Villopoto Continues to Dominate with Houston Win
Ryan Villopoto claimed his fourth win of the season and extended his advantage in the championship standings over the weekend in Houston.
Despite some challenges en route to the Main Event that included a hard crash in his Heat Race and a needed win in the Semi, Villopoto put himself up front early after racing to the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award to start the 20-lap 450SX Class Main Event.
The main event proved a rough ride for fellow Oakley teammates Ryan Dungey and James Stewart. Dungey went down and dropped to the back of the field while Stewart, who won the last three races heading into Houston, battled just to put himself in the top five.
Despite Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen’s best efforts Villopoto began to open a gap on the field. Ultimately, he was never challenged out front, posting a wire-to-wire effort for his most dominant performance of the season and his fourth straight win inside NRG Stadium.
“It was awesome tonight considering everything we had to overcome,” said Villopoto. “With the start the way it was, I don’t think I could have asked for anything more and it made my life easy. The track was tough, but our Kawasaki was able to handle everything. That’s not the way I wanted the Heat Race to go, but we were able to bounce back even stronger.”
For their efforts, Barcia finished in second with Roczen rounding out the podium in third. Despite a disappointing fifth place finish for Stewart, who was battling an illness all day, the result enabled him to take over second in the 450SX Class standings. Similarly, title contender, Dungey was able to battled back from his opening lap crash to pass 11 riders and finish seventh.
Villopoto currently holds a 45-point lead in the championship standings over Stewart as the chase continues for a fourth straight title with just three races remaining in the series.
Going into his hometown race next weekend in Seattle, there’s a good chance we’ll see Villopoto keep the momentum alive and lock up the title on Saturday. Needless to say you won’t want to miss the race.