April 6, 2014 — report by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online — Simon Cudby photo — HOUSTON, TX — He may have had problems in both preliminary events he raced in, but when it came down to crunch time on Saturday night at NRG Stadium, there was no one better than Ryan Villopoto.
Villopoto, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross points leader and three-time defending series champion, dominated the 41st all-time 450SX main event in Houston Saturday night after racing his way in through the semi and ran away to a 13.669-second triumph over Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia, ending James Stewart’s three race winning streak.
The triumph was Villopoto’s fourth of the 2014 season and his 38th career Monster Energy Supercross 450 class victory.
“It was awesome tonight considering everything we had to overcome,” said Villopoto after the victory. “With the start the way it was, I don’t think I could have asked for anything more and it made my life easy. The track was tough, but our Kawasaki was able to handle everything. That’s not the way I wanted the Heat Race to go, but we were able to bounce back even stronger.”
German rookie Ken Roczen came home third for Red Bull KTM, with Trey Canard (Honda Muscle Milk) finishing fourth and a weakened James Stewart coming home in fifth for Team Yoshimura Suzuki. Stewart battled illness all week and was under the weather all day long, but managed to fight back to win his heat and qualify directly into the main.
Villopoto’s path there was much more complex, however. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider went down in Heat #2 and finished 15th while the rider he was battling for the lead at the time, Josh Hill, went on to win the heat and transfer straight to the main event. Villopoto then nearly experienced disaster again in the semi when the rear wheel of his Kawasaki stepped out on him through one of the whoop sections of the course, but the champion never flinched and went on to win the semi and set up his ride in the main event.
On the start, the move that would ultimately seal the race after one corner was made as RV1 grabbed the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award ahead of Justin Barcia and from there would proceed to leave the field in his dust. While Villopoto streaked away from Barcia and the field, Ryan Dungey went down on his Red Bull KTM and fell to the tail of the field and James Stewart fought to maintain position among the top five while being mired in traffic.
Villopoto then put his bike on cruise control and easily led all 20 laps of the main event, never allowing Barcia to close within a second of him during the entire main event.
Villopoto now leads the Monster Energy Supercross 450 class points standings by 45 markers over James Stewart, who overtook Ryan Dungey for second place in the championship. Dungey finished seventh, the final rider on the lead lap at the finish after passing 11 bikes in 20 laps, and now sits 46 points behind Villopoto in the standings.
In 250 West action, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jordan Anderson put on an equally dominating performance, leading all 15 laps en route to his fourth Monster Energy Supercross 250 class West Region victory of the season. Jessy Nelson claimed the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award on the start, but could not hold off Anderson, who flashed by quickly in the second corner and brought Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Hill with him, never looking back from there.
“It feels great to come back strong after such a long break. I’m super stoked to get the win,” said Anderson. “We did a lot of work over the break and it paid off. We killed it off the start and were able to run our own race. That’s going to be the key to winning this championship over the last few rounds, put myself up front and move into a position so we can do what we need to do.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson overcame a dislocated shoulder after a crash in his heat and chased Anderson all the way to the checkered flag, chopping a two second gap down to bike lengths at the finish but coming up just short. Troy Lee Designs/MAVTV Honda’s Malcolm Stewart finished third after picking up the spot when Hill crashed in the whoops on Lap 4 of the 15-lap main.
The Houston stop was the first Western Regional 250SX Class Championship race since the San Diego event on February 8.
Anderson extends his 250 West points lead to 11 markers over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Cole Seely, who struggled during the main event and came home in fourth place after starting the event seventh.
Monster Energy Supercross now heads north to Seattle, Washington and the CenturyLink Field for Round 15 of the 2014 season. The Western Regional 250SX Class Championship will contest their penultimate round of the 2014 season while the 450SX field has just three races remaining in the chase for the 2014 Supercross championship. Catch all the action live next Saturday night, April the 12th live at 10:30 PM Eastern on FOX Sports!
450SX Class Results: Houston
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
- Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda
- Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda
- James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki
- Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
- Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Fla., Suzuki
- Eli Tomac, Cortex, Colo., Honda
- Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda
250SX Class Results: Houston
- Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., KTM
- Dean Wilson, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Kawasaki
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda
- Cole Seely, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda
- Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Honda
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
- Shane Mcelrath, Canton, N.C., Honda
- Jake Canada Sun City, Calif., Honda
- Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
- Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda
KTM Jr. Supercross Challenge Results
- Jay Covert, Manchester, Pa., KTM
- Jackson Glathar, St. George, Utah, KTM
- Bryson Ray, Canyon, Texas, KTM
- Brandon Shaw, Lubbock, Texas, KTM
- Nate Betten, Milano, Texas, KTM
- Drayton Smith, Spicewood, Texas, KTM
- Eric Vidal, Fort Worth, Texas, KTM
- Matthew Goatley, Louisville, Ky., KTM
- Patrick Callahan, Foxboro, Mass. KTM
- Christopher Welchko, Las Cruces, N.M., KTM
- Riley Bertsch, Pine Haven, Wyo., KTM
- Cooper Marshall, Tacoma, Wash., KTM
- Hudson Lambert, Pearland, Texas, KTM
- Luna Fairtrace, Gulfport, Miss., KTM
- Luke Butler, Syracuse, N.Y., KTM