Race Report: Monster Energy Supercross – Las Vegas

Race Report: Monster Energy Supercross – Las Vegas
Villopoto, Barcia, Tickle Crowned in Sin City
By Donn Maeda
Photos by Jordan Powell

In front of a sold-out crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto wrapped up his first-ever Supercross Championship with a solid – albeit safe – third place finish aboard his Mike Williamson-tuned Kawasaki KX450F. Team TwoTwo Motorsports rider Chad Reed – the rider whom had the best chance of beating Villopoto in the final standings – earned the win in the final main event of the year, but it was not enough to overtake RV in the final point standings.
In the Western Region Supercross Lites main, KTM’s German wonderboy Ken Roczen earned a popular win, but the championship title went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle, who turned in an incredible performance to climb to second at the race’s end. Tickle battled past his championship rival Eli Tomac, who was actually in position to win the title, but dropped to fourth at the end.
The Eastern Regional Championship, meanwhile, went to Geico Honda’s Justin Barcia, who salvaged third in the East Coast main after a crash while leading. The race win went to Blake Baggett, who nipped Ryan Sipes for the win in the twilight of the 15-lap main event.
The Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East vs. West Shootout, Sipes rebounded with the win in the 10-lap contest, topping TLD Honda’s Cole Seely and Roczen.

EASTERN REGIONAL SUPERCROSS LITES

Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot at the start of the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites main event and led Ryan Sipes, Blake Baggett and Lance Vincent onto the track. Barcia looked great for the first few laps and looked to have the race under control, until he lost his front end in a slippery bowl corner and went down. Sipes took control of the lead with Baggett hot on his tail, while Barcia remounted quickly and moved back up to third within only one lap.
Baggett turned up the heat on the sixth lap as he pulled alongside Sipes on Monster Alley and sailed into the lead as they re-entered the stadium, but he carried too much speed into the next corner and Sipes snuck back into first. As the laps wore down, Sipes and Baggett stayed close to one another, Sipes pulling away in the whoops and Baggett closing back in on the rest of the track. On the last lap, Baggett really caught fire and closed to the rear of Sipes, and made an aggressive dive to the inside of a left-handed corner. The two leaders made contact, and Baggett emerged with the lead. Though Sipes tried his hardest, he was unable to retake the lead and followed Baggett across the finish line by a few inches. This was Baggett's second win of the season; his first coming at the legendary Daytona Supercross by Honda. Barcia cruised home in third and wrapped up the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship, while Wilson and Malcolm Stewart rounded out the top five. Matt Lemoine turned in a commendable ride, racing from 18th on lap one to sixth at the finish.
"I want to say happy birthday to my little sister who turned 12 today," said Baggett. "I've had some big ups and downs this season, and it is good to finish out the series on a high note. Right now, I am just looking forward to the 250 Nationals."
"I came into this season and I knew that this was my year to win the championship," said new champ Barcia. "When I crashed and broke my wrist, I knew that I was going to have to just ride through it if I wanted to get the job done. It hurt a lot at times, but right now, I can barely remember the pain."

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Main Event
1. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
2. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
3. Justin Barcia (Hon)
4. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
5. Malcolm Stewart (Suz)
6. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
7. Lance Vincent (Hon)
8. Hunter Hewitt (Suz)
9. Les Smith (Hon)
10. Justin Sipes (Kaw)
11. Chris Gosselaar (Suz)
12. Taylor Futrell (Hon)
13. Levi Kilbarger (Hon)
14. Tyler Bright (Hon)
15. AJ Catanzaro (Hon)
16. Johnny Moore (Hon)
17. Kelly Rusk (KTM)
18. Ricky Renner (KTM)
19. Brad Ripple (Hon)
20. Gannon Audette (Yam)
FINAL EASTERN REGIONAL SUPERCROSS LITES POINT STANDINGS

1. Justin Barcia (205)
2. Dean Wilson (183)
3. Ryan Sipes (163)
4. Blake Baggett (159)
5. Blake Wharton (125)
6. Matt Lemoine (120)
7. Malcolm Stewart (89)
8. Lance Vincent (83)
9. PJ Larsen (80)
10. Hunter Hewitt (79)

WESTERN REGIONAL SUPERCROSS LITES
In what was arguably the wildest race of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Season, Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot and led Cole Seely, Tyla Rattray, Josh Hansen and Eli Tomac onto the track. Tomac's championship rival Broc Tickle started seventh.
Roczen looked great as he led the way, and even opened up a small lead over Seely, who looked to have firm control of second early on. Roczen slid out in a corner a few laps into the main and handed the lead to Seely, but the German teenager remounted quick enough to stay in second. Seely led the way for a good number of laps before going over the bars in a tricky rhythm section, handing the lead back to Roczen. Once in front, Roczen rode a flawless race and pulled away to an eight-second lead en route to his first-ever Supercross Lites main event win.
Behind Roczen, the action was amazing. Hansen did his best to run in the lead pack but eventually dropped off the pace, leaving Seely, Tomac, Tickle and Kyle Cunningham to battle tooth-in-nail over the runner-up position. The second half of the main event featured too many passes to keep track of: Tomac ran as high as second, as did Cunningham, Seely and finally, Tickle. Bumping and banging was abundant, but when the dust settled, it was Tickle who rode to the occasion and emerged with second at the checkers, and enough points to secure his first Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship. Cunningham finished third, followed by Tomac and Seely.
"I can't even put into words how this feels," said new champ Tickle. "It was a crazy race out there, and I had to settle down and focus. My mechanic kept writing 'relax' on the pit board, but it was hard. I have to thank Mitch Payton and the rest of the team. It's a dream come true."
"I got the holeshot and had an awesome start to the race," said Roczen. "When I fell in the turn I thought it was all over, but I got up quickly and never gave up. When Cole went down, it was almost a relief. It feels great. Now I am looking ahead to the US GP next weekend."

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Main Event
1. Ken Roczen (KTM)
2. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
3. Kyle Cunningham (Yam)
4. Eli Tomac (Hon)
5. Cole Seely (Hon)
6. Tyla Rattray (Kaw)
7. Ryan Morais (Suz)
8. Travis Baker (Hon)
9. Martin Davalos (Suz)
10. Josh Hansen (Kaw)
11. Bruce Rutherford (Kaw)
12. Nick Paluzzi (Yam)
13. Jake Canada (Kaw)
14. Ben Evans (Kaw)
15. Casey Hinson (KTM)
16. Dakota Tedder (Kaw)
17. Landen Powell (KTM)
18. Tommy Weeck (Hon)
19. Gared Steinke (Yam)
20. Topher Ingalls (Hon)
FINAL WESTERN REGION SUPERCROSS LITES POINT STANDINGS

1. Broc Tickle (187)
2. Eli Tomac (181)
3. Josh Hansen (162)
4. Cole Seely (147)
5. Ryan Morais (138)
6. Ken Roczen (130)
7. Tyla Rattray (126)
8. Kyle Cunningham (125)
9. Martin Davalos (107)
10. Ben Evans (87)

DAVE COOMBS SR. MEMORIAL EAST VS. WEST SHOOTOUT
When the gate dropped at the start of the 10-lap Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East vs. West Shootout, newly crowned East Coast Champ Justin Barcia ripped the holeshot with his new number-one bike. Barcia's lead only lasted a couple laps, though, as he washed his front end in a corner and handed the lead to Ryan Sipes. While Sipes rode steady up front and controlled the race, Martin Davalos did his best to fight off several riders who were after him. The rider from Ecuador, though, seemed to tire and dropped off the pace, allowing Cole Seely and Ken Roczen past and into the final podium positions. Davalos held on for fifth.

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Main Event
1. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
2. Cole Seely (Hon)
3. Ken Roczen (KTM)
4. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
5. Martin Davalos (Suz)
6. Eli Tomac (Hon)
7. Kyle Cunningham (Yam)
8. Lance Vincent (Hon)
9. Travis Baker (Hon)
10. Broc Tickle (Kaw)

SUPERCROSS MAIN

Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot at the start of the final race of the season, but relinquished it almost immediately to Kevin Windham. James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed gave chase. Alessi crashed hard on lap two, leaving the top riders to battle in peace. Stewart blitzed past Windham in the whoops on lap four and into the lead, but Windham stayed on the leader's rear wheel.
The wheels fell off Stewart's big to win the last race of the year on the sixth lap. The leader lost control in the whoops and went down in spectacular fashion, but he and his bike collected Windham as well. Villopoto narrowly missed the carnage and took control of the race, with Reed close behind.
Reed closed in on Villopoto as the race wore on and the two traded the lead a couple of times before Reed took control of the point position for good. Dungey was next to challenge RV, and snuck under him in the outside area of the track. With that, it looked as if Villopoto settled into a safe, championship-winning pace.
Dungey made several runs at Reed for the lead, but in the end, the popular Australian earned his second win of the season with a couple bike-lengths to spare over the dethroned champion. Villopoto cruised home in third and wrapped up his first Supercross Championship, while Hart and Huntington/Dodge Motorsports rider Chris Blose turned in a brilliant fourth-place finish; the best of his career. Andrew Short was fifth.

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Main Event
1. Chad Reed (Hon)
2. Ryan Dungey (Suz)
3. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
4. Chris Blose (Kaw)
5. Andrew Short (KTM)
6. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
7. Austin Stroupe (Yam)
8. Nick Wey (Yam)
9. Kyle Regal (Yam)
10. Tye Simmonds (KTM)
FINAL SUPERCROSS POINT STANDINGS

1. Ryan Villopoto (338/6 wins)
2. Chad Reed (334/2)
3. Ryan Dungey (328/1)
4. James Stewart (301/5)
5. Trey Canard (255/2)
6. Andrew Short (230)
7. Kevin Windham (207)
8. Davi Millsaps (180)
9. Justin Brayton (155)
10. Nick Wey (152)