To win a championship is hard; ask anyone who has accomplished that feat.
To win three is even harder.
To win three in a row, well that puts you in a class above the rest.
With his 9th win of the season coming at Rice-Eccles Stadium during the 16th stop on the Monster Energy Supercross, Ryan Villapoto took home his third straight Championship in front of a packed stadium in Salt Lake City.
Villopoto became the fifth rider in Monster Energy Supercross history to win three championships, joining Bob Hannah, Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath, and Ricky Carmichael. He also joined Hannah, McGrath, and Carmichael as the only riders to win three titles consecutively.
“It would be awesome to get it done tonight,” said Villapoto in a pre race interview. “Everybody has been riding so good, so you have to show up and fight for the win.”
A fight for the win is the most appropriate description for the 450X Main Event.
Coming into the race, Villapoto led Davi Millsaps by 25 points and Ryan Dungey by 26. All three riders had a chance to win the title, but after 20 hard fought laps ended with all three finishing seconds of each other, Villapoto came away with the win and the championship.
Ryan Dungey got out of the gates first in the short start hit his breaks hard and rode away with the holeshot with Villapoto right alongside him.
“The start is so quick”, said Dungey. This is a tough track, it makes you completely committed to the line that you pick.”
Villapoto wasted no time in making a pass on Dungey for the lead and then set the pace over the opening laps to open a two-plus second advantage.
Davi Millsaps got alongside Dungey on Lap 2 and made the pass for second, setting his sights on the leader. Eventually, Millsaps and Dungey, who barely held onto his bike after getting loose in the whoops, closed the gap on Villopoto.
Following the halfway point, all three riders sat within a second of one another at one point. Millsaps had an opportunity to make a move for the lead as Villapoto was head up in traffic by other riders, but Villopoto withstood the pressure and clinched the title on a high note.
“It was a crazy race,” said Villapoto after the race. “It was anyone’s race out there. This track is so very technical any mistake you make can open the door for anyone.”
In the 250X Class, Eli Tomac had a chance to close the entire points gap on leader Ken Roczen after Roczen failed to make the main.
Roczen entered the night with a 20-point advantage over Tomac, but Tomac squandered the huge opportunity finishing sixth leaving Roczen a lucky man leading by 5 points heading to Vegas for the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship
“It was a bad night, definitely not what I came here to do,” said Roczen in a press release. “I wanted to finish the season off strong, not with a DNF at the second-to-last race. As much as I had bad luck tonight, I did get a little break with Tomac finishing sixth, so I still have the championship lead going into Las Vegas next weekend. I will need to ride the race of my life there.”
After the race Tomac spoke about his missed opportunity.
“I started the race in second, but just blew it in the whoops,” said Tomac. “It was a section that just got me all day. There were a couple passes where I got through them ok, but there were others where I got wild and out of control.”
The Monster Energy Supercross Season comes to a close this weekend from Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday night May 4 under the bright lights.