Photography by Larry Lawrence
Ryan Villopoto ran away and hid in the first 450 moto at High Point Saturday. After following holeshot winner Justin Barcia for a few turns, Villopoto picked up the pace on his Monster Energy Kawasaki and pulled away to a 16.641 second margin of victory. It was simply a flawless performance on a technical track that quickly changed from slippery to tacky, rutted and bumpy.
Taking second was last week’s winner Ryan Dungey. As usual Dungey improved as the moto progressed, but his issue was a poor start. He ran fifth early and by the time he worked his way up past Barcia to second, Villopoto was long gone.
Barcia ran second for the first half of the race before being passed by Dungey. He appeared to be in a safe third until he fell. Tyla Rattray closed, but Barcia recovered quickly and was just over six seconds ahead of Rattray at the checkered flag.
Former High Point 450 National winners Chad Reed both struggled and finished 14th and 16th respectively.
“The track was tough,” Villopoto said. “I was trying to find good lines and run a smart race because this place can bite you pretty easily. There’s one really quick line and a few others you can take, but it made it tough to get around lappers. I was into them pretty quick. Those guys are racing for position so it makes it tough for the frontrunners to go around them. Traditionally moto two is the one you want to win, but I’m off to a good start.”
For Dungey he conceded the start was the thing that cost him any shot of running with Villopoto.
“I got bumped around pretty good there at the start,” he said. “I got into second and felt good. I felt like I had a good pace going and the bike was working good. The track’s tough, but they did a good job getting it in condition. It was a little slippery in the first few laps, but really came around. We’re going to have to be strong at the beginning of the second moto.”
In the 250 class it was Red Bull KTM riders Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin finishing first and second. The gap was 4.1 seconds. Last year’s 250 winner, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, charged hard late in the moto to nearly catch Musquin, but at the flag he came up about three seconds short.
Cole Seely, who took the holeshot ended up crashing late in the moto and was holding his wrist.
Roczen said his only issue was the first turn.
“My start was not the best so I got pushed wide in the first corner,” Roczen explained. “I made it happen quick and got out front. I really like the track. I could pull a little gap and was able to stay there. Halfway through the moto I was just riding to be consistent. The other guys closed at the end, but I was able to hold on. I’ll try to get as much rest as I can and come out strong in the second one.”
Jessica Patterson took victory in the first WMX moto. She had a great battle with Sayaka Kaneshiro in the latter laps, but got away to a nine-second victory at the flag.
High Point 450 Moto 1
1 2 Ryan Villopoto Poulsbo, WA Kawasaki KX 450F 16 Laps
2 1 Ryan Dungey Waconia, MN KTM 450 SX-F FE +16.641
3 51 Justin Barcia Monroe, NY Honda CRF450R +45.200
4 28 Tyla Rattray South Africa Kawasaki KX 450F +51.695
5 33 Josh Grant Riverside, CA Yamaha YZ 450F +55.100
6 35 Ryan Sipes Vine Grove, KY Suzuki RMZ 450 +59.259
7 41 Trey Canard Oklahoma City, OK Honda CRF450R +1:10.982
8 12 Jake Weimer Twin Falls, ID Kawasaki KX 450F +1:17.819
9 49 Phil Nicoletti Cohocton, NY Yamaha YZ 450F +1:19.464
10 800 Mike Alessi Hilliard, FL Suzuki RMZ 450 +1:20.122
High Point 250 Moto1
1 94 Ken Roczen Germany KTM 250 SX-F 16 Laps
2 25 Marvin Musquin France KTM 250 SX-F +04.171
3 17 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO Honda CRF250R +07.655
4 1 Blake Baggett Grand Terrace, CA Kawasaki KX 250F +39.110
5 34 Justin Bogle Cushing, OK Honda CRF250R +43.805
6 175 Cooper Webb Newport, NC Yamaha YZ 250F +44.909
7 38 Kyle Cunningham Aledo, TX Yamaha YZ 250F +57.843
8 44 Darryn Durham Butler, PA Kawasaki KX 250F +1:00.236
9 77 Jeremy Martin Millville, MN Yamaha YZ 250F +1:01.516
10 338 Zach Osborne Chesterfield, SC Honda CRF250R +1:12.419