SOUTHWICK, Mass. – After more than three decades of hosting the world’s fastest riders, New England’s legendary Moto-X 338 facility hosted its final round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, on Saturday.
A massive crowd was on hand as the 2013 season reached the halfway point with the sixth round of the championship at the 35th Annual ChaplinKawasaki.com Moto-X 338 National.
After a pair of grueling 450 Class motos on one of the world’s most demanding circuits, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey secured his second straight overall victory following 1-2 moto results, gaining valuable ground in the championship standings. In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac put forth one of his best outings of the season across each moto to also carry 1-2 moto finishes to his second overall win of the season.
As the field of 40 riders converged on the first corner in the opening 450 Class moto, it was Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart who claimed the Motorcycle Superstore Holeshot Award and quickly established a comfortable margin out front.
Behind him, both Dungey and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, the championship leader, were causalities in an incident in the first corner. Dungey emerged mid pack and climbed to 10th by the end of the opening lap, while Villopoto had to overcome an additional incident on lap one to eventually cross the line in 30th.
Stewart continued to extend his advantage over BTO Sports KTM’s Andrew Short in second, but suffered a frightening crash on lap nine that would ultimately take him out of action for the remainder of the moto. Short assumed the lead, but Dungey was on a charge through the field and made the winning pass on Short on Lap 15, just before the two-lap board.
Dungey fended off a late charge from Short to take the opening win, with Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia in third. Villopoto battled his way back from adversity as well, passing 26 riders en route to salvaging at fourth-place result.
Both Dungey and Villopoto avoided misfortune out of the gate in the final moto to position themselves in first and second, respectively, with Dungey securing the Motorcycle Superstore Holeshot Award. It wasn’t long before Villopoto positioned himself in front of Dungey for the lead, with the pair pulling Barcia into a three-rider breakaway.
Villopoto maintained a gap of just over a second on Dungey throughout the first half of the moto, but eventually began to extend his lead as the pair encountered lapped riders.
Dungey’s charges to close the gap on Villopoto helped him gain a comfortable margin on Barcia in third and secured a runner-up finish in the moto that guaranteed the overall win. Villopoto’s 4-1 performance landed him second overall, while Barcia rounded out the podium in third (3-3).
“It’s pretty cool to be the final winner here at Southwick,” said Dungey. “I grew up watching this place on TV and now I’m racing here. To be able to share this with the fans is awesome. The day was awesome. We made some progress and [took] some little steps forward [in the championship]. We could have done a few things better, but Ryan was riding awesome in that second moto. We have to take things from where they’re at and I’m pumped to get the win.”