As with all one million dollar winners, Ryan Villopoto (center) will most likely have to choose between a smaller immediate cash payout or 50 grand a year for as long as he lives.
“It’s pretty unreal,” exclaimed 2011 Monster Energy Cup Supercross/motocross winner Ryan Villopoto. “I’m happy we were able to pull it off. To back it up next year would be hard, so if we do, it would be great. I can’t thank my team enough for this amazing victory.” In moto one, Villopoto jumped out to an early lead with the holeshot followed by Pro Circuit’s Ben Townley, Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, Suzuki’s Bret Metcalfe, and KTM’s Ryan Dungey. On lap two, Dungey passed Alessi and Metcalfe in the same corner, moving into second place, where he would put a charge on Townley. Villopoto captured the win, Townley finished second and Dungey finished third.
Once again, Villopoto pulled the holeshot in moto two with Dungey and Metcalfe in tow. Villopoto set himself up to win the $1 million with another win. Dungey finished second and Metcalfe finished third.
“Heading into the final moto, I just need to get another good start like I’ve been doing,” said Villopoto after the second main event. “I’ll be happy leaving here healthy, and if I win, great, if not, this was still awesome.” Suzuki’s Mike Alessi earned the holeshot in the third and final main event with Villopoto and Dungey following in second and third, respectively. On the opening lap, Villopoto moved into the lead. Dungey and Alessi traded positions on lap two before Dungey made a solid pass and opened a gap on him. Metcalfe moved into third. Dungey finished second, which gave him second overall and Metcalfe finished third, which gave him third overall.
THE MILLION DOLLAR PLAYERS
RYAN VILLOPOTO: He rode with amazing intensity. Either he has the most talented right wrist in the world or his KX450F has the traction control system to end all traction control systems, because Ryan and His KX-F were was totally hooked up.As for the anti-climatic racing, Ryan got good starts and when he got behind someone?he didn’t stay there. He yarded the pack as soon as he hit the front…and thanks to his skill and a track that wasn’t a come-from-behind type track, he never saw his competition.
Ryan Dungey’s transition to KTM was almost seamless. Even though Ryan didn’t beat Villopoto in Vegas, but we doubt that anyone could have on this night in October. Dungey and KTM achieved what they wanted?they got a shake-down cruise on their all-new race bike…and still have 2-1/2 months to get it even better.
RYAN DUNGEY: Typically, factory riders test their new bikes on the barren hillsides of Corona, California. They toil on the test track from Monday through Thursday in front of a handful of mechanics, engineers, team personnel and the occasional onlooker. It is a task that has to be done?so imagine Ryan Dungey’s joy that he got to do some of the 2013 KTM 450SXF testing in front of a crowd, against other bikes and on a different track. Not only that, Ryan took home $35,000 for doing what he would have been doing anyway. Ryan’s KTM 450SXF does need some more ponies, but, after all, he is riding an engine that was in an enduro bike two weeks ago. We will say that the thing cornered on rails and Ryan looked as comfortable as fuzzy slippers on the track, but the power and suspension setup will have to get better. Roger DeCoster said, “I was not so excited about coming to this race at first since we have only had two weeks on the bike, but I am glad I was convinced to come. This race gave us a good indication about what we have done well and where we need to improve. We have our work cut out for us during the next few months, but I think our goal is feasible. Come Anaheim, I believe we will be in the hunt.”
BRETT METCALFE: Brett Metcalfe went 4-3-3 for third and looked like a contender all night long. He couldn’t take the heat from Villopoto and Dungey, but he was easily the best of the rest. Metcalfe had a two-year contract with Team Suzuki, so when Team Suzuki decided to pull out of racing as a factory entrant a couple weeks ago, Metcalfe was safe. He would either get his money (race or not), or Suzuki would find him a home. So, even though Suzuki fired all of the team personnel (giving them pink slips and severance packages), they had a home for Metcalfe?Yoshimura. Yosh had been essentially housing, supplying and running the Suzuki team for years, so they picked up the pieces and will field Metty for 2012. Metcalfe made $20,000 for third (and it was his best Supercross payday ever).
THE MISSING: The Monster Energy Cup had what could be considered a weakened field with the absence of Chad Reed (on a Aussie spectator’s tour of V8 Supercar races), James Stewart (a man of indecision), Trey Canard (still healing), Davi Millsaps (home in the South) and Andrew Short (healing and switching).
MIKE ALESSI: He was the sacrificial lamb going to the slaughter. Mike got decent starts and fought hard for every spot that he lost?but Mike and his Suzuki were like wind-up toys…he went super fast on lap one, a little slower on lap two and slower and slower every lap after that. There was one right-hand turn that stymied Mike all night long?whatever he did, there?it was wrong. A practice crash in the whoops (where else?) not only ruined his night, but also the track?because the rolling whoops were neutered after Alessi, Josh Hansen and Kyle Cunningham failed to navigate the final three whoops in the series of jumps during practice). Mike had a mechanical failure in the second moto (shift shaft related) that cost him a fourth or fifth place finish overall for the night.
ELI TOMAC: The one thing that Eli Tomac’s stirring 450 ride proved is that it would have been a very different night if all of Eli Tomac’s other 250 class brothers had come out to play also. Eli went 5-4-10 for fifth overall, so imagine how good the racing could have been if Dean Wilson, Tyla Rattray, Blake Baggett and Justin Barcia had joined the fray.
Former two-time 250 World Champion Marvin Musquin got to fulfill his dream of racing an AMA Supercross?next on his wish list? A real AMA Supercross.
MARVIN MUSQUIN: Hurrah for M&M, he finally got to race a Supercross, even if it was a weird one. Marvin didn’t get to race last year during the Supercross season because he was injured?but he borrowed a KTM 350SXF from the KTM supply room and showed moments of brilliance in Vegas. Marvin ended up 11th overall with an 8-8-17 (the 17 came courtesy of the first turn crash).
BEN TOWNLEY: Ben wants to get a deal to race in 2012 (and he has talent in abundance), but the other thing he has in abundance is bad luck. Pro Circuit gave him a KX450F for the race and he powered it to second in moto one, holding Ryan Dungey off by the less than a five feet, but the rest of the night was a typical Townley downer. In the end he had issues in two of the three motos to put him back in 19th and 20th respectively.
VINCE FRIESE: A bad reputation is never a plus for a motocross racer. Riders who ride dirty may get away with it on occasion, but the other riders become hypersensitive to anything that a dirty rider does. When you add the nicest guy in the sport, Kevin Windham, into the mix with the alleged dirtiest rider in the field, you get fireworks. Friese made a couple “Swervin’ Mervin” moves (named after Max Anstie’s dad) in front of K-Dub and, in the next tight turn, Kevin parked him. For the record, Kevin’s only other take-out move of note was when David Vuillemin rammed him in a corner a decade ago and Kevin took him out (big time) in the next turn?that is called “living by the sword.” As for Friese, Windham’s sword was more like the executioner’s ax.
RESULTS: MONSTER ENERGY CUP
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)…1-1-1
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)…3-2-2
3. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)…4-3-3
4. Martin Davalos (Suz)…7-7-5
5. Eli Tomac (Hon)…5-4-10
6. Kyle Chisholm (Yam)…9-9-7
7. Nick Wey (Kaw)…14-11-4
8. Jimmy Albertson (Yam)…11-10-8
9. Jake Weimer (Kaw)…12-6-11
10. Mike Alessi (Suz)…6-21-6
11. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 8-8-17
12. Justin Brayton (Hon)…13-5-18
13. Kevin Windham (Hon)…15-14-12
14. Chris Blose (Kaw)…10-16-15
15. Ben Townley (Kaw)…2-19-20
16. Broc Tickle (Kaw)…16-18-9
17. Cole Seely (Hon)…22-12-13
18. Kyle Partridge (Kaw)…18-15-14
19. Jarred Browne (Yam)…17-13-19
20. Nick Paluzzi (Suz)…20-22-16
21. Josh Hansen (Kaw)…21-17-21
22. Weston Peick (Kaw)…19-20-22
RESULTS: SUPER-MINI CLASS
1. Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw)…1-1
2. Cooper Webb (KTM)…2-2
3. Blake Green (Kaw)…3-3
RESULTS: AMATEUR ALL-STARS
1. Justin Hill (Kaw)…4-1
2. Austin Politelli (Hon)…3-2
3. Cole Thompson (Hon)…2-3