Last Saturday, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto clinched the AMA Supercross title with four rounds still left in the competition. When Villopoto left Toronto the previous weekend, his devastating points lead over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey set him up to finish things off early and pick up his second Supercross title in Houston, Texas. RV2’s flawless performance at the Reliant Stadium earned him those 21 points he needed to claim the 2012 title.
Along with Villopoto’s 2012 title comes two other noteworthy honors: he is now the first person to win back-to-back titles since Ricky Carmichael (2005-2006); and secondly, he captured the championship title earlier than any other rider has managed to since the first AMA Supercross Championship 38 years ago.
Villopoto’s final points-count tallied up at 296 - over a hundred points ahead of second place holder Dungey at 192. By nailing down the title this weekend in Houston’s domed stadium, RV2 saved himself the trouble of having to try to pull it off in any of the outdoor stadiums where the final rounds will be held.
There’s not too much to say about Villopoto’s killer performance on Saturday. He pulled ahead right away in both Heat 1 and the Main Event, maintaining his lead throughout while the rest of the pack trailed seconds behind. No other rider was able to carve out lines through the track as masterfully as Villopoto. Whether it was a rhythm section or corner, there was never a moment of hesitation. But enough about Villopoto (we’ll be hearing plenty more about him for some time yet).
The evening’s first heat was relatively clean, with Villopoto and Justin Bratyon (Team Honda Muscle Milk) locking into first and second respectively. Behind them Nico Izzi (Star Valli Yamaha) and Broc Tickle (Monster Energy Kawasaki) played cat-and-mouse throughout the 8 laps, with Tickle asserting himself in the end to take up third.
The second heat was a whole other animal. Up until the last lap, Kevin Windham (Honda) and James Stewart (Toyota Yamaha) dogged each other with very little room to spare. Cutting in close to each other on the corners, Stewart actually stuffed Windham up to the top on lap 5.
Then in the final lap, Windham, right on Stewart’s tail, lost his footing while sailing over a triple and ate it over the bars, preventing him from heading on to the main event. Stewart cruised on to take first in the heat, followed by Jake Weimer (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Davi Millsaps (Yamaha).
With Villopoto out in the lead, it came down to Stewart to keep the championship alive. Dungey’s absence due to a broken collar bone suffered in training, put the pressure on Stewart to keep the points gap closed. However, things weren’t looking so good from the start. Stewart got caught up in the pack, hovering around twelfth, but eventually worked his way up to tenth after he bumped out former teammate Kyle Regal (Kawasaki). But karma struck back quick, taking Stewart out as he overshot on the rhythm section.
With Stewart out, Villopoto floated his way through the remaining laps, already celebrating during his final lap towards his championship win. Following Villopoto was Stewart’s teammate, Davi Millsaps in second, and Jake Weimer in third.
As the AMA Supercross heads into Easter break, we see Millsaps move up to just one point behind Ryan Dungey for second place. Things will pick back up in New Orleans on Saturday, April 14th.
2012 AMA Supercross FIM Championship Points:
- Ryan Villopoto 296
- Ryan Dungey 192
- Davi Millsaps 191
- Justin Brayton 181
- James Stewart 178
- Jake Weimer 170
- Kevin Windham 166
- Brett Metcalfe 154
- Mike Alessi 154
- Chad Reed 128
- Broc Tickle 122
- Kyle Chisholm 116
- Josh Hansen 89
- Nick Wey 76
- Bobby Kiniry 67
- Marvin Musquin 59
- Andrew Short 52
- Matt Goerke 58
- Weston Peick 51
- Cole Seely 37