaw)
5. Matt Georke (Suz)
6. Jimmy Albertson (Suz)
7. Chris Blose (Kaw)
8. Nick Wey (Kaw)
9. Weston Peick (Yam)
LCQ

Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha racer Robert Kiniry scored yet another LCQ holeshot over DNA Energy/Jeff Ward Racing's Josh Grant, and the two calmly qualified for the main event without issue or exchange of the lead. Motosport/TiLube/Foremost Insurance fill-in Justin Sipes moved through the pack but ran out of time after climbing to third place.

1. Robert Kiniry (Yam)
2. Josh Grant (Kaw)

 

Main Event

Davi Millsaps kicked off the 20 lap main event by seizing the holeshot over close competitors Ryan Dungey and Jake Weimer. Weimer passed Dungey for second in the early moments of the main event, and the two would begin a thrilling battle for the spot that was not short on action or contact. Dungey was the quickest of the top three in the opening half of the race and just before the eighth lap, blitzed the rutted whoop section to draw even with Weimer. He squared up Weimer in the entrance of the sweeper and snuck past by the turn's exit, but Weimer refused to concede. The Kawasaki racer attempted to park Dungey in the following turn but was not close enough to startle his competitor and was forced to wait for the next turn. It was there that Weimer pushed Dungey high into the surrounding bales and killed his forward momentum, which caused the KTM rider to tip and fall. Dungey remounted without losing a position and within laps made a pass on Weimer for second place that was free of contact.

Though Millsaps' two competitors focused more on each other and not the leader, the Yamaha racer failed to build a sizeable gap. The two had closed in on the leader as the race continued, but with three laps remaining it seemed that the distance was too great to close. But then two massive errors by the leader allowed Dungy to make a pass just before the white flag flew, and a visibly rattled Millsap's was unable to regain his composure with only moments left in the race. With that, Dungey sped off through lapped traffic to score his third main event win of the year.

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Overall
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Davi Millsaps
3. Jake Weimer
4. Justin Brayton
5. Mike Alessi
6. Broc Tickle
7. Andrew Short
8. Josh Grant
9. Robert Kiniry
10. Tyler Bowers
11. Matt Georke
12. Weston Peick
13. Nick Wey
14. Gavin Faith
15. Jason Thomas
16. Chris Blose
17. Kyle Chisholm
18. Jimmy Albertson
19. Kyle Regal
20. Brett Metcalfe
450 Class Championship Standings (After 16 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto (323pts)
2. Davi Millsaps (244)
3. Justin Brayton (237)
4. Ryan Dungey (232)
5. Jake Weimer (211)
6. Mike Alessi (192)
7. James Stewart (178)
8. Brett Metcalfe (174)
9. Kevin Windham (166)
10. Broc Tickle (161)

Top Times
1. Ryan Dungey 46.442
2. Jake Weimer 47.137
3. Davi Millsaps 47.215
4. Justin Brayton 47.653
5. Mike Alessi 48.004