Tomac and Bowers take 250 Wins - Hahn and Roczen take Titles
There’s no SX event like Vegas. The final stop of the Monster Energy Supercross Series is always the odds on favorite for great weather, great fans and intense racing. This year, the ninety-degree event was blessed with cloud-flecked skies and strong breezes.
Sam Boyd Stadium’s infamous hard packed track was well seeded with calcium chloride to preserve what little moisture was added to it by Dirt Wurx technicians. Something was missing in the stadium this year though - the trees. Race courses here actually go outside of the stadium. Our best guess is that a previous (and nasty) Monster Truck race incident took out one of the fifty year old trees lining the course. Stadium management (or their lawyers) apparently decided racing was important enough to cut ‘em all down! Not too many tree huggers in motor racin’?
The day began with an unusual and surprising head scratcher of a sermon at the Rider’s Chapel. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but that’s hard to do when your dirty laundry is broadcast over the Stadium PA. One thing's for sure - the Mini Moto contestants were sure to have new and exciting questions for their parents.
A lot riding on Vegas
Ryan Villopoto locking up the 450 class championship last week might have been an excuse to skip the Vegas Supercross final. A sell out crowd of 40,000 SX fans knew that’d be a mistake. East and West Coast 250 championships were both up for grabs and four riders were “all in”. A mere five points separated 1st and 2nd in both 250 series, while a lot of 450 riders were jockeying for a podium finish to make their final SX impression on next year’s sponsors. (Yes – there’s more to racing than just racing)
250 East Championship.
With no heat races for the 250s at this event, a coin toss determined the 250 East Main Event would be the night’s first race.
Trailing Will Hahn by five points coming into the series, KTM’s Marvin Musquin rode his heart out trying to reel in fast qualifier and surprise first time winner Tyler Bowers and his Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Bowers quickly took the lead and set out for his first ever SX event win. After getting past Hahn with four laps to go, Musquin needed to win but came up 3 points and two bike lengths short of Bowers at the finish, handing Hahn and the Geico Honda team a well deserved 250 East Championship.
250 West Championship
After their devastating double debacle in Salt Lake, it was a long, reflective week for 250 West gladiators Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac. Both managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory in Utah when Roczen failed to make the main - scoring no points - while Tomac could only manage a fifth place finish.
The “do or die” stage was set for both riders when Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos shot past them and into the lead and led 11 laps. Tomac finally blazed through the field from his seventh place start to do all he could do…win. To steal the crown though, Tomac needed Roczen to finish third or worse. The desperate Roczen was in third until he pulled out the stops and forced his way past Davalos on the last lap to grab second place and his first Supercross Championship.
250 East/West Shootout
A signature Vegas event since 1997, the Davey Coombs Sr. East/West shootout race allows the top ten from each series to decide who gets bragging rights for best 250 SX rider. Roczen, the 2011 FIM MX2 World Champion, proved he’s the top dog with his convincing ten lap win over Metal Mulisha Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham and Frenchman Musquin on the KTM.
450 Main Event
450 series bridesmaids Dungey and Millsaps came to Vegas with personal and financial incentives to leave town with a #2 overall series finish. Millsap’s three point lead meant he could finish just behind Dungey to lock in 2nd overall. Millsaps will forego the MX series this year so a Vegas win could have enhanced his 2014 endorsement opportunities. Unfortunately for Davi and the rest of the field, Villopoto doesn’t cruise, even with a championship already in the bag. RV wanted 10 main event wins in the 2013 record book.
After banging bars and wheels with teammate and early leader Jake Weimer, RV used tuff blocks for berm toys and took control of the race, beating Dungey by 2.8 seconds, and Millsaps by over half a minute - which was still enough to hold Dungey to third in the series.
Supercross 2013 was a great series. Even with five different winners before the halfway point, Bikeland boldly predicted the crown would go to one of the Ryans.
So twenty four year old Ryan Villopoto will be waxing the Monster Energy SX championship trophy for another year. Villo looks ready to continue going nose to nose with 2012 MX Champ Ryan Dungey when the 12 race Motocross series kicks off at Hangtown California in two weeks. Even with James Stewart back in the fray, Bikeland thinks it will be the Ryan and Ryan show.
Villopoto makes it look easy
Each of the following photos was taken on a different lap as Ryan Villopoto lengthened the front straight by late braking into the corner at the end of the straight. At the end of the sequence, see what happens when #75 Josh Hill attempts the same maneuver.
Track lengthening, Josh Hill style
Photographic evidence of what happens in Vegas