Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Great venue. Great crowd (49,438 fans). Great track. Great action. The question now has become – can anyone beat Ryan Villopoto?
The defending Supercross champion won once again Saturday night in Houston. Round 13 of 17 for the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Championship. Ryan’s fifth win in a row – St. Louis, Daytona, Indy, Toronto, and now Houston. Ryan’s 32nd career SX Main event win.
Ryan said after his victory in Houston: “The track was breaking down out there, and there were several variables that we had to deal with. You had to move quickly out there tonight, and that is what I did in the early part of the race. I wanted to establish a lead before the lapped riders would begin to play a factor in the race. Getting five wins in a row is incredible. We’ve come a long way since Anaheim and have constantly improved to the point where we are now on top. The field is so close that you really need to have everything dialed in order to win and we’ve been able to do that these past few weeks.”
Coming into this weekend’s race in Minneapolis, the question remains – can anyone beat Ryan Villopoto, … or will he claim his third straight supercross title this season? Ryan leads second place in points Davi Millsaps by 21 points with four races left in the 2013 series.
Second in the 450 Main Event in Houston – Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey. Ryan sits third in points – 25 points behind leader Villopoto. Here’s what Ryan Dungey had to say after his second place finish Saturday night: “I definitely needed a better start tonight. We are all so close in lap times that if you don’t get the best start, the leaders pull away quickly. I was able to get into 2nd place but didn’t leave myself enough time to catch Ryan Villopoto. Overall, I am happy to be on the podium and very happy with my bike and hope to continue to improve at the next round.”
Saturday night is the next round in MN – Ryan Dungey’s home state.
More on the 450 class …
James Stewart was riding well in Houston – until a little fall in the Main, which ultimately damaged the motorcycle and he had to pull off the race track. He said after the Houston event: “In the heat race, I was riding pretty good and somebody went down. Whenever you see a red flag you know someone has gone down and that sucks. So we restarted and I was riding really good, we were starting to close in on the leader, but I jumped on one of the hay bales and that bent my shifter. I could’ve pushed it but I decided not to take any chances. The Main Event didn’t go like we hoped it would. I didn’t get a good start but I made some great passes and made my way up. I was in third and we were going at it pretty good. But I ended up washing-out the front end and I jacked up my front wheel. Overall, we made some great progress with the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and it was running great. It was the fastest bike out there in the whoops. These weren’t the best results, but we worked great together as a team and that’s what counts. Now we’re just looking forward to racing at Minneapolis next weekend and testing for Motocross.”
Trey Canard had one of his better races this entire season. He said after the Houston race “I am just grateful to be here. This is probably the most clear-headed I have been in weeks and is probably the best day I have had all season. My result at Anaheim 1 was better but overall this day was great. It has been a long time since I have won a heat race and that really helped heading into the main. I did the best that I could tonight and that is all I can ask for, so I am grateful to be on the podium.”
And Trey’s teammate Justin Barcia said about Houston “I would prefer to be on the podium but overall, today was an okay day. I felt good in practice and was able to get a good gate pick heading into the heat. I made a mistake at the beginning of the heat but was able to come back and finish right behind Trey in second. In the main event I didn’t get a great start but finished fourth.”
Now we get to the equally competitive 250 East Series. Wil Hahn leads Marvin Musquin by just eight points. And Blake Wharton won the Main in Houston.
We start with points leader Wil Hahn – Wil Hahn finished second behind Wharton in the 250 East Main Event, but gained two points on Marvin Musquin for the points chase. “I want to win every race I’m in, regardless of who is in what position or whatever. But to gain points this late in the season with only two races left, that’s big, and I’m definitely happy with the result. I rode great all day. I felt good in practice, I won my Heat race, and I was riding great in the Main. I made a couple little mistakes, yeah, but I had my aggression back, which is what I wanted. It sounds good to say you’re not thinking about the championship, like you’re all focused on the next thing or whatever, but you’d have to be crazy not to think about it. We only have two races. It’s right here in front of us. I’m actually okay with it. I’m not intimidated by the situation. It really just gets me more excited. I can’t wait to get to Minneapolis and get after it. I’m having the time of my life. Looking back about the Houston Main, I maybe could have been a little more patient in the Main and waited for better spot to challenge Blake but woulda, shoulda, coulda, whatever. Bottom line, we maintained the points lead and the GEICO Honda is leading the pack into Minneapolis next weekend. That’s awesome.”
And Hahn has this to say about his closest competitor – two-time World MX2 Motocross Champion Marvin Musquin: “He’s a really likable guy. He’s very respectful and just the kind of person you like hanging around. We race each other hard but we always race clean. We have a lot of respect for each other and that carries over to the track. He’s definitely kept me on my toes. You always know he’s right there.”
Blake Wharton, The Renaissance Man, won the 250 East Main in Houston. He said “It’s important to be aggressive out there. I had a great start and it was pretty intense during get first few laps, but I was able to give myself a nice cushion until Wil Hahn pressured me at the end. We had a weekend off with Easter, but I trained and did my thing. There’s no rest even with a weekend off; these guys are riding good. It’s the first win of the season for me. It was a little slower than I’d like to have done it, but it’s a win and it’s Houston, which is always awesome.”
Blake Wharton tops Wil Hahn and Marvin Musquin in Houston
Marvin Musquin: “The track was really good today and I enjoyed the whoops in practice and in the heat but they became very tricky in the main event. Unfortunately, they got the best of me and caused me to crash. I am bummed because I know I had faster lap times than Blake and Wil, but unfortunately, I made a mistake and wasn’t able to catch back up to them today. I am now 8 points back so I am definitely going to have to get back on the top step at the remaining rounds.”
A nice story is Tyler Bowers, the Arenacross Champion, making a nice transition into supercross with the Monster Energy Pro-Circuit team. Tyler got fourth Saturday night in Houston, and said “I know that with this great team behind me, paired with my ability, we can be upfront battling. The main event was a bit hairy the first few laps. I rounded the first turn in 19th after a rider went down in front of me and within the first few corners I had made my way into the top-10. From there I just concentrated to riding my lines and trying to keep with the leaders. With another week on the bike and we’ll come out swinging in Minneapolis.”
The Monster Energy Supercross Series returns to Minneapolis for the first time in five years next Saturday for Round 14 at the Minneapolis Metrodome. Broadcast coverage of the 450SX Class can be seen via next-day coverage on CBS, beginning at 12 noon EST. Coverage of the 250SX Class can be seen on SPEED at 4:30 p.m. EST.