News 20 Mar 2010

AMA SX: Dungey continues to lead series into Texas

The 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, makes its first visit to the great state of Texas this weekend and a return to historic Dallas and the inaugural visit to the brand new, state-of-the-art Cowboys Stadium located in Arlington.

Monster Energy Supercross’ last visit to Dallas was in 2008 and if history is any indication, Saturday night will surely be memorable in what has already been an incredible season. Cowboys Stadium is the newest and largest venue on the supercross schedule and serves as the perfect location to showcase the series in the midst of a heated championship battle.

The weekend was bittersweet for the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team as both of its full-time riders scored runner-up finishes in the AMA Supercross and AMA Supercross Lites classes, respectively. While their efforts were strong, both premier class championship leader Ryan Dungey and current Eastern Regional Championship second place holder Austin Stroupe wanted to win in front of the Toronto fans.

“I always want to get the win,” said Dungey. “But we have a great team and will just keep working hard and trying to improve. We are going to be strong in Texas and hope to get back on the top spot (this weekend).”

“I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get the win in Toronto,” said Stroupe. “But I rode well and it was nice to close in on the points lead. I’m still looking for wins though, not seconds.”

Dungey’s three wins still have him with a strong advantage heading into this weekend’s race and he will be looking to bring Ryan Villopoto’s momentum to a halt to regain control of the championship. For Stroupe, his runner-up streak now sits at four races and he sits just seven points out of the lead. If he continues to ride as consistently as he has been, it will only be a matter of time before he stands atop the podium.

Fresh off his fifth win of the season last weekend in Toronto for Monster Energy Kawasaki, Villopoto continues to win in the AMA Supercross class as he looks to claim his first premier class title. Last week, Villopoto led 19 of the 20 laps in the main event to close within 17 points of Dungey.

“I just need to keep winning,” said Villopoto. “If I can stay on top of the box, I can win the championship. With every win I gain at least three points, but if someone makes a mistake it could be more. I don’t know what to expect at Dallas, it is a new stadium and all I know is there is a big screen there.”

In the AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Regional Championship, current points leader Christophe Pourcel was forced to watch his winning-streak snapped last weekend. However, the Frenchman still has a strong grasp on the points lead and is halfway to claiming his second straight Eastern Regional title.

“It is going to be a long fight,” said Pourcel. “It was a tough weekend in Toronto, but I still finished third and I still have the points lead. I’m just going to keep working hard and try to get back on top.”

For rookie Dean Wilson, the trip to Toronto was bittersweet as he finished just one spot off of the podium in his adopted country. After week of media opportunities, the 18-year-old really wanted to be on the box.

“Finishing fourth isn’t bad,” said Wilson. “But I know I can do better. Canada is a great place and the fans were behind me all night. It was a great experience and hopefully I can win there someday.”

Despite rumors of his return, Chad Reed will once again miss the action this weekend as he continues to recover from his early-season injury. AMA Supercross Lites rider Tyla Rattray will also sit out as a result of injury.

Over at the Honda Red Bull Racing stable, Trey Canard continued to demonstrate his depth of talent since stepping up mid-season to fill in for injured Andrew Short aboard the CRF450R. Canard has racked up three consecutive podium finishes in just four outings and last weekend in Toronto added a Supercross-class holeshot win to his growing list of accomplishments.

“The past few weeks have been a real whirlwind; all the traveling, testing and getting used to the bigger bike,” said Canard. “But I feel really good about the way things have gone and I’m proud of how I’ve raced. This weekend’s race in Texas should be a lot of fun, especially getting to race in the new Cowboys Stadium for the first time. I’ve seen pictures of the new stadium and it looks awesome so I’m really looking forward to racing there.”

Teammate Davi Millsaps crashed out in Toronto while chasing Canard down for the third spot. Aboard his CRF450R, Millsaps rallied hard and made up a lot of ground after getting a mid-pack start and was well in the hunt for the podium spot when he crashed. While sore, he is still eager to compete this weekend.

“No one wants to crash out of a race but if you do, then you want to do it knowing you were laying everything on the line and going for it—that’s what I did,” said Millsaps. “I know I am fast on the track but I haven’t been getting good starts, which means I have to come from a long way back, increasing my chances of something going wrong. We are just past the halfway point in the series and I’m fourth in the championship points. With seven rounds to go I’m still well in the running to be on the championship podium.”

GEICO Powersports Honda’s veteran racer Kevin Windham continues to prove that age is no barrier when it comes to mixing it up with much younger competitors in the AMA Supercross class. While his speed may not be where it once was, his vast amount of experience gives him a leg up on the competition and has allowed him to be in the thick of the podium fight each week.

“I like that I’m still seen as being a threat in the supercross class at 32 years of age,” said Windham. “I’ve finished on three podiums this year, scored a few top-five finishes that I’m really happy about but I’m definitely hungry to get a win under my belt this year. I’ve been riding the Honda CRF450R for many years now and I believe that’s a real advantage. We’ve hardly changed anything going from race to race this year, which is a real testament to the machine and the GEICO Powersports Honda team.”

GEICO Powersports Honda’s Justin Barcia had the most memorable weekend of his young career last weekend in Toronto, claiming his first AMA Supercross Lites victory in his rookie season after grabbing the holeshot and leading all 15 laps of the main event.

“When I got the holeshot in the main I knew that the race was mine to lose,” said Barcia. “I knew I had the speed to win—I have all season—I just needed to ride a smart race and keep a level head throughout, and that’s what I did. Winning my first pro race is something I will never forget but I can’t spend too much time reveling in it. I now need to turn my focus towards this week’s race in Texas and make sure I give myself that same great start in the main.”