The greatest season in Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, history will come to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday with the highly-anticipated season finale from Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium. A packed house will welcome the world’s best riders as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto looks to secure his first-career Supercross class title. For the first time in Monster Energy Supercross history, four titles will be awarded at the season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium, including the Supercross class, Eastern/Western Regional Supercross Lites and Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout titles.
On the heels of capturing his championship-leading sixth win of the season in Salt Lake City, Villopoto now holds a nine-point lead over TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed while reigning Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey sits 12 points behind for the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki squad.
Last Saturday, Villopoto entered the penultimate round of the championship with just a nine-point advantage over his three closest challengers, Reed, Dungey, and San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart. Coming off back-to-back wins at the previous two rounds, a determined Stewart put himself in position to win again in Utah, grabbing the holeshot and opening up an early lead. However, on Lap 8, Stewart fell to the ground after losing his front end, handing the lead and second place over to Villopoto and Reed, who were engaged in battle. Upon remounting in third, Stewart crashed hard in the whoops, allowing Dungey to take over the position.
Once out front, Villopoto continued to charge, opening up a gap over Reed and fending off his rival’s advances over the final laps. Dungey rounded out the podium in third while Stewart soldiered home to 10th. As a result of his misfortune, Stewart lost considerable ground to Villopoto in the standings, but still remains within reach of the title, 23 points out of the lead.
“We have all done our work this year, and it is paying off,” said Villopoto. “It is a lot easier going into Vegas with a nine-point lead. Hopefully, I will be standing on top of the box next weekend.”
Never before in the 38-year history of Monster Energy Supercross have four riders entered the final race of the championship with a shot at the coveted title. The 2011 championship has been witness to arguably the most competitive action the sport has ever seen, boasting five different winners. Additionally, past champions Reed, Dungey and Stewart have been challenged by a pair of former Supercross Lites champions in Villopoto and Supercross class rookie Trey Canard, who won three races for American Honda before suffering a season-ending injury a few weeks ago. On any given week, the action has been unpredictable with extremely heavy parity and some of the most dramatic moments of misfortune experienced by each of the title contenders.
Over the course of the previous 16 weeks of racing, the points lead has changed hands on five different occasions among three riders. Through it all, the championship has culminated in the most captivating title fight of all time and in just a few days, a record number of riders will engage in battle to determine who will walk away from Las Vegas as champion.
The final race of the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross season takes place this Saturday, May 7 with practice and qualifying beginning at 12:30 p.m., and the main event starting at 7:00 p.m.
Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 318
Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda – 309
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 306
James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 295
Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 255
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM – 214
Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 202
Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha – 172
Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C, Yamaha – 153
Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha – 139
Photo Credit: Brian Robinette