On Saturday, April 26, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto clinched his fourth consecutive 450SX Class Championship at the first-ever Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, race at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Villopoto’s memorable night capped off an impressive 2014 championship campaign that was arguably the most successful of his four-year reign.
“It’s been an awesome day here at MetLife Stadium,” said Villopoto, who also achieved the 40th win of his 450SX Class career. “We had a little bit of rain, but I couldn’t believe how well the track held up. It feels great to lock in my fourth-consecutive championship. It’s been a hard-fought season with a few ups and downs, but it was obviously my most consistent, so I’m glad to be able to close it out on top.”
While Villopoto’s win total this season is currently the lowest it’s ever been over the last four years, he’s been more consistent than ever before, boasting a 2.13 finishing average and a lowest result of sixth. With a three-race win streak in tow, he’ll come into Las Vegas this weekend as the favorite and will look to cement his historic season with a dominant run through to the finish.
"Ryan Villopoto and his Monster Energy Kawasaki team once again put on a formidable defense of their Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, against an incredible field of extremely talented competition," said MX Sports Pro Racing's Davey Coombs. "MX Sports and all of our series partners wish to congratulate Ryan, his mechanic Mike Williamson and the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team on this fourth consecutive championship season."
Upon claiming his 40th 450SX Class victory over the weekend, Villopoto became just the second rider in Monster Energy Supercross history to win four consecutive championships.
"We also wish to congratulate Feld Entertainment Motor Sports on yet another successful season, as well as a fantastic debut event at MetLife Stadium this past weekend," added Coombs. "As always, they set a very high standard for racing events and the entire motorcycling industry benefits from their hard work and excellent events."
With the pressure of the championship now over, the entire 450SX Class field will also be in search of a win to end their respective seasons on a high note. Spearheading that group are Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, Team Yoshimura’s James Stewart, and Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen. The pair of former champions and star rookie has each won previously this season, but more importantly they are engaged in battle for the runner-up spot in the final championship standings. Stewart appeared to suffer a knee injury in East Rutherford, bowing out of competition during the Main Event. However, his status is uncertain as it is assumed he will be on the gate. Dungey didn’t have the result he was hoping for at MetLife, dropping positions en route to a sixth-place finish, while Roczen was only able to parlay the fastest lap in practice to a fifth-place effort.
Based on their respective outings in East Rutherford, motivation will be high for these three riders to get back to the front of the field and battle for the win, or at least a spot on the podium. All three riders have won before in Las Vegas and will look to take advantage of that experience. Additionally, the Team Honda Muscle Milk duo of Justin Barcia and Trey Canard have shown impressive speed in recent weeks and each will be looking to do all he can to break through for his first victory of 2014.
Even though the championship has been decided, the excitement in Las Vegas will be as big as ever thanks to one of the fastest and most thrilling tracks of the season. Las Vegas is known for producing memorable racing and with the motivation the biggest names in the sport are carrying into Sam Boyd Stadium, that trend is sure to continue.
The 16 weeks of competition within each of the respective 250SX Class Regional Championships have led to this, one final night in which champions will be crowned and the world will learn which 250SX Class rider is the fastest on the planet. The Eastern and Western Regional Championships are both undecided heading into Las Vegas.
Back East, GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle is carrying a surge of momentum into the finale following his second career win in East Rutherford combined with the heartbreak suffered by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. The Kawasaki-mounted duo of Martin Davalos and Blake Baggett both missed the action inside MetLife Stadium following injuries. Davalos was the points leader coming into last weekend but is officially out for Las Vegas, while Baggett sat third and could still come back to line up on the gate Saturday night. As a result, Bogle took over the points lead and now has a 17-point lead over Davalos and a 54-point margin on Baggett and The Factory Metal Works Honda’s Vince Friese, who moved into a tie for third. While Davalos is the only rider still mathematically eligible to win the title, knowing he will not be in action in Las Vegas has essentially secured the title for Bogle, who will likely use the race as a celebratory effort.
Out West, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson sits in position to earn his first career title with an eight-point lead over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely, who is also in search of his inaugural championship. Seely brings the momentum into Las Vegas after winning at the West Region’s previous race in Seattle, but Anderson has four wins this season and a 2.13 finishing average. If he maintains the consistency he’s displayed all season, a fourth-place finish for Anderson will secure the title if Seely is able to grab another win. Together, Anderson and Seely have dominated the Western Regional Championship with six combined wins, 11 podiums, and a finish no worse than fifth. Their battle will be in the spotlight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Following the final Main Events of both the Eastern and Western Regional Championships, the top competitors in each division will round out a 22-rider field to determine who stands above the rest in the annual East/West Shootout. The Shootout has consistently been one of the most anticipated races each season as it serves as the one and only opportunity the two regions come together. The winner walks away with bragging rights as the best 250SX Class rider in Monster Energy Supercross. Previous winners of the East/West Shootout is a who’s who of the sport, including Kevin Windham, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana, James Stewart, Andrew Short, Davi Millsaps, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, and Ken Roczen. Riders who have emerged victorious in this 250SX Class showcase have more often than not gone on to enjoy hugely successful careers, meaning a lot will be on the line this Saturday night.
Last season in Las Vegas, Villopoto capped off his dominant third-straight title run with his 10th victory of the 2013 season. In the 250SX Class, Roczen earned his first career title in the Western Regional Championship while GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn did the same in the Eastern Regional Championship. Roczen carried the momentum of his title win into the East/West Shootout, where he emerged victorious.
Villopoto will enter the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season next month to defend his 450 Class title amongst a talented field of past champions and future stars. The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will kick off Saturday, May 24 in San Bernardino, Calif. with the return of the Red Bull Glen Helen National.
The first race held in Las Vegas was on March 17, 1990, when Jeff Matiasevich won the 450SX Class on a Kawasaki and Jeremy McGrath won in the 250SX Class, also on a Kawasaki. McGrath, a seven-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion, also holds the all-time win record in both classes at Sam Boyd Stadium with four in the 450SX Class and three in the 250SX Class.
Tickets are available at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office, online at www.UNLVtickets.com, charge by phone at (702) 739-FANS, and at www.supercrossonline.com. Tickets will be available at the Sam Boyd Stadium Box Office on the day of the event only. Practice and qualifying begin at 12:30 p.m. and the Main Event starts at 7:00 p.m. Extreme Seats are $90; VIP Seats $75; Jackpot Seats $65; Regular Seats $55. Fans can also get into the Pits for FREE from 12:30-6 p.m. on Race Day with their event ticket.
Across town, the arena inside South Point Casino will serve as the sight of the AMSOIL AMA Amateur National Arenacross Championships, with practice scheduled for Friday, May 2, and a loaded schedule of competition on Sunday, May 4. In the end a total of 29 classes will battle, with 28 of those classes crowning AMA National Champions.
With 12 weekends of AMSOIL Arenacross competition during the 2014 season, riders were eligible to qualify from one of four different amateur regions –South, East, West and Central – during each of the Amateur Day races that took place every Sunday throughout the arenacross season.
On Friday morning all 29 classes of competition will take to the track for the first time in practice, familiarizing themselves with the layout inside South Point Arena. After a break on Saturday in which competitors will enjoy the final race of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season Saturday night at nearby Sam Boyd Stadium, they’ll return to the track at South Point on Sunday morning. Elimination Heat Races will start the day off, with riders in each of the 29 classes going bar-to-bar all in hopes of transferring into their respective Main Events.. As the afternoon gives way, the process of determining which 29 riders will emerge victorious begins with the Main Events, with 28 riders ultimately being crowned national champions.
The 29 classes that will be in action feature a wide array of skill levels and ages, open to both boys and girls, and men and women. Because of its exceptional field of talent, ANAC has cemented itself as one of the most highly regarded amateur competitions in the world.
Of the 29 classes that will be in action at ANAC, several will garner the attention of the fans and the racing community as a whole. The AMSOIL Dominator Super-Mini class provides intense competition throughout the AMSOIL Arenacross season and the top three finishers following its Main Event on Sunday will also secure their spot in the Super-mini class at this October’s Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the 2014 AMSOIL AMA Amateur National Arenacross Championships are still on sale. Gates and pits open promptly at 8 a.m. for Sunday’s action, with racing set to start shortly thereafter. Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions are free to the public.
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