The Lucas Oil Motocross Championship ventured to the most beautiful landscape in motocross for round number eight of the 450 AMA Motocross Championship. Washougal, Washington is home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the country, and on Saturday, the small Pacific Northwest community played host to world class motocross and the Washougal National. The small town of Washougal, for one week a year, is all about motocross, and with a local Washingtonian in the mix for the 2011 Championship, it was obvious who they were all rooting for. Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto may originally be from three hours north in Poulsbo, Washington, but on this day, it looked like he was born and raised down the street. The Villopoto hats, signs and T-shirts were out in force, but would it be enough to motivate him to his first-ever Washougal overall win, or would points leader Chad Reed or last year’s Washougal National winner Ryan Dungey spoil RV’s homecoming?
When the gate dropped for moto one, it quickly began to look like the Washougal faithful were going to get exactly what they came to see. The number two got an incredible jump from the middle gate and ripped a huge holeshot on the field. Villopoto was followed through turn one by Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey and American Honda’s Trey Canard, but in the early part of moto one, there was no matching Villopoto’s speed. Villopoto quickly went to work clicking off laps at a pace nobody could touch and built himself a comfortable gap in the process. By lap five, Dungey looked to find his groove and began matching Villopoto. In doing so, he opened up a sizable gap on Canard who, by this time, was all alone in third.
By the halfway point of the moto, Dungey went from finding his groove to finding the rear tire of Villopoto. Dungey was reeling him in a second here and a second there, and with time winding down, the race was on. Dungey stalked the number two for a few laps before finally making his move in the famous Washougal whoop section before the finish line. Dungey looked to have the pass made, but Villopoto closed the door in the next corner and, in doing so, left Dungey with nowhere to go. Dungey ended up going down, and Villopoto went on to the moto one win. With a huge gap back to Canard in third, Dungey was able to easily cross the line in second. Canard rode a pretty lonely race in third with Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe crossing the line fourth and Factory KTM’s Andrew Short in fifth.
Where was the Championship points-leader Two-Two Motosports/Honda’s Chad Reed in moto one? Chad got a horrible start outside the top ten and seemed to have more trouble than usual coming through the pack. After starting fourteenth, it took the Australian six laps to get to ninth, and by the end of the race, the best he could salvage was a seventh. Most of the speculation was that he was feeling the effects from his huge get-off in Millville as would be easy for anyone to understand. Reedy is a motocross soldier, and it looked like he was letting this battle get away in favor of the overall war. By no means did Reedy look slow, but he looked to lack the aggression needed to come from behind.
With Reedy’s seventh in moto one and Villopoto’s win, there was a new points leader when the gate dropped for moto two–and he wanted more. Our new points leader, Ryan Villopoto, once again led everyone through the first two turns and up Horsepower Hill. On lap two, though, he would come around to see a red flag. In only his second race back from injury, Honda’s Trey Canard was unfortunately the reason. While running near the front again, Trey over-scrubbed the uphill step up on Horsepower Hill and couldn’t bring the rear end of the big Honda 450 back around. The result was a nasty, high-speed cartwheel from the number forty-one. Trey, obviously in a lot of pain, was put on a backboard and taken off the track by the medic mule. Early reports were a possible broken femur, but nothing is confirmed. Trey is a guy that you just can’t help but love, and we hope he’s healthy again soon.
With the race red-flagged, the gate was re-racked for a restart. For the first time in three starts, Villopoto was not the leader through turn one. This time it was the number one of Ryan Dungey with Villopoto following as the hunter rather than the hunted. Behind the number one and two early on was Chad Reed with a much better start. Reedy looked much better in moto two, but not good enough to stay with the two Ryans. While the Ryan’s checked out up front, Reed was being hunted by his fellow Australian countryman Brett Metcalfe. Brett has struggled to find the pace of the top three, but he seemed to smell blood in the water–and he went after Reed. Metty made quick work of Reed, but by the time he was up to third, the Ryans were gone.
For the first half of moto two, the gap stayed near three seconds between Dungey in the lead and Villopoto in second, but at about the twenty-minute mark, it appeared that Villopoto went from believing he could win to settling for second. From then on, it was all Dungey. He would go on to the moto two win and his fourth-straight overall win in Washougal. Villopoto would once again leave his home track without the overall win, but with a 1-2, he would get second overall and–more importantly–leave with the points lead and the red plate. Behind the two Ryans, Brett Metcalfe crossed the line third. With a 4-3 on the day Metcalfe scored his first podium for the 2011 Outdoor Nationals.
With the better start in moto two, Reed was able to hold on for a fourth, and with a 7-4, leave Washougal with a forth overall on the day. Finishing fifth overall on the day with a 6-5 score was Joe Gibbs Racing/Yamaha’s Justin Brayton. Justin has been steadily getting better since coming back from a couple of injuries early in the year and looked better than we’ve seen all year at Washougal. He was fast and aggressive in both motos and showed his fitness is on point now. We’ll hope it’s just a sign of more to come from Brayton.
At the end of the day, Reedy–with his 7-4 score–slipped from first to third in the points, but with only nine points between himself and RV2 in first, it’s still anyone’s Championship. With two weeks to get over whatever may be bothering him, he should be back and ready for the four-race fight for the title. No matter who your favorite is in this Championship, you gotta be a fan of how this is unfolding for the home stretch. Just like we like it, this title looks like it will be decided in the final moto of the final round.
450 Overall Results – Washougal National
1 1 Ryan Dungey Waconia, MN, US Suzuki RMZ 450 2 1
2 2 Ryan Villopoto Poulsbo, WA, US Kawasaki KX450F 1 2
3 24 Brett Metcalfe Australia, AU Suzuki RMZ 450 4 3
4 22 Chad Reed Australia, AU Honda CRF450R 7 4
5 10 Justin Brayton Fort Dodge, IA, US Yamaha YZ 450F 6 5
6 800 Mike Alessi Hilliard, FL, US KTM 450 SX-F 9 6
7 12 Tommy Hahn Great Bend, KS, US Yamaha YZ 450F 8 7
8 29 Andrew Short Colorado Springs, CO, US KTM 350 SX-F 5 10
9 108 Jimmy Albertson San Diego, CA, US Yamaha YZ 450F 11 9
10 26 Michael Byrne Australia, AU Suzuki RMZ450 10 12
1 2 Ryan Villopoto 341
2 1 Ryan Dungey 340
3 22 Chad Reed 332
4 24 Brett Metcalfe 247
5 14 Kevin Windham 193
6 29 Andrew Short 183
7 800 Mike Alessi 178
8 18 David Millsaps 173
9 32 Jacob Weimer 159
10 12 Tommy Hahn 140