Race Report: The Finals – Glen Helen2007 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF

It’s been longer than we can remember that the final round of the AMA National Motocross Championships would host not one, but two title fights. Heading into Glen Helen’s much-anticipated finale, two riders in the Lites class and four in the Motocross class had legitimate shots at winning their respective titles. Round after round of trading moto wins and fighting tooth-and-nail for points, Ryan Villopoto finally extended a bit of a points lead ahead of his teammate Ben Townley as they headed into the final round, though BT still had a mathematical shot at his first AMA National Motocross championship. In the premier class, Yamaha’s Grant Langston rolled into San Bernardino, CA, with a small points lead of his own, but Andrew Short, Mike Alessi, and Tim Ferry were all well within striking distance.

When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Townley and Langston prevailed with the overall wins on the tough Glen Helen circuit, but it was Villopoto and Langston who walked away with the championship brass. Stuck right in the heart of one of Glen Helen’s infamous traffic jams as we exit the famed facility, we composed this here race report to fill you in on all of the juicy details. Enjoy.

LITES MOTO ONE

With the 2007 Lites National championship still on the line, the gate dropped and the SoCal motocross faithful witnessed none other than the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Ryan Villopoto and Ben Townley cross the holeshot line neck and neck. It was Townley, however, who jumped out to the early lead exiting turn two, but Villopoto stayed close in tow as the two immediately began creeping away from the pack. In third, Sobe NoFear/Samsung/Honda’s Josh Grant looked to have great speed despite still nursing an injured hand, as he kept the two Kawi pilots somewhat in check during the opening few laps. During the sixth go around, however, Grant swapped violently while briefly pulling his hand off his bars as he went through Glen Helen’s massive Talladega first turn, leaving him laid out in the SoCal soil. Meanwhile, up front, Villopoto closed the gap on his teammate, making the pass for the lead on the same lap. Though giving it everything he had, BT eventually lost a little ground to Villopoto, as the defending champ rode off to an eventual three second win, padding his championship points lead by an additional three points (22 total).

Behind Villo and Townley, fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Brett Metcalfe motored in for third, some 46-seconds back.

RESULTS

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Ben Townley
  3. Brett Metcalfe
  4. Trey Canard
  5. Broc Hepler
  6. Jake Weimer
  7. Martin Davalos
  8. Nico Izzi
  9. Kyle Cunningham
  10. Austin Stroupe

MOTOCROSS MOTO ONE

The moto one holeshot in the premier class went to factory Honda’s Andrew Short, but Shorty’s lead was short-lived, as in turn number two, Mike Alessi, Mike Brown, and Kevin Windham all squeezed their way passed before heading up the first of Glen Helen’s many uphills. At the conclusion of lap one, it was Alessi and his KTM450SX-F out front, with Brown, Windham, Short, and Tim Ferry close behind. Championship points leader Grant Langston suffered from a mediocre start, but charged through lap one to position his factory Yamaha into the sixth spot. With all of the championship hopefuls up front, the running order remained relatively unchanged for the next several laps.

On lap nine, while beginning to close in on the top-three, Ferry crashed at the bottom of the steep “Yamaha Hill section of the track. Luckily for the friendly Florida native, however, he only dropped one spot back to fifth, which he would get back on the very next lap. How you ask? Kevin Windham, who was putting a ton of pressure on Alessi out front, went down as he got cross-rutted midwayhrough the very same corner that claimed Ferry. Meanwhile, Langston continued to methodically pick off one rider at a time, and by lap number 12, made his move for the lead.

Once out front, Cool G pulled away, eventually winning the moto by over 10 seconds. Like Villopoto in the previous moto, Langston’s win extended his points lead to 13 heading into the final moto of the 2007 series.

RESULTS

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Andrew Short
  4. Tim Ferry
  5. Kevin Windham
  6. Mike Brown
  7. Cody Cooper
  8. Josh Hill
  9. Gavin Gracyk
  10. Ryan Clark

LITES MOTO TWO

With nearly a full moto’s points separating himself from Townley as they headed into the final Lites moto of ’07, Villopoto all but had the championship on lockdown. Still, anything can happen in motocross, and Townley treated his final moto with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team as if the championship was still up for grabs. After a monster holeshot, BT put his head down and continued on to lead all 14 laps of the moto, finishing a comfortable margin ahead of his teammate Villopoto when he crossed the checkers. Though riding well, it was obvious that Villo had his KX250F in cruise control, not taking any unnecessary risks with the title all but in the bank. Behind the top two, Metcalfe and Austin Stroupe finished in third and fourth, respectively, making it a clean Pro Circuit Kawi sweep.

Villopoto’s second in the moto and second overall on the day was more than enough to capture his second straight Lites Motocross National Championship. “They say that defending a championship is tougher than earning the first one, and I can definitely say that is true, Villopoto commented after the race. “Ben and I had some great battles at nearly every race this year, and traded a lot of moto wins. It feels really good to finally win this one.

RESULTS

  1. Ben Townley
  2. Ryan Villopoto
  3. Brett Metcalfe
  4. Austin Stroupe
  5. Broc Hepler
  6. Martin Davalos
  7. Jake Weimer
  8. Kyle Chisholm
  9. Broc Tickle
  10. Jake Moss

LITES OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Ben Townley
  2. Ryan Villopoto
  3. Brett Metcalfe
  4. Broc Hepler
  5. Austin Stroupe
  6. Martin Davalos
  7. Jake Weimer
  8. Trey Canard
  9. Nico Izzi
  10. Kyle Chisholm

FINAL LITES CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Ryan Villopoto (544)
  2. Ben Townley (525)
  3. Josh Grant (346)
  4. Jason Lawrence (277)
  5. Ryan Dungey (267)
  6. Jake Weimer (255)
  7. Brett Metcalfe (242)
  8. Tommy Hahn (220)
  9. Martin Davalos (203)
  10. Broc Tickle (201)

MOTOCROSS MOTO TWO

In a much tighter championship battle than that in the Lites class heading into the final moto, Langston still had some work to do before officially earning his first Motocross National Championship in the premier class. When the gate finally dropped for moto two after a long Lites-class podium ceremony, it was Alessi who pulled a huge holeshot down the long Glen Helen start straight, with Windham close behind. As the pack completed lap one, Langston had moved his way into the third spot, with championship contenders Short and Ferry behind him.

Alessi looked good up front, but K-Dub was no doubt on a mission, as he piloted his Sobe NoFear/Samsung/Honda to within a couple wheel lengths, eventually passing the KTM rider during the section rotation. Once out front, Windham looked smooth and in control, pulling out a comfortable gap within a couple laps. Shortly after being passed by Windham, Alessi made a bobble, allowing Langston to pass and open up a small cushion almost immediately. Like Villopoto in the previous moto, Langston looked strong in the second spot, but clearly appeared to be holding a little something back to help ensure that mistakes didn’t rob him of his championship. Slowing his pace just a tad, Alessi worked his way back by the number eight Yamaha on lap number 12, but a third in the moto was more than enough for Langston to take home the 2007 AMA Motocross championship.

Thanks to a pair of impressive second place moto finishes that earned him second overall, Alessi moved his KTM just two points ahead of Short to take second overall in the series.

RESULTS

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

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Kevin Windham
  4. Tim Ferry
  5. Andrew Short
  6. Josh Hill
  7. Mike Brown
  8. Gavin Gracyk
  9. Kyle Mace
  10. Ryan Clark

FINAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Grant Langston (439)
  2. Mike Alessi (423)
  3. Andrew Short (421)
  4. Tim Ferry (417)
  5. Kevin Windham (363)
  6. Ricky Carmichael (291)
  7. James Stewart ((290)
  8. Michael Byrne (230)
  9. Gavin Gracyk (218)
  10. David Vuillemin (207)

up a small cushion almost immediately. Like Villopoto in the previous moto, Langston looked strong in the second spot, but clearly appeared to be holding a little something back to help ensure that mistakes didn’t rob him of his championship. Slowing his pace just a tad, Alessi worked his way back by the number eight Yamaha on lap number 12, but a third in the moto was more than enough for Langston to take home the 2007 AMA Motocross championship.

Thanks to a pair of impressive second place moto finishes that earned him second overall, Alessi moved his KTM just two points ahead of Short to take second overall in the series.

RESULTS

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

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Grant Langston
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Kevin Windham
  4. Tim Ferry
  5. Andrew Short
  6. Josh Hill
  7. Mike Brown
  8. Gavin Gracyk
  9. Kyle Mace
  10. Ryan Clark

FINAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

  1. Grant Langston (439)
  2. Mike Alessi (423)
  3. Andrew Short (421)
  4. Tim Ferry (417)
  5. Kevin Windham (363)
  6. Ricky Carmichael (291)
  7. James Stewart ((290)
  8. Michael Byrne (230)
  9. Gavin Gracyk (218)
  10. David Vuillemin (207)