21 April 2010
Dungey triumphs as Villopoto drops down...
The fraught and frenetic season-long duel for AMA Supercross honours between Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto looks to have reached a somewhat abrupt climax - after the Monster Energy Kawasaki ace put himself out of action with injury at St Louis
In a frantic St Louis Supercross – part of an epic 2010 campaign – Ryan Dungey finally put a hammerlock on the crown after series rival Ryan Villopoto crashed heavily whilst battling for the lead, suffering what is currently rumoured to be a broken leg and ending his title hopes. Although this season has been so crazy, nothing is guaranteed…
After both Ryans struggled in their heats, losing out to Chad Reed and Justin Brayton respectively, it was Nick Wey who holeshot the main to lead early doors from Dungey, Andrew Short and Davi Millsaps, with Villopoto charging his way through just behind. Dungey took a lap to get by Wey for the lead whilst 'Poto blitzed the Hondas of Short and Millsaps before relieving Wey of second place to put the two leading protagonists right at the sharp end of the pack.
For almost half the race they ran nose-to-tail, barely a second apart as neither could make the decisive breakthrough, but as they edged into the second half, Dungey got held up in lapped traffic and Villopoto went straight for the killer block pass. It worked, kind of – both riders went down but it was Villopoto's that was shiny side up first as they remounted, Dungey dropping back to third with Short briefly into second.
However, Dungey at this point was not short of motivation, so to speak, and very quickly blasted his Makita Suzuki back into second and a frenzied pursuit of Villopoto. Once more, they were about a second apart and neither was giving any quarter in this latest chapter of the championship tussle.
And then, in one moment, the title duel took a decisive swing – pushing absolutely flat-out, Villopoto lost drive tripling out of a rhythm section, the front wheel dropping mid-air and 'Poto bailing out mid-flight, clearing the triple sans bike but remaining horribly still once his crumbled body stopped rolling. The Asterisk medics were soon on the scene, quickly loading him onto a mule for the trip to hospital.
Dungey charged on by for a well-deserved victory to pretty much seal his first AMA Supercross championship. The ageless Kevin Windham pushed right to the very end to make his way into second and pressure Dungey to the flag ahead of Andrew Short in third, but that's more-or-less it for the title hunt, unless the fates have something equally tragic in-store for Dungey.
Report by Paul Harris
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