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RV Dominates at Hangtown

US 450 MX

maddix park mx  By Aran Eversman

The conclusion of the 2nd 450 moto at Hangtown solidified that this is the fastest field of premiere class athletes we've ever seen. The 2013 outdoor season started with fairly limited fanfare. The biggest news was the graduation of Justin Barcia and Dean Wilson to full-time racing the the big bike class, as well as the return of racers like Josh Grant who were fresh off the injured list. Hangtown provided near-perfect conditions - 81 and sunny with an easy breeze that started the season off right.

In practice, Justin Barcia topped the pole with the fastest qualifying time. It was a big statement to make on the opening practice of the season with so many hitters on the roster. It was also the first time in a number of seasons that Villopoto, Stewart, Dungey, Canard and Alessi have all been healthy for the start of the season. A grip of privateers including Weston Peick, Derek Anderson and Robbie Marshall also possessed the potential to mix it up at the font of the class.

The gate dropped in moto 1 with James Stewart crossing the holeshot line first and taking the early lead. Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey were both within a few feet of Stewart and RV was the first to step up and make a play for the front. He dove inside ad got around him clean, the rest from there was history. Josh Grant initially held a spot in 3rd but began to cave under the pressure of the pack behind him. One by one, Trey Canard, Andrew Short and Barcia worked their way around into the 4th, 5th and 6th positions. Out front, Villopoto began yarding the field, amassing a 5.7 second lead over Dungey (who had taken over 2nd from Stewart). Malcolm Stewart, who was recently signed by Troy Lee Designs Honda, started applying pressure and moving through the pack as if he had been on 450's for years. Clearly he adapted to the bigger bike well, but an unfortunate mechanical issue late in the moto forced him out of the race while running in 6th position. At the moto close it was Villopoto, Dungey, Stewart, Canard and Barcia holding down the top 5 positions.

Moto 2 was a near clone of moto 1, in more ways than one. First: James Stewart doubled up on his holeshot attempts to solidify a perfect record coming out of round 1 on the season. Flanked by Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto, it was another match of all-out speed and consistency for the three titans running up front. Dungey stayed on Stewarts rear wheel, diving low and pinning it around the outside looking for alternate lines around Stewart. The pair were bar to bar down multiple straights but Stewart did an incredible job defending his lines while carrying momentum to stay ahead. Villopoto laid back within striking distance should the opportunity arise to pass them both in the same section. An opportunity opened up and Villopoto got around Dungey and within the same lap, made the pass on Stewart. Dungey took advantage of a bobble by Stewart to get around as well, and so the running oder remained. Back behind, Justin Barcia was recovering from a bad start just inside the top 20 and had his work cut out for him to make a charge for the front and salvage as many points as possible. He managed to work his way into 5th and on his way by, ignited a huge late moto charge in Weston Peick. The privateer has been making waves for his bullish style and was positioned in 8th. He got around Sipes for 7th and the two were deadlocked all the way to the finish with Sipes making the final pass back and locking in 7th place on the moto. The top 5 finishing order in moto 2 was exactly the same as moto 1: Villopoto, Dungey, Stewart, Canard and Barcia with Alessi, Sipes, Peick, Rattray and Short rounding out the top 10.

Villopoto rode inspired this weekend. His performances were absolutely dominating, his technique flawless. Despite a super rough Hangtown track, he continued to push the pace and open massive leads moto motos. Are we in the era of Villopoto domination? Based on this weekend, it looks to be in full swing. The return of James Stewart is also a healthy addition to the season and this year he appears to have his program dialed and his bike under control. It's too soon to tell, but it's clear there's more action to come i the 2013 450 championship.

450 Overall
3.J Stewart
20.M Stewart

Moto 1 Recap: Villopoto Takes an Easy Win

Ryan Villopoto came away with a win in the first race of the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider cruised his way to the win by quickly surpassing James Stewart, who took the holeshot but had Villopoto right behind him until being passed before the end of the first lap, and the 2011 champ never looked back.  Ryan Dungey finished second after winning ten of twelve races and the series championship in 2012.  

Stewart had a strong race, finishing third in a follow-up to his Hangtown sweep in 2012. Stewart had no real battles after the first lap and finished 30 seconds behind the leader.  

Stewart's little brother, Malcolm 'Mookie' Stewart, was in the main battle of the day for much of the race.  The racing involved the 6th-9th positions, with Dean Wilson, Andrew Short, Mookie, and Trey Canard all fighting for position.  Wilson stalled on a turn and fell out of the top ten midway through the race. Wilson had plenty of eyes on him today, but finished just 17th in his 450 debut.  Mookie was racing well until mechanical issues caused him to drop out with 2 laps to go. Tyler Keefe, TLD manager, said Mookie collided with Wilson and put a hole in his water pump.

The story of the day was the loaded lineup due to the healthiest field in years.  Ryan Villopoto, the 2011 series champion, hasn't missed a beat after missing last season with a knee injury. The elder Stewart, after missing much of last year with a wrist injury, and Chad Reed, who was sidelined as well and is hoping to get back up to his 2009 championship form, are also back. Villopoto and Stewart both ended up on the podium, but Reed ended the moto back in 10th.

The Red Bull Hangtown Motocross Classic marks the 40th year of races for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown.

450 Moto 1 Results

1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Ryan Dungey (-21.5 seconds)
3. James Stewart
4. Trey Canard
5. Justin Barcia
6. Andrew Short
7. Jake Weimer
8. Ryan Sipes
9. Tyla Rattray
10. Chad Reed

Moto 2 Recap: Villopoto Completes the Sweep

Ryan Villopoto made it look easy as he completed the sweep of Hangtown and is looking unstoppable to start the season.  The top 5 remained unchanged.

The second 450 moto started in similar fashion as the first, with James Stewart pulling the holeshot with the Ryans in tow, only this time, Stewart held onto the lead with a much stronger grip. For what seemed like eternity he held off a charging Dungey, who was showing Stewart a wheel in just about every corner and over every jump. The crowd was loving it. Finally, after about ten minutes, the order changed, but not in the way that you’d think. After making an unsuccessful move on Stewart, Dungey bobbled, which allowed Villopoto by. Seeing his opportunity, Villopoto rocketed past Stewart almost immediately and started checking out. Shortly thereafter, Dungey motored past Stewart into second place.

Trey Canard rode to a lonely fourth, while Justin Barcia charged to fifth after recovering from a substandard start. Other than the thriller that took place up front, one of the best battles on the track took place between Ryan Sipes and Weston Peick. After going back and forth for a few laps, Weston made a move stick, and it looked like the position was his. But when the two-lap card came out, Sipes started reeling Peick back in and with just over a lap left, passed him back for good.

Villopoto once again crushed the field, followed by Dungey, Stewart, Canard, Barcia, Alessi, Sipes, Peick, Rattray, Short, and Nicoletti.

Villopoto will attempt to continue his run next week at Thunder Valley.

450 Moto 2 Results

1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Ryan Dungey (-20.2 seconds)
3. James Stewart
4. Trey Canard
5. Justin Barcia
6. Mike Alessi
7. Ryan Sipes
8. Weston Peick
9. Tyla Rattray
10. Andrew Short

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