Delmont, PA, September 3 - Ryan Villopoto closed in on his first-ever 450 outdoor title after coming out on top of an intense battle with Ryan Dungey to score an impressive 1-1 performance at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pennsylvania, at the penultimate round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series.
Dungey led moto one from the opening lap, after passing American Honda's Justin Barcia after the start, and held the lead until the final lap, where Villopoto made a gutsy pass in the final turn the steal the moto win from the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider. Villopoto tried several times to pass Dungey earlier in the race, but with the finish in sight, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider decided it was time to make a bold move and passed Dungey on the outside of the final turn, when a lapper held Dungey up momentarily.Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe, fresh off his first ever overall win last week at Southwick, passed Barcia with five laps to go to finish third, while Barcia held on to finish fourth ahead of TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing's Chad Reed.Dungey grabbed the holeshot in moto two, however, Villopoto slipped by before the end of the moto, pulling away to a lead that would grow to over 15 seconds by the end of the race.Reed pushed Dungey early in the moto, and passed the defending champ to lead the second and third laps, before Dungey took control of the runner-up position for good.Reed ended the moto in third, just ahead of Metcalfe, who ended the day in third overall with a 3-4 tally.Reed was fourth overall at 5-3, while Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer finished fifth overall after going 6-6."You had to ride the track as hard as you could without making mistakes, which was really tough," said Villopoto. "Getting a win in one of the motos was crucial heading into Pala. I have a little breathing room, which is nice, but I'm still going to have to go out there and race, just like everyone else. The last couple years haven't been the greatest, but it's nice to get in a full season. Now, we're almost done. Hopefully we have a good weekend at Pala, and wrap it up."Villopoto gained six valuable points over Dungey in the title chase and now leads the Suzuki rider by 14 points with only the series finale at Pala remaining on the schedule.In the 250 class, the first champion of the 2011 season was crowned when Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Dean Wilson went 1-1 to seal the championship.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider led from start to finish in moto one, finishing just over nine seconds ahead of Eli Tomac, after fending off a brief challenge by Tomac's GEICO Honda teammate Juston Bogle during the early stages of the race.
In Moto two, Wilson had to deal with a series challenge by Tomac, which saw the Honda rider lead five laps before Wilson took over, finishing the moto with six seconds to spare over Tomac.KTM's Marvin Musquin turned in his best performance of the season, going 3-3 for third overall, while Monster Energy Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray went 4-4 for fourth."This is the greatest day to me," said Wilson, who statistically has been the best rider in the entire series this summer. "I went to sleep when I was young dreaming about winning an outdoor championship. Now, it's a dream come true. I was feeling really good today. In the first moto, I got the holeshot, and in the second moto, I didn't get a good start, but I got lucky and found a hole that helped me pass a lot of people. It's just the greatest feeling. I went by the pits and saw on my pit board that I was the 2011 MX Champion, and it gave me goose bumps. I just went out there and rode the way I know how to. I actually didn't want to win it this weekend, because my parents aren't here to share it with me."Tomac's 2-2 performance for second overall was the Colorado rider's best finish of the season.In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women's Motocross Championship, DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha's Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Florida, swept the day's motos to capture her fourth win of the season, and close the deficit she faces to American Honda's Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Florida, in the WMX Class standings. Fiolek posted 3-2 moto finishes for second overall, while Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Tarah Gieger, of Puerto Rico, finished third (2-3). Fiolek's lead over Patterson sits at 22 points heading into the season finale.