Race Report: Honda Spring Creek Pro National
Round 10 of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF
MILLVILLE, Minn. (August 18, 2008) Kawasaki made it a clean sweep on Sunday, wrapping up the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF titles in both AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites. The Honda Spring Creek Pro National lived up to the hype as Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart kept his perfect season intact while also grabbing his first premier class championship. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto made it three class titles in a row despite losing out on another overall win to Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey.
Martin Davalos of the Muscle Milk/MDK KTM team crossed the stripe first to claim the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award in the opening AMA Motocross Lites moto. He was followed by Villopoto and Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha's Matt Lemoine. Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Nico Izzi was way back, the result of a first turn crash. The series points leader Villopoto quickly moved past Davalos in the infamous Millville sand whoops and secured the lead. Davalos would later make a mistake and lose seven spots. DNA Energy drink/BTOSports Honda's Kyle Keylon went down on the first lap and would remount right in front of the leaders on lap two. Division 7/Star Racing Yamaha's Broc Tickle passed Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Brett Metcalfe and moved into fifth. Villopoto was pulling away from hometown rider Dungey. The top three of Villopoto, Dungey and GEICO Powersports Honda's Josh Grant built a good lead on the rest of the field. Metcalfe repassed Tickle in the sand whoops and moved into fifth. Muscle Milk/MDK KTM's Ryan Sipes pulled into the mechanics area to change a wheel due to a flat while Lemoine was forced to pull off with mechanical trouble. MDK/WWR Honda's Kyle Cunningham would have another solid race and end up sixth while GEICO Powersports Honda's Jake Weimer rode to a strong seventh. The running order would not change for the rest of the race with Villopoto taking the win, Dungey second and Grant third.
When the premier AMA Motocross class blasted out of the gates for its first moto, undefeated series points leader Stewart grabbed the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award and promptly opened up a six-second advantage after lap one. He was followed by Red Bull Honda's Ivan Tedesco, who returned from injury, Tedesco's teammate Andrew Short, Stewart's teammate Tim Ferry and Factory Yamaha's Broc Hepler, who was racing for the first time this season after an injury. Tedesco was quickly passed by Short and Ferry, dropping to fourth. Hepler was passed by MDK/KTM's Matt Goerke in the back section of the track to drop to sixth. This was Goerke's debut in the premier class. Atomic Racing Honda's Paul Carpenter was a victim of a bad start as was DNA Energy Drink/BTOSports Honda's Jason Thomas. Both riders trailed the front of the field by a considerable margin. Goerke also worked his way around Tedesco a few laps later in the sand whoops. Factory Yamaha's Josh Hill, who logged the second fastest practice time on Saturday, was the man on the move. He was flying through the difficult sand whoops, coming from 19th up to sixth on lap 11 despite a first turn crash. Stewart was gone, showing everyone at the Millville facility why he hasn't lost a moto yet this year. With the moto win, he also clinched the championship for his first AMA Motocross title of his career. Short held a good gap on Ferry through the end of the moto. Goerke ran into hard luck late in the race when he got a flat and had to ride conservatively for the rest of the moto. Hill put on a great charge and get up to fourth by motos end. The top three were Stewart, Short and Ferry.
Once again, Davalos grabbed the BTOSports.com Holeshot Award in the second AMA Motocross Lites moto followed by Villopoto, Dungey, rookie GEICO Powersports Honda rider Blake Wharton, Muscle Milk/MDK KTM's Justin Brayton and Grant. Disaster struck when Villopoto fell coming down a hill on lap one. He would remount in 34th place and have his work cut out for him in order to win the title. Davalos was passed by Dungey going up a hill, taking a lead that he would not relinquish. Wharton was impressive in his first-ever national and held onto second for 10 laps. Metcalfe would get by Brayton after the finish line and work on Grant. Grant appeared injured in some way as he lost quite a few positions before eventually pulling in the mechanics area with stomach pains and calling it a day. GEICO Powersports Honda's Dan Reardon, who is nursing an injured shoulder, left the race early as well. Villopoto, who needed to finish eighth to clinch his third AMA Motocross Lites class championship, was slicing through the pack. He would move into fourth by lap six and was slowly reeling in Metcalfe. Villopoto got around Metcalfe in the sand whoops as he used a wider line and carried his momentum. Dungey was leading the race and to the cheers of his hometown crowd he carried his Suzuki to the overall victory. Wharton tired a bit near the end but still had a great ride in fourth. Villopoto finished in second with Metcalfe third, which would also be the day's overall result.
Moto XXX Honda's Jeff Alessi grabbed his first BTOSports.com Holeshot Award of the season in the final AMA Motocross class moto. He was followed by Stewart, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Michael Byrne, Goerke and Suzuki City Biloxi, MS/OTSFF Suzuki's Cody Cooper. A first-turn crash claimed Hill, Tedesco, Short and Hepler setting the stage for some exciting action from these top riders. On the second lap, Ferry went down and could not pick up his bike. He would remount in 35th place. Stewart got by Alessi on the opening lap, but Alessi held strong. The privateer rider was soon under pressure from Byrne until the Suzuki rider got by going up the uphill triple. Short was moving through the field alongside Hepler using creative lines to get by the slower riders. Alessi soon found himself under fire from Goerke, who had gapped Cooper quickly. Goerke got by Alessi in the sand whoops only to have Alessi square up in the turn as the two drag racing down the rough straight. Misfortune hit Goerke as he was pitched over the bars after hitting a hole, allowing Alessi to claim the third spot again. The remainder of the moto stayed the same with Stewart taking the win, Byrne finishing second and Cooper third. Short made it up to fifth, behind MDK/KTM's Nick Wey. The overall podium was Stewart, Short, and Byrne.
Michael Byrne, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross, Third Overall
"I didn't really know I was third (overall) till the last lap when I saw it on the board. I had to work real hard in the first moto after I fell early. In the second moto, I got a better start and the bike was working good. I think (my improvement) comes down to sitting on the couch for six months. I was motivated to come back and show people what I can do. The goal was to get to my previous fitness and get strong again. The sand is tougher for me. I'm glad we had a chance to get to ride in some this week in preparation for next week (at Southwick)."
Andrew Short, Red Bull Honda, AMA Motocross, Second Overall
"I was in a pile up in the first corner. I hit my teammate Ivan (Tedesco). There was a bunch of us. I know I have to be on my game with how close the points are. When I got up after the first turn I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. When I started passing guys, my fitness stayed good so I was happy. I really want to beat (Tim) Ferry. I have fun racing him. That's my motivation. I thought the track was great. It was really rough, probably the roughest I've seen all year. I knew I had second (overall), but I was surprised when I saw it."
James Stewart, Monster Energy Kawasaki, AMA Motocross, Overall Winner
"I wanted to celebrate in style, so I ran (the number one) on my back. In the first moto I was a little nervous, but once I got out there I felt comfortable. I want to come back to defend my title. We got a lot of things we're working on. I just kept putting in consistent laps. I found a really good line in the sand whoops and made up a lot of time. I could feel (the finish) getting closer so I started to get excited. It really just feels good. This has been my toughest season. All the struggles before and everything I went through to get back (healthy). It really makes this (championship) special to me. This is one of the (best) tracks we've ridden all year. I really want to thank Kawasaki for all the hard work they've put in."
AMA Motocross Lites
Brett Metcalfe, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, AMA Motocross Lites, Third Overall
"Its good to see young riders come in and have the speed to run up (front). I could see Ryan (Villopoto) coming up behind me. I just couldn't hold him off. I was hoping to get second in a moto, but I'm happy with third. I knew he had the championship locked up so I wanted the best finish I could get. The last three weeks off was really good for me. I'm 100 percent as far as race condition goes."
Ryan Villopoto, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, AMA Motocross Lites, Second Overall
"I just came down the first downhill and I was pushing hard. I think I hit a wet spot. The next thing I know I was rolling on the ground. I was trying to steal the win from Ryan (Dungey) at his home track. He did it to me so I wanted to return the favor. I made a mistake. I didn't know exactly where I needed to finish but I had an idea. I just wanted to finish second because I knew I could (catch them). I didn't want to give up a spot. I wanted to try before the checkered flag and I got it."
Ryan Dungey, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, AMA Motocross Lites, Overall Winner
"It feels good. Washougal was first and I was pumped on that. They are two different tracks. Ryan (Villopoto) is fast here and he proved it today. It feels good to be in the middle seat though. It hasn't happened a lot. I ended up sitting good on both starts, which was nice. This week (was easier). The second moto in the last race (Villopoto) was on my tail the entire time. Today I could see where I was at and just ride to the checkers. I was pumped on the track. It was rough, the roughest yet, but they did a good job (maintaining it). Two months ago I was just settling for second. I had to believe in myself to get where I am now and compared to last year, when I didn't win at all, I'm thankful to be healthy and having success."
Interview opportunities are available to the media by contacting AMA Toyota Motocross Championship media coordinator Brandon Short via email at Media@MXNationals.com or by phone at 951-203-2605.
For more information on the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship, presented by FMF, log on to www.amamotocross.com for live timing and scoring at @theWireLIVE!. Racer X Illustrated will host a new and improved webcast on www.motocross.com, with live racing action hosted by Jason Weigandt. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com has also been added on Saturday night of each race weekend, featuring practice footage and interviews taken earlier in the day.
Credential requests for each round of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF must be submitted via email to Media@MXNationals.com three weeks prior to the race. Media members interested in interviews with the riders of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF should contact Brandon at 951-203-2605 or email Media@MXNationals.com.
About the National Promoters Group (NPG)
The National Promoters Group (NPG) comprises 12 individual promoters of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF which sanctions outdoor motocross events throughout the United States, and remains the Nation’s premier outdoor motocross championship series. NPG’s mission is to raise awareness of motocross racing through the production of professional championship racing events nationwide.
About AMA Racing
AMA Racing is the competition arm of the American Motorcyclist Association and is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its professional properties include the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, an FIM World Championship, the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Flat Track Championship, the AMA Supermoto Championship and the AMA Pro ATV Championship. In amateur and pro-am competition, AMA Racing sanctions over 4000 events in 24 different disciplines and supports over 110 thousand active members. For more information about professional racing, visit www.amaproracing.com. Accredited media outlets can also access an on line Press Room at www.amaproracing.com/pressroom. For amateur racing information visit www.amadirectlink.com/amrace/amasports.asp.