Ryan Villopoto takes home victory in Supercross
Racer from Poulsbo takes 450SX main event, closes in on fourth AMA Supercross championship.
Special to The Seattle Times
Ryan Villopoto felt right at home Saturday night.
Roaring out of the first turn in first place, the Poulsbo product led wire-to-wire and won the AMA Supercross 450SX class main event in front of 53,927 fans at CenturyLink Field.
The win is significant to Villopoto on many levels: It is his fifth this season, the 39th of his 450SX career and, maybe most meaningfully, his second in Seattle.
Villopoto, 25, has won the last three Supercross world championships and is on the verge of a fourth, likely to clinch the crown in two weeks in East Rutherford, N.J., at the 16th stop of the 17-city Supercross tour.
Yet for all his dominance, Villopoto had not won in Seattle since 2009, which was his first 450SX win. He conceded the win in his home territory felt good.
“In the past, I haven’t done that stellar here,” he said. “So to have a race like that is pretty awesome. I’ve never heard the crowd anywhere like that before. It means a lot more to me winning in front of the hometown crowd, especially since I’ve only done it here once before.”
Villopoto, riding a Kawasaki, led by four seconds throughout the first half of the race and finished with a 12.1-second lead over second-place James Stewart.
He was 21.6 seconds ahead of third-place Ryan Dungey, 26.7 seconds in front of Eli Tomac in fourth and almost 36 seconds ahead of Justin Barcia, who won last year’s race in Seattle, finishing 3.9 seconds in front of Villopoto.
Villopoto, who has a 48-point lead over Stewart in the championship points race seems a cinch to win his fourth straight Supercross crown inside the same stadium where the Seahawks won their Super Bowl.
Villopoto now has back-to-back wins on the circuit (he won in Houston last week) and, like Stewart, has five wins this season.
But Stewart has not matched Villopoto’s consistency. In addition to his five wins, Villopoto has placed second four times, third once and fourth another four times.
• Villopoto missed the 2010 race in Seattle because of a broken leg. In 2011, he placed fourth. In 2012, he went down in the first turn, tore an ACL and finished 19th. Last year he finished second.
• Cole Seely of Lake Elsinore, Calif., led all 15 laps in the 250SX class main and rode a Honda to the win, his second victory of the year. He is second in the SX West points race, trailing Jason Anderson (178) by eight. Anderson finished second, 4.6 seconds behind.
Four riders with Washington roots competed in the 250SX field of 22 bikes: Chris Howell of Spokane Valley (finishing 15th), Ross Johnson of Tenino (19th), Collin Junn of Monroe (20th) and Ryder Steffy of Edmonds (21st). Justin Hill of Yoncalla, Ore., finished third.