Last Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona, the second round of 2012 Monster Energy Supercross invaded Chase Field. Round one winner Ryan Villopoto came into the weekend brimming with confidence and carried that into qualifying, as he came away with the fastest 450 lap time. But when it came time for racing, luck was not on the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s side. Crashes in both his heat and the main event made for a trying evening.
Instead, the good luck rested well within the orange camp, as Red Bull/KTM’s Ryan Dungey captured his first win of the season. The victory also marks the Austrian manufacturer’s first ever win in the premier class. And the good fortune did not stop there.
In Supercross Lites, while reigning 250 Class AMA Pro Motocross Champion, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson, stomped off with his first win of the year, Dungey’s teammate, Marvin Musquin, came away with a second place finish. His best ever in his ‘young’ AMA Supercross career (although a two time World MX Champion). Wilson’s teammate, Tyla Rattray, had another impressive outing in Phoenix and finished with his second podium in two weeks with a third place finish. Add in the rest of the top three finishers of the Supercross Class, with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Villopoto, and the entire podium was awash in orange and green.
But Villopoto’s result did not come easy. The defending champ got tangled up on the first lap in the treacherous sand section, and fell to dead last before the first lap was completed. But he got right back up and went on a tear, blazing the fastest lap time of the race along the way.
At the same time, JGR/Toyota/Yamaha’s James Stewart and TwoTwo Motorsports/Honda’s Chad Reed were also caught in the middle of the pack. While Stewart took his usual aggressive approach, it also came back to bite him when he scrubbed the wall within the sand section and got a little too close to Supercross.com / Honda’s Andrew Short. The resulting crash left Stewart battling for a top ten ride, eventually finishing eighth, while Reed took home fifth.
The most improved riders in Arizona were Jake Weimer and Kevin Windham. Weimer took home his first ever Supercross Class podium while Windham rode a very solid main event and almost had the final podium position before Villopoto came barreling through on the last lap. It was still an impressive ride for the veteran GEICO/Honda rider.
As the series head into round three at the L.A. Dodgers Stadium, there will be a few things to look for. Last year’s event was the first time that AMA Supercross took place this historic Southern California venue, home of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, Supercross racing in L.A. goes all the way back to the origins of the sport itself when the race used to take place on the other side of town at the L.A. Coliseum. 2011 at Dodger Stadium produced one of the best races of the year. Multiple passes up front and at least three different race leaders at one point or another had the crowd on its feet all night long. Villopoto came away with the win last year, and similar to last year, a number of different riders could win on any given weekend in 2012. Look for Dungey to be carrying the momentum from his Phoenix win, Villopoto trying to show he’s defending champion, along with Reed and Stewart to be scratching for their first wins of the season.
Last year’s L.A. round was also the site of Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda’s Cole Seely’s first ever Supercross Lites win. After his disappointing but strong fifth place finish last weekend, Seely will be looking to regain top honors, while Rattray will be using the points leader’s red number plate for the first time indoors.
As for the track, the layout is going to offer up some great racing. There are numerous rhythm sections that, from a design perspective, look like they will offer multiple line choices. Some of the more unique features of the track are the over/under bridge, what seems to be a very long sand section, and possibly the absence of a real whoop section, which is a very rare thing in Supercross racing (but check photo of track below for yourself to determine if that is a whoop section or not). Earlier this week in his blog, King’s Korner, Jeremy McGrath suggested that a layout cannot truly be considered a Supercross track without a proper whoop section. The lacking feature could contribute to much faster racing than we have seen so far this season.
Monster Energy Supercross Notes – Los Angeles, Dodger stadium, courtesy Feld Motor Sports
- This is the second time the gate will drop in Dodger Stadium for a Monster Energy Supercross race
- The first race was on held January 22, 2011, and Ryan Villopoto won on a Kawasaki
- In 2011, Dodger Stadium became the 40th venue to host a Monster Energy Supercross race
- The last new venue was Jacksonville, Fla., in 2009
- This will be the 127th time the gate will drop in the state of California for a Monster Energy Supercross race
- James Stewart is currently on his longest podium drought of his career at four races
- Supercross Class Laps Led: Ryan Villopoto 20, Ryan Dungey 20
- Supercross Lites Class Laps Led: Dean Wilson 15, Cole Seely 12, Tyla Rattray 3
- CBS will broadcast the Supercross class race at 12:00pm EST on Sunday January 22, 2012.
Dodger Stadium is home to the historic Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball Team
The track being made on Thursday afternoon – do you see a whoop section or not?