Race Report: Thunder Valley
2007 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF

As the official start to the second half of the 2007 AMA National series, the Thunder Valley MX crew once again did an outstanding job of hosting Colorado’s National, helping to make round number seven of the series a memorable, to say the least. Heading into the event, a bit of uncertainty loomed as to whether or not Team Monster Kawasaki’s James Stewart would be able to race after having been carted off the Unadilla circuit just one week prior. Though choosing to sit out of Saturday’s practice sessions to conserve what flexibility, strength, and energy he may have to offer come race time, Bubba absolutely killed it during Sunday morning’s practice sessions, setting the fastest overall lap time of the day. Proving that he hadn’t lost any of his legendary speed during his injured week off, the question still remained as to whether he could go two full motos in his ailing condition. When all was said and done, Bubba and the rest of the Motocross class gave way to a first time National moto winner to kick off the day, but it was Bubba’s consistency in moto two that came through in the end, ultimately granting him the overall.

In the Lites class, teammates Ryan Villopoto and Ben Townley rolled into Colorado tied for the championship points lead, and though there were plenty of fireworks throughout both Lites-class motos in Colorado, a tie-breaker in the Rockies just wasn’t to be, as they’ll head to Washougal still deadlocked in the series.

LITES MOTO ONE

Under bright, sunny, piping hot skies, the Colorado fans watched Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Chris Gosselaar grab the first holeshot of the day, with Josh Grant, Brett Metcalfe, Ben Townley, and Ryan Villopoto hot on his heels. Lil’ Goose was quickly displaced, however, and at the conclusion of lap one the running order went Metcalfe, Grant, Townley, Villopoto, Gosselaar. Metcalfe looked very impressive and surprisingly comfortable out front considering this was his first race since getting injured at round two, as he led the first three laps of the moto ahead of a vicious field. On lap number two, Villopoto got by Townley for the third spot, and shortly thereafter, Townley went down while attempting to put the pressure back on his teammate. The crash sent the friendly New Zealander all the way back to the tenth spot before rejoining the battle. Meanwhile, Villopoto continued charging his way to the front, passing Grant on lap three, and Metcalfe just a lap later to take over the lead. On the very next lap, while trying desperately not to let RV get away, Metcalfe went down as he headed into one of the track’s tricky rutted turn sections, and thus Villo continued to extend his lead out to a comfortable winning margin.

Putting on the charge of the moto after remounting from his crash, Townley made his way back through everybody but Villopoto, crossing the checkers in the second spot, and setting the fastest lap time of the moto along the way. Behind Townley, Grant held on for a comfortable third, Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey finished fourth, and Metcalfe gathered himself back up to cross the line in fifth.

RESULTS

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Ben Townley
  3. Josh Grant
  4. Ryan Dungey
  5. Brett Metcalfe
  6. Martin Davalos
  7. Jason Lawrence
  8. Tommy Hahn
  9. Andrew McFarlane
  10. Chris Gosselaar

MOTOCROSS MOTO ONE

The moto one holeshot looked to be all Davi Millsaps aboard his factory Honda CRF450R, but James Stewart crept up the inside to squeeze Millsaps out across the stripe. Also getting by Millsaps exiting turn number two was his teammate and local hero Andrew Short, but they both looked to have their hands full as Bubba immediately began opening up a couple second gap. Shortly looked strong in the second spot for several laps, but during their fifth rotation around the Thunder Valley rcuit, a small bobble allowed Millsaps to get by, taking over the second spot. Behind the top three, Kevin Windham, despite having the third fastest lap time during timed practice, looked a bit off his game, and Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi got by him on the sixth lap to take over fourth.

Back up front, Bubba’s Unadilla injuries clearly began taking a toll on his racing endurance, as by the midway point it became evident that Millsaps was slowly reeling him in. On lap number 11, as the Thunder Valley crowd went absolutely nuts, Millsaps finally put a pass on Stewart that would stick for the lead, and he never looked back. Next to displace Bubba was Short, but he’d run out of time to attempt a late moto charge to catch his teammate up front. Unfortunately for the Kawi squad, Bubba’s backward spiral wasn’t done quite yet, as Alessi also got by before moto’s end. So at the checkers, Millsaps took his first-ever National moto win, with Short and Alessi not far behind in second and third, respectively.

RESULTS

  1. Davi Millsaps
  2. Andrew Short
  3. Mike Alessi
  4. James Stewart
  5. Kevin Windham
  6. Gavin Gracyk
  7. Josh Summey
  8. David Vuillemin
  9. Jason Thomas
  10. Grant Langston

LITES MOTO TWO

When the gate dropped for the final Lites moto of the day, Ryan Villopoto piloted his Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki into the lead, with Ben Townley, Josh Grant, Chris Gosselaar, and Jason Lawrence close in tow. Looking to open up a quick lead, Villopoto was unable to shake his teammate Townley, and on lap number three, he lost control in a rutted right hand corner and went down. Though he remounted and got going before being caught by Grant in third, Townley was able to take over the lead and quickly open it up to some seven or eight seconds. On the very next lap, while trying to regain a pace that would hopefully lead him back to Townley up front, Villopoto went down again in the exact same corner. This time he was displaced by Grant before getting back under way, but he was able to work his way back by the Honda pilot just a couple laps later. With Townley way out front commanding the lead, RV settled into a pace that would eventually see him cross the line in second.

Townley’s 2-1 moto scores were good for the overall win, while RV’s 1-2 secured him the runner-up spot. Having once again swapped moto wins, the two Lites-class powerhouses will spend at least one more week tied for the points lead. Behind the top two, Jason Lawrence worked his way passed Grant on lap number eight, and the rest of the moto elapsed without any more passes up front. Brett Metcalfe rode to another impressive fifth just a few seconds back of Grant.

RESULTS

  1. Ben Townley
  2. Ryan Villopoto
  3. Jason Lawrence
  4. Josh Grant
  5. Brett Metcalfe
  6. Martin Davalos
  7. Chris Gosselaar
  8. Andrew McFarlane
  9. Tommy Hahn
  10. Matt Goerke

LITES OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Ben Townley
  2. Ryan Villopoto
  3. Josh Grant
  4. Jason Lawrence
  5. Brett Metcalfe
  6. Martin Davalos
  7. Chris Gosselaar
  8. Andrew McFarlane
  9. Tommy Hahn
  10. Broc Hepler

LITES SERIES POINTS STANDINGS

  1. Ben Townley (310 points/4 wins)
  2. Ryan Villopoto (310/2 wins)
  3. Josh Grant (253/1 win)
  4. Jason Lawrence (246)
  5. Ryan Dungey (212)
  6. Jake Weimer (141)
  7. Tommy Hahn (129)
  8. Andrew McFarlane (128)
  9. Josh Hill (121)
  10. Kyle Chisholm (111)

MOTOCROSS MOTO TWO

Once again, it was James Stewart and Davi Millsaps who charged through turn number one nearly side by side, but it was Millsaps who made the lead stick as the field made its way up the circuit’s first uphill section. Behind Millsaps and Stewart, Andrew Short and Mike Alessi jockeyed their way into third and fourth, respectively, and thus the stage was set for another exciting moto. On lap number two, Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco moved his way into the fifth spot, and the top-five remained unchanged for the next several laps. When lap number five rolled around, however, Bubba made his way to the front, but the lead pack behind him stayed close in tow.

By the midway point, Millsaps began fading back; eventually ending the moto in eighth, and it was Short and Alessi who were left up front to attempt their fate at running with Bubba. Alessi looked to be the stronger of the two riders, however, and on lap 10 made his way past Shorty, setting his sights on Bubba up front. Despite several valiant efforts to pass the big green number seven, it was not to be for Alessi, and he eventually finished the moto in third. Who got by the KTM rider, you ask? Coming from the eighth spot at the end of lap one, Tim Ferry charged his way through the pack, and with just a couple laps to go, passed Bubba for the lead, never to look back. Having won Unadilla’s second moto last week, it’s obvious that Ferry has taken his late moto conditioning to a new level. Behind Timmy by some five seconds at the wave of the checkers came a clearly beat up Stewart, with Alessi, Short, and Vuillemin rounding out the top-five.

Thanks to a mediocre first moto by Ferry and a disappointing second moto by Millsaps, Bubba’s 4-2 moto scores were good enough to take the overall on the day, but by a slim margin. How slim? Bubba, Alessi, and Short all finished the day with 40 points each, requiring their second moto finishes to act as the tie breaker. And ironically, neither of the two moto winners found themselves upon the podium at the end of the day.

RESULTS

  1. Tim Ferry
  2. James Stewart
  3. Mike Alessi
  4. Andrew Short
  5. David Vuillemin
  6. Michael Byrne
  7. Josh Summey
  8. Davi Millsaps
  9. Grant Langston
  10. Gavin Gracyk

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS

  1. James Stewart
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Andrew Short
  4. Davi Millsaps
  5. Tim Ferry
  6. David Vuillemin
  7. Josh Summey
  8. Gavin Gracyk
  9. Kevin Windham
  10. Grant Langston

MOTOCROSS SERIES POINTS STANDINGS

  1. James Stewart (265 points/1 win)
  2. Ricky Carmichael (241/5 wins)
  3. Tim Ferry (239)
  4. Andrew Short (237)
  5. Mike Alessi (224)
  6. Grant Langston (213)
  7. Kevin Windham (203/1 win)
  8. Davi Millsaps (172)
  9. David Vuillemin (164)
  10. Gavin Gracyk (129)

early side by side, but it was Millsaps who made the lead stick as the field made its way up the circuit’s first uphill section. Behind Millsaps and Stewart, Andrew Short and Mike Alessi jockeyed their way into third and fourth, respectively, and thus the stage was set for another exciting moto. On lap number two, Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco moved his way into the fifth spot, and the top-five remained unchanged for the next several laps. When lap number five rolled around, however, Bubba made his way to the front, but the lead pack behind him stayed close in tow.

By the midway point, Millsaps began fading back; eventually ending the moto in eighth, and it was Short and Alessi who were left up front to attempt their fate at running with Bubba. Alessi looked to be the stronger of the two riders, however, and on lap 10 made his way past Shorty, setting his sights on Bubba up front. Despite several valiant efforts to pass the big green number seven, it was not to be for Alessi, and he eventually finished the moto in third. Who got by the KTM rider, you ask? Coming from the eighth spot at the end of lap one, Tim Ferry charged his way through the pack, and with just a couple laps to go, passed Bubba for the lead, never to look back. Having won Unadilla’s second moto last week, it’s obvious that Ferry has taken his late moto conditioning to a new level. Behind Timmy by some five seconds at the wave of the checkers came a clearly beat up Stewart, with Alessi, Short, and Vuillemin rounding out the top-five.

Thanks to a mediocre first moto by Ferry and a disappointing second moto by Millsaps, Bubba’s 4-2 moto scores were good enough to take the overall on the day, but by a slim margin. How slim? Bubba, Alessi, and Short all finished the day with 40 points each, requiring their second moto finishes to act as the tie breaker. And ironically, neither of the two moto winners found themselves upon the podium at the end of the day.

RESULTS

  1. Tim Ferry
  2. James Stewart
  3. Mike Alessi
  4. Andrew Short
  5. David Vuillemin
  6. Michael Byrne
  7. Josh Summey
  8. Davi Millsaps
  9. Grant Langston
  10. Gavin Gracyk

MOTOCROSS OVERALL RESULTS

  1. James Stewart
  2. Mike Alessi
  3. Andrew Short
  4. Davi Millsaps
  5. Tim Ferry
  6. David Vuillemin
  7. Josh Summey
  8. Gavin Gracyk
  9. Kevin Windham
  10. Grant Langston

MOTOCROSS SERIES POINTS STANDINGS

  1. James Stewart (265 points/1 win)
  2. Ricky Carmichael (241/5 wins)
  3. Tim Ferry (239)
  4. Andrew Short (237)
  5. Mike Alessi (224)
  6. Grant Langston (213)
  7. Kevin Windham (203/1 win)
  8. Davi Millsaps (172)
  9. David Vuillemin (164)
  10. Gavin Gracyk (129)