MILLVILLE, Minn. (July 16, 2011) - Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey made it four in a row at Millville with a gritty performance Saturday, that featured a second moto confrontation of the Ryans (Dungey and Villopoto), which left Villopoto on the ground and one of the most spectacular crashes in AMA Motocross history suffered by points leader Chad Reed in the second moto. Reed's crash meant a major tightening of the 450 championship battle, with Reed still leading, but the top three (Reed, Villopoto and Dungey) separated by just seven points.
While it was a wild day in the 450 class, it was a bit tamer in the 250s. Tyla Rattray raced another strategic race, showing his fitness in the muggy conditions by finishing second to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit teammate Dean Wilson in the first moto and then pulling away to a convincing win in Moto 2 for the overall. It marked the third win of the season for Rattray and moved him into second in the series standings. It was a clean sweep for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit with Blake Baggett going 3-3 for third overall.
Reed won the first moto on his TwoTwo Motorsports Honda, in spite of racing most of the way without his goggles. "They got sweaty and screwed up my concentration so I threw them off," Reed explained. Dungey took second, at one point closing in on Reed before making an error and falling back. Villopoto was third on the Monster Energy Kawasaki.
All hell broke loose in the second moto. On the first lap Reed was running near the front when he lost control coming up to a large jump, and got highsided just as his bike was hitting the peak of the jump. Reed sickeningly flew through the air, perhaps 50 feet, arms and legs flailing in what looked like a certain season ender. Miraculously Reed landed, tumbled hard and was shaken up, but managed to get back on his bike and continue to race. The crowd gave him a continuous ovation for two laps as he circulated the track.
"I started swapping back and forth coming up to the jump and suddenly the handlebars weren't there," said a beat up Reed, who was attended to by the Asterisk Medical crew after the moto. "That was the scariest crash I've ever experienced."
Reed charged all the way back to 14th and earned fifth overall, retaining the points lead. It will go down as one of the bravest rides of the season.
Meanwhile Villopoto led nearly the entire moto, but late in race Dungey began charging. With four laps to go Dungey caught Villopoto and on a tight left-hander in the wooded section of the track Dungey moved on the inside and took over the lead just as Villopto washed out his front end and went down.
It was clear sailing for Dungey the rest of the way as he rode to his second overall win of the season. Villopoto rallied after the crash to finish second in the moto and second overall. American Honda's Trey Canard made a strong comeback to the outdoor nationals with a smooth 5-3 for third overall in his 450 Motocross debut.
Mike Alessi was fourth overall with a 4-4, followed by Reed (1-14).
The championship completion took a dramatic turn. Reed, who was leading by 16 points coming into Millville, now has only a six-point lead over Villopoto (300-294). With his win Dungey is squarely back in the title chase, just a single point behind Villopoto.
"It feels great to win here in front of all the people I grew up racing with," Dungey said. "It was one of those races where you really had to tough it out. With the heat, the rutted up track and a great battle with Ryan (Villopoto), nothing came easy."
In the 250 ranks it has to be getting a little frustrating for Dean Wilson. He leads the standings, but has yet to earn an overall in 2011. Today looked like his day after leading start to finish in the first moto. But in the second, grinder Tyla Rattray proved that the overall doesn't always go to the swiftest, but often to the fittest. After getting around early leader Kyle Cunningham on the second lap, Rattray pulled away to the moto and overall victory.
"It was a good day for me," Rattray said. "We're getting it down to a 15-16 points and there are a lot of points to be had yet this season. I enjoyed racing in the humidity. It shows who's putting in the work. I will say though, it took it out of me. At the end I was running on empty."
Like Rattray in the 250s, Jessica Patterson took the win in the Women's Motocross race on her DNA Shred Stix/Yamaha by way of a stronger second moto performance. Patterson went 2-1 over Ashley Fiolek who went 1-2. Tarah Gieger went 3-3 for third overall. Fiolek continues to lead the series over Patterson by eight points.
"It was really slick and rocky and a tough track," Patterson said. "The bars yanked my left shoulder out in the first moto. The Asterisk crew taped me up for the second moto and that helped me get through it. I'm really sore. I've got to cut out these crashes."
The series moves to Washougal, Washington next Saturday, July 23.
Millville 450 Results
1. Ryan Dungey, Suzuki (2-1).
2. Ryan Villopoto, Kawaski (3-2).
3. Trey Canard, Honda (5-3).
4. Mike Alessi, KTM (4-4).
5. Chad Reed, Honda (1-14)
6. Brett Metcalfe (6-5).
7. Jake Weimer, Kawasaki (8-6).
8. Andrew Short, KTM (7-9).
9. Justin Brayton, Yamaha (12-7).
10. Kevin Windham (11-10).
1. Chad Reeed, 300.
2. Ryan Villopoto, 294.
3. Ryan Dungey, 293
4. Brett Metcalfe, 209.
5. Kevin Windham, 193.
6. David Millsaps, 173.
7. Andrew Short, 156.
8. Mike Alessi, 151.
9. Jacob Weimer, 140.
10. Christian Craig, 119.
Millville 250 Results
1. Tyla Rattray, Kawasaki (2-1).
2. Dean Wilson, Kawasaki (1-2).
3. Blake Baggett, Kawasaki (3-3).
4. Kyle Cunningham, Honda (4-4).
5. Alex Martin, Honda (7-5).
6. Broc Tickle, Kawasaki (6-9).
7. William Hahn, Honda (9-8).
8. Gareth Swanepoel, Yamaha (5-12).
9. Gannon Audette, Yamaha (15-10).
10. Jason Anderson, Suzuki (14-11).
1. Dean Wilson, 305.
2. Tyla Rattray, 289.
3. Blake Baggett, 284.
4. Kyle Cunningham, 199.
5. Eli Tomac, 190.
6. Broc Tickle, 170.
7. Justin Barcia, 152.
8. Gareth Swanepoel, 145.
9. Martin Davalos, 128.
10. Darryn Durham, 122.
Women's MX Results
1. Jessica Patterson (2-1).
2. Ashley Fiolek (1-2).
3. Tarah Gieger (3-3).
4. Vicki Golden (4-4).
5. Kasie Creson (7-5).
6. Jacqueline Strong (5-7).
7. Marissa Markelon (8-6).
8. Alexah Pearson (10-8).
9. Lindsey Palmer (9-9).
10. Jackie Ives (12-10).
1. Ashley Fiolek, 232.
2. Jessica Patterson, 224.
3. Tarah Gieger, 188.
4. Jacqueline Strong, 138.
5. Vicki Golden, 131.
6. Kasie Creson, 128.
7. Marissa Markelon, 125.
8. Lindsey Palmer, 107.
9. Alexah Pearson, 103.
10. Sayaka Kaneshiro, 98.