Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto finished third after a hard fought main event at Round 4 of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series at O.com Stadium in Oakland, Calif. His teammate Jake Weimer fell short of his goal for the weekend, but still finished inside the top-ten in eighth position.Ã‚Â Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle worked his way from the back of the pack to finish 13th aboard his KX(TM)450F. In the supercross lites class, Dean Wilson got a great start and was vying for the lead, but went down, forcing him to fight his way through the pack to finish 10th. Tyla Rattray did not transfer to the main event due to a crash in his heat race which forced him off the track for the night.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent
After setting the fastest lap during qualifying, Villopoto was the man to beat going into the heat races. When the gate dropped in the heat race, Villopoto got a mid-pack start, but worked his way back to second before the finish.Ã‚Â In the main event, he got a good jump off the gate and quickly moved into the number three spot. Throughout the race he made several attempts to move out front, but wasn’t able to complete the pass. He finished the night on the podium in third and currently sits third in the championship points, only two points behind the leader.
“It was tough night,” said Villopoto. “The track was pretty rutted and got worse with every lap. The dirt was really soft underneath and it caused the ruts to mushroom out.Ã‚Â Once I got into third I reeled in the leaders and made several attempts to get by, but just couldn’t get any of the passes to stick.Ã‚Â I was on the outside of the track most of the race looking for a place to pass. I kept reeling them in, moving out of the main line to pass, then having to fall back in line behind them around tight sections of track. If I had got a better start that would have fixed the problem, so I am going to be working hard on my starts this week.”
In the heat race, Weimer got a great jump off the start and came within a few feet of earning the holeshot. He finished the heat race in fourth and transferred to the main event. In the main he got a mid-pack start and was forced to fight his way through the field on the deteriorating track. He finished the night in eighth place and currently sits fifth in the overall points.
“The whole day was a bit of a struggle,” said Weimer. “The track layout was good, but the dirt was really rough and inconsistent. It got pretty rutted by the main event so I was having a difficult time connecting the track. You know it just wasn’t the best night for me, but I’m happy to leave the event healthy and am ready to put this race behind me and move on to next week.”
Wilson came into Oakland second in the championship points, only one point behind the leader. After taking the win in his heat race, Wilson was aiming to take over the points lead and coveted red plate.Ã‚Â In the main event, Wilson got a great start on his Kawasaki KX(TM)250F and quickly moved in behind the leader. He began looking for a place to pass, but on the second lap he crashed, leaving him at the back of the pack. Wilson battled through the pack to finish 10th and salvage enough points to hang onto the number two spot in the points standings.
“It was a pretty disappointing night,” said Wilson. “I was happy to get a good start in the main. I thought I had the holeshot, but someone slipped past me on the inside. I made a push to get around the leader, but made a mistake and went down. It just sucks because I lost points and could have taken over the lead tonight. I’m going to train hard and get back after it next weekend.”
Since his move to the supercross class, Tickle has been working hard to get comfortable on the bigger bike. In the heat race, Tickle got a good start and pieced together a solid race to finish sixth. When the gate dropped for the main, Tickle got pinched off around the first turn and found himself near the back of the pack, but worked through the field to finish 13th.
“I really felt like I was struggling all day,” said Tickle. “I crashed earlier in practice and just couldn’t get comfortable on the track. The heat race went good and I felt good about the start. But in the main I got a bad start and just had a tough time. It’s hard to explain, but at the test tracks I feel like I can push it on my KX450F, but when I get to the races I don’t have the same confidence. Moving forward I just have to keep working hard and keep trying to get closer to where I want to be, which is top-five.Ã‚Â I’m going to work hard this week and hopefully I can come back next week and prove myself at Anaheim 2.”
Rolling with the Punches
Rattray came into the weekend sitting third in the points, only three points behind the leader. He knew to reclaim the red plate he was going to have to push it on the difficult track. Rattray attempted to dial in the track during practice, but couldn’t get into a rhythm and qualified in 10th position. In the heat race, he crashed while trying to come through the pack and was injured, knocking him out of the competition for the night.
After timed qualifying wrapped up and the overall results were calculated, Villopoto had secured the fastest lap time at the event. His impressive 54.17 second lap time was almost a half-second faster than everyone else in his class. Although the outstanding lap time seemed difficult to best, during the heat race Villopoto’s adrenaline-fueled charge aboard his 2012 Kawasaki KX450F resulted in an amazing 52.7 second lap time, besting every racer at the event.
Next weekend, the series heads back to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., for Round 5 of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series.