Race Report: Steel City
2007 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF

Tight championship battles in both the Lites and Motocross divisions were the story heading into this weekend’s race at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, PA, and by the time the races were over the points battles were still too close to call.

LITES MOTO ONE

Although the weather was near-perfect by the time it was time for the first Lites moto, the track was still plenty rough, with lots of ruts and just enough mud to make being in the back of the pack a real downer — not that being there isn’t enough of a depressant on it’s own. When the gate finally dropped it looked like Ryan Villopoto was on his way to the holeshot as he charged up Steel City’s long uphill start straight, but as he approached the first turn his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate, Austin Stroupe, came cutting across the pack from the outside and clipped Villopoto, leading to a big pile up that included RV, Ben Townley, and Brett Metcalfe, among others.

Stroupe, however, made it through turn one and held the lead on the opening lap, but a fall in the last turn before the finish line allowed both Yamaha’s Broc Hepler, and Honda’s Tommy Hahn to get by the rookie. Austin remounted quickly and moved into third place.

Once out front Broc Hepler quickly began opening up a sizeable lead, but the hometown favorite slid out just after the finish line at the start of lap number three and ended up with his leg pinned under his bike. By the time Broc was able to get out from under his bike, he was in third place as both Hahn and Stroupe went by. But within two laps Hepler found his way back to the front of the pack, and at the midway point in the race the top three of Hepler, Hahn, and Stroupe had over a ten second lead on the rest of the field.

Not surprisingly, both Villopoto and Townley quickly started making their way through the field after the first turn crash that pushed them towards the back of the pack. Villopoto, however, had the better of it, and by lap eight made his way into fifth place and set his sites on Josh Grant in fourth. Grant seemed to turn it up with Villopoto on his tail, but after about 3/4 of a lap, Grant took a wide line in a 180-degree left-hander that opened the door for RV to pass on the inside.

Villopoto continued his charge, and with less than a handful of laps left in the moto, had made it to within a few bike lengths of Stroupe in second place. The chase came down to the final corner of the last lap, but Stroupe was able to hang on for second place in the first moto of his professional career.

Townley was also making his way through traffic, but several falls throughout the moto left him with sixth by the time the checkered flag waved.

RESULTS:

  1. Broc Hepler
  2. Austin Stroupe
  3. Ryan Villopoto
  4. Tommy Hahn
  5. Josh Grant
  6. Ben Townley
  7. Nico Izzi
  8. Brett Metcalfe
  9. Jake Weimer
  10. Jason Lawrence

MX MOTO ONE

Red Bull/KTM’s Mike Alessi came from an outside gate position to edge out Sobe No Fear/Samsung/Honda’s Kevin Windham for the holeshot at the start of Motocross Moto number one. Alessi stayed out front to end lap one, followed by Kevin Windham, Yamaha’s Grant Langston, DNA Energy Drink/BTOSports.com’s Kyle Keylon, and Rockstar/Suzuki’s Michael Byrne. Tim Ferry and Andrew Short — who were tied for the series lead coming into the weekend — finished the opening lap in sixth and eighth place respectively, and although Ferry made his way to fourth place by the end of the moto, neither rider ever made a challenge for the lead.

Out front Mike Alessi held onto the lead for the first five laps, with Windham not far behind in second, and as the two leaders started to head into lapped traffic things got interesting. A downed rider forced Alessi to check up as he went through a right-hander,iving Windham all the opportunity he needed. K-Dub took over the lead position, but Alessi by no means just gave it away. For several laps the two were within a few bike lengths of each other, while Langston had settled comfortably into third place. Then, after a couple of laps of follow-the-leader, Alessi made a pass on Windham and at the same time Langston quickly drew to within a few seconds of the two.

At this point Windham seemed to fade a bit, allowing Alessi to open up a sizeable lead, and at the same time allowing GL to setup for a pass. Langston made an aggressive move on Windham and ended up making mid-air contact as the two cleared a double. That clearly didn’t sit well with Windham who shook his finger at Langston as they crossed the finish line a few turns later.

The drama wasn’t done there: on the following lap Langston crashed in a turn following a lengthy downhill section and Windham cruised by. By the next lap they found each other again, and GL made a clean inside pass on Windham through the finish line left-hander.

When the race was finally over, Mike Alessi had his first moto win in the MX class, Langston finished second, and Windham crossed the line in third place.

RESULTS:

  1. Mike Alessi
  2. Grant Langston
  3. Kevin Windham
  4. Tim Ferry
  5. Andrew Short
  6. Ivan Tedesco
  7. Michael Byrne
  8. Gavin Gracyk
  9. Jeff Alessi
  10. Kyle Keylon

LITES MOTO TWO

Ryan Villopoto made sure he didn’t run into the same problems he encountered at the start of the first moto, by jumping out to a big holeshot in Lites moto number two. And as we’ve seen from the young phenom before, Villopoto motored on to a convincing win; leading all seventeen laps of the 30 minutes plus two laps race.

Behind Villopoto, however, there was plenty of shuffling going on. Townley got off the line a little bit further back in the field than his teammate, but by the end of lap one he was in third place behind Hahn in second. Fourth place belonged to Brett Metcalfe, and behind him was the first moto winner, Broc Hepler. Metcalfe and Hepler duked it out for a little while early in the moto, with Hepler getting the best of it for the first few laps.

Townley stumbled on the second lap, dropping back to ninth, but as you would expect, he charged back up to second place by the end of the moto.

Riding in the top three until lap seven, Tommy Hahn was looking like he would turn one of his best performances of the season. Unfortunately for the young Honda rider, he went down hard over the uphill triple-double section shortly after the finish line with just two laps to go and was unable to finish the moto. Broc Hepler also ran into trouble late in the moto and ended up with a DNF, clearing the way for another Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki podium sweep.

Villopoto won the moto and the overall, followed by Townley in second, and Metcalfe in third. The championship points shuffled slightly at Villopoto moved into the lead; six points ahead of Townley.

RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Ben Townley
  3. Brett Metcalfe
  4. Martin Davalos
  5. Trey Canard
  6. Zach Osborne
  7. Nico Izzi
  8. Ryan Sipes
  9. Josh Grant
  10. Jake Weimer

LITES OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto 3-1
  2. Ben Townley 6-2
  3. Brett Metcalfe 8-3
  4. Austin Stroupe 2-12
  5. Nico Izzi 7-7
  6. Josh Grant 5-9
  7. Martin Davalos 13-4
  8. Broc Hepler 1-31
  9. Jake Weimer 9-10
  10. Trey Canard 16-5

LITES SEASON STANDINGS:

  1. Ryan Villopoto (447 points/4 wins)
  2. Ben Townley (441/5 wins)
  3. Josh Grant (340/1 win)
  4. Jason Lawrence (277)
  5. Ryan Dungey (267)
  6. Jake Weimer (211)
  7. Tommy Hahn (177)
  8. Brett Metcalfe (169)
  9. Broc Tickle (164)
  10. Kyle Chisholm (151)

MX MOTO TWO

The Motocross class put on one heck of a show in their final moto of the day. Kevin Windham — perhaps still a little fired up from the first moto — came out swinging as he took the holeshot and led up until the final two laps of the moto. Behind Windham on the opening lap were Gavin Gracyk, Grant Langston, Mike Alessi, and Andrew Short.

Gracyk ran with the top dogs for the first two laps, but by the third lap both Langston and Alessi got past him and set their sites on Windham. K-Dub, however, had started top put some distance between himself and Langston in second, and for most of the race the top three stayed steady at Windham, Langston, and Alessi.

Then, on lap ten things started to stir up a bit. Alessi made it past Langston as they both started to gain some ground on Windham out front. With just three laps to go GL retook second place, and on the following lap moved into the lead. All three riders were charging hard on the white flag lap, and the crowd was eating up; cheering wildly as they circulated the course one final time.

In the end, Langston held on for the win — which also gave him the overall — and Windham finished in second. Mike Alessi put on one final charge in the last corner before the checkered flag, but his back wheel slipped out and he ended up hitting the trackside banners; forcing him to settle for third.

As for the points chase… Langston moved into the lead in the season standings, and Andrew Short broke the points tie he had with Tim Ferry coming into Steel City. Mike Alessi is also still in the mix with 337 points, just 10 points behind Langston.

RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Kevin Windham
  3. Mike Alessi
  4. Andrew Short
  5. Ivan Tedesco
  6. Gavin Gracyk
  7. Tim Ferry
  8. Yoshitaka Atsuta
  9. Josh Summey
  10. Jason Thomas

MX OVERALL RESULTS:

  1. Grant Langston 2-1
  2. Mike Alessi 1-3
  3. Kevin Windham 3-2
  4. Andrew Short 5-4
  5. Tim Ferry 4-7
  6. Ivan Tedesco 6-5
  7. Gavin Gracyk 8-6
  8. Michael Byrne 7-11
  9. Yoshitaka Atsuta 11-8
  10. Josh Summey 12-9

MX SEASON STANDINGS:

  1. Grant Langston (347 points/1 win)
  2. Andrew Short (345)
  3. Tim Ferry (343/1 win)
  4. Mike Alessi (337)
  5. Kevin Windham (296/1 win)
  6. Ricky Carmichael (291/6 wins)
  7. James Stewart (290/1 win)
  8. David Vuillemin (207)
  9. Michael Byrne (192)
  10. Davi Millsaps (186)

nce (277)

  • Ryan Dungey (267)
  • Jake Weimer (211)
  • Tommy Hahn (177)
  • Brett Metcalfe (169)
  • Broc Tickle (164)
  • Kyle Chisholm (151)
  • MX MOTO TWO

    The Motocross class put on one heck of a show in their final moto of the day. Kevin Windham — perhaps still a little fired up from the first moto — came out swinging as he took the holeshot and led up until the final two laps of the moto. Behind Windham on the opening lap were Gavin Gracyk, Grant Langston, Mike Alessi, and Andrew Short.

    Gracyk ran with the top dogs for the first two laps, but by the third lap both Langston and Alessi got past him and set their sites on Windham. K-Dub, however, had started top put some distance between himself and Langston in second, and for most of the race the top three stayed steady at Windham, Langston, and Alessi.

    Then, on lap ten things started to stir up a bit. Alessi made it past Langston as they both started to gain some ground on Windham out front. With just three laps to go GL retook second place, and on the following lap moved into the lead. All three riders were charging hard on the white flag lap, and the crowd was eating up; cheering wildly as they circulated the course one final time.

    In the end, Langston held on for the win — which also gave him the overall — and Windham finished in second. Mike Alessi put on one final charge in the last corner before the checkered flag, but his back wheel slipped out and he ended up hitting the trackside banners; forcing him to settle for third.

    As for the points chase… Langston moved into the lead in the season standings, and Andrew Short broke the points tie he had with Tim Ferry coming into Steel City. Mike Alessi is also still in the mix with 337 points, just 10 points behind Langston.

    RESULTS:

    1. Grant Langston
    2. Kevin Windham
    3. Mike Alessi
    4. Andrew Short
    5. Ivan Tedesco
    6. Gavin Gracyk
    7. Tim Ferry
    8. Yoshitaka Atsuta
    9. Josh Summey
    10. Jason Thomas

    MX OVERALL RESULTS:

    1. Grant Langston 2-1
    2. Mike Alessi 1-3
    3. Kevin Windham 3-2
    4. Andrew Short 5-4
    5. Tim Ferry 4-7
    6. Ivan Tedesco 6-5
    7. Gavin Gracyk 8-6
    8. Michael Byrne 7-11
    9. Yoshitaka Atsuta 11-8
    10. Josh Summey 12-9

    MX SEASON STANDINGS:

    1. Grant Langston (347 points/1 win)
    2. Andrew Short (345)
    3. Tim Ferry (343/1 win)
    4. Mike Alessi (337)
    5. Kevin Windham (296/1 win)
    6. Ricky Carmichael (291/6 wins)
    7. James Stewart (290/1 win)
    8. David Vuillemin (207)
    9. Michael Byrne (192)
    10. Davi Millsaps (186)