Ryan Dungey looked ready to collect his third victory at round four of the Supercross season in San Francisco, but he had the wily veteran Kevin Windham to deal with who posted the fastest qualifying time on the soggy course.
Unfortunately, Windham had a terrible outing and the challenge during the 20-lap main event never materialized. Ryan Villopoto had a slow start to his sophomore 450 SX season, but the rider found his groove in this fourth week of racing. RV took to the task after rounding the first circuit in sixth. He was into the top-three by Lap 6 and chasing down Josh Hill, another northwest rider with blazing speed this season. RV dispatched the rider just before the halfway point and set out after Dungey who was trying to run and hide up front.
Roger DeCoster’s star rider enjoyed the holeshot but made a mistake on Lap 11 with a crash that dropped him to third and then Davi Millsaps, who also crashed on Lap 4, forced his way past as well. “I lost my foot and went sailing,” said Dungey. “It could have been a lot worse. I am glad I am not hurt.”
“The track was tough and slippery,” said Villopoto. “It was hard to put in 20 perfect laps out there tonight. It wasn’t the start that I wanted, so I played catch-up. It is a long season with a lot of racing left.”
Dungey still leads the season standings by 11 points, but with James Stewart’s return date uncertain, this was a perfect opportunity. Fourth on the night and emerging unscathed from the crash is still a positive outcome and the rider will regroup for next weekend’s race in San Diego.
Trey Canard proved his riding ability in 2008 by winning the Lites East championship in his rookie campaign. Saturday night in San Francisco, the 19-year-old from Shawnee, Okla., showed he could handle the action out west as well by winning his first race of the year at AT&T Park.
The victory extended an impressive streak for Canard’s team, which has now placed a rider on the podium at all four races in the 2010 Series. As the season reaches the quarter mark, Canard is a solid second in the 250 West Standings, while teammates Kevin Windham and Blake Wharton both hold down fifth-place rankings, Windham in Supercross and Wharton in Supercross Lites.
“This felt so good,” said Canard, who is recovering from a foot injury sustained two weeks ago in Phoenix. “It was like a weight off my shoulders. I’m just so thankful; it’s been a rough go to get this, and that made it awesome.
Canard expertly answered the numerous challenges of incoming points leader Jake Weimer, who ended up second in the main event, and managed to gain a few valuable points on the tricky racetrack.
The racing surface played a role from the start of the day as heavy rain had soaked AT&T Park Friday night. The soft dirt was quickly riddled with braking bumps and ruts, but the team seemed mostly unfazed by the conditions with all three riders performing well in their respective practice sessions. In fact, Windham paced the 450 class with the top time of practice, while Canard and Wharton earned the fifth and seventh spots in Lites.
In the Lites heat race, Canard and Wharton both started strong with Canard the quickest of the six-lap test. Wharton barely trailed him until lap four, when he crashed and unfortunately could only muster a return to 10th. For the third race in a row, Wharton was faced with having earn a spot in the main event via the Last Chance Qualifier. Once again, the young rider channeled his frustration in the critical LCQ, got the holeshot, and quickly pulled away from the pack, easily garnering the first of the two remaining spots for the main event.
It just wasn’t Wharton’s day, however, as struggles early in the main event relegated him to the back of the pack. He fought to pick up the pace and began making headway, but simply ran out of laps and finished 13th.