The Champion?Ryan Villopoto.                                                                        Photo: Volcom

Here is the 17th and final AMA Supercross of the year in a nutshell

What a year! Of the three Championships up for grabs (450, 250 East and 250 West), two came down to the final event). and the races were barn burners (excpet fo the East/West Shootout?which was understandably anti-climatic)

Feld sold out Sam Boyd Stadium…even with their inflated ticket prices ($75, $65 and $45). To make sure that they maximized their profit, Feld didn’t even pay a purse (shades of Giuseppe Luongo) for the final 250 East and 250 West races of the year (instead they paid the purse for the shorter ten-lap East/West Shootout race).

Common sense says that if you add an extra race to the program, you don’t take the money away from the points paying races to pay for it. If Feld can’t fund the Shootout (or find a sponsor to subsidize it) then don’t hold it?but the 40 riders who raced in the points paying events deserve more than a “Howdy doo and Thank ya mam” from the fat cats in the luxury boxes. Pay the riders before you pay yourself guys.

250 East: Justin Barcia had the 250 East all but wrapped up before the night started, but he made it interesting by grabbing the lead and then losing the front end on lap four. That opened up a duel between Ryan Sipes and Blake Baggett. Baggett made the pass for the win on the last lap. Barcia was third and Dean Wilson, who ended up second in the title chase, was fourth. Baggett showed exceptional heart to pull himself up to Sipes…because at the midway point he seemed to be getting dropped.

Ken Roczen showed steady progress all season long and in the last couple races earned a podium and, now a win. He even returned to Europe to win the opening round of the 250 World Motocross Championship. It’s good to be King Kenny. Photo: Hoppenworld

250 West: What a nail biter. With Broc Tickle and Eli Tomac only two points apart going into the night, whichever rider finished in front of the other would take the title. And they wanted it bad.

Ken Roczen led and fell. Seely led and fell. And behind those temporary leaders came Josh Hansen, Kyle Cunningham, Eli Tomac and Broc Tickle. Roczen got up off the ground and got the lead back when Seely fell and pulled away for his first-ever AMA 250 Supercross win (although Roczen is a Grand Prix winner). Now all Roczen has to do to seal his American super-stardom is win next Sunday’s USGP.

Even though TV announcer Ricky Carmichael implied that Kyle Cunningham and Cole Seely shouldn’t be racing so hard against title contenders Tickle and Tomac, they kept the throttles pegged and the four riders (now way behind Roczen) passed and re-passed each other. There were times that the rider behind the other three would come out in front, only to end up back behind them ten seconds later. With a lap to go, Tomac makes a small mistake and Tickle doubled over him to get the points advantage. That was all it took?Tickle got second in the race (although Kyle Cunningham tried everything in his power to pass him back). Tomac crossed the line in fourth?giving the 250 West crown to Tickle by six points.

Tomac gave Tickle the thumbs up after the flag, Cunningham stopped and hugged the new 250 West Champion and many riders stopped on the jump to celebrate. In was in stark contrast to Barcia’s victory?when no other riders congratulated him as he sat on top of a jump…just riding past without a glance.

Ryan Dungey could have taken the title with his consistent podium policy, but when it came to the final race he needed to win (and being on the box just wasn’t good enough).

450 Class: The four title contenders were all in play from the beginning (although holeshot artist Mike Alessi and an inspired Kevin Windham kept them honest until crazy things started happening).

As expected the rider who was farthest back in the points (James Stewart) rode like a man possessed and passed K-Dub for the lead. Stewart looked like he was going to pull away…but he didn’t. Kevin Windham stayed on Bubba’s tail and hounded the Yamaha rider. Stewart responded in the only way he knows how…he picked up the pace (prompting TV commentator Ricky Carmichael to call him the “fastest man on the planet.”). Unfortunately, going through the whoops with Windham on his tail, Stewart discovered that on this planet the laws of gravity prevail. Bubba swapped and flew off his bike, blocking Windham’s path. Windham, the consummate professional, couldn’t miss Stewart’s bike and decided to try to ride over it. It didn’t work.

Ryan Villopoto, who was swapping in the whoops behind the pair, passed the fallen Stewart and Windham, and set out on his merry way with Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey in pursuit. It was obvious that Villopoto’s plan was to open the gap up early in the race and then see what happened. He did just that…and once the lead trio had built up an insurmountable lead on the chasers back in fourth, fifth and sixth (which in the end were led by fourth place rider Chris Blose), Ryan began to think “Championship” instead of “race win.”

Reed and Dungey both made moves on Villopoto, which Ryan successfully countered, only to make sure that he was carefully out of the way when they re-attacked. Villopoto’s strategy of going fast where he could, gliding through the inside of the corners and cutting down on the angles that could be used for a take-out move by Reed (who Carmichael said would be “dirty”) worked to perfection. Once Reed and Dungey were by him, Villopoto dropped into points conservation mode and let them go. He had 24 seconds on the fourth place rider and four points on Chad Reed by the finish line for the title.

Villopoto won the Championship to join Barcia and Tickle as the happy campers in Las Vegas.

1. Ryan Villopoto…338
2. Chad Reed…334
3. Ryan Dungey…328
4. James Stewart…301
5. Trey Canard…255
6. Andrew Short…230
7. Kevin Windham..207
8. Davi Millsaps…180
9. Justin Brayton…155
10. Nick Wey…152
11. Ivan Tedesco…134
12. Mke Alessi…117
13. Chis Blose…112
14. Kyle Regal…107
15. Brett Metcalfe…107
16. Michael Byrne…74
17. Tommy Hahn…70
18. Austin Stroupe…69
19. Fabien Izoird…63
20. Weston Peick…54

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. Hunter Hewitt…80
10. P.J. Larsen…80
11. Les Smith…69
12. Taylor Futtrell…66
13. Gannon Audette…63
14. Alex Martin…59
15. Jason Anderson…54
16. Darryn Durham…53
17. Justin Sipes…47
18. Levi Kilbarger…40
19. A. J. Catanzaro…37
20. Brad Ripple…34

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…75
11. Travis Baker…74
12. James Decostis…67
13. Nick Paluzzi…63
14. Bruce Rutherford…54
15. Antonio Balbi…50
16. Ryan Marmont…48
17. Jake Canada…46
18. Casey Hinson…32
19. Tommy Weeck…27
20. Gared Steinke…23

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)
11. Tyler Bowers (Kaw)
12. Weston Peick (Yam)
13. Davi Millsaps (Yam)
14. Michael Byrne (Suz)
15. James Stewart (Yam)
16. Kevin Windham (Hon)
17. Tommy Hahn (Yam)
18. Mike Alessi (KTM)
19. Justin Brayton (Yam)
20. Bobby Kiniry (Suz)

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 (Suzuki)
9. Les Smith (Hon)
10. Justin Sipes (Kaw)
11. Chris Gosselaar (Suz)
12. Taylor Futrell (Hon)
13. Levi Kilbarger (Hon)
14. Tyler Bright (Fox Hon)
15. A. J. Catanzaro (Hon)
16. Johnny Moore (Hon)
17. Killy Rusk (KTM)
18. Ricky Renner (KTM)
19. Bradley Ripple (Hon )
20. Gannon Audette (Yam)

Kyle Cunningham was third in the 250 West race, Ken Roczen (center) won the 250 West race and Broc Tickle took the 2011 250 West crown by finishing second in Vegas. Photo: Hoppenworld

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 Steincke (Yam)
20. Topher Ingalls (Hon)

Cole Seely, Ryan Sipes and Ken Roczen celebrate their podium in the 250 East/West Shootout. Photo: Hoppenworld

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. Lance Vincent (Hon)
8. Kyle Cunningham (Yam)
9. Travis Baker (Hon)
10. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
11. Tyla Rattray (Kaw)
12. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
13. Nick Paluzzi (Yam)
14. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
15. Ryan Morais (Suz)
16. Justin Barcia (Hon)
17. Les Smith (Hon)
18. Malcolm Stewart (Suz)
19. Jake Canada (Kaw)
20. Hunter Hewitt (Suz)

broc ticklechad reeddean wilsondirt bikesDungeyJAMES STEWARTJUSTIN BARCIAKYLE CUNNINGHAMmotocrossmxaSUPERCROSSvillopoto