In the Lone Star State, they don’t do things by halves. They do things big. The opening race of the East Coast AMA Monster Energy Supercross regional series was no exception to that rule.
The track was hard-surfaced, murderously fast and dangerously slippery. The ruts were deep and the jumps were big.
As commentator and former supercross and motocross champion Ricky Carmichael observed, the track would definitely be “unforgiving”.
“If you come up short or you hit the ground, it is going to hurt!” he warned, pre-race.
Under the roof of the world-renowned Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium, Ryan Villopoto snatched his third win of the 2013 season in what was a relatively uneventful final 450SX race.
Team James Stewart – Dad included – did not start the race as a direct result of a last-minute clutch meltdown at the gate.
A visibly disappointed yet gracious Bubba stressed that the issue was definitely not his mechanic’s fault and was merely a “freak accident”, before assuring his fans he’d be back next week.
Two-Two Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed came to Dallas eager to “exorcise the demons” of last year, when he was involved in a catastrophic, season-ending crash.
The Australian took the holeshot ahead of Villopoto, a lead he only held for a few more meters; Davi Millsaps and Ryan Dungey followed close by.
Four laps in, Millsaps makes his move on the Suzuki to overtake Reed who was cut off and passed by the usually reserved Ryan Dungey several laps later.
Villopoto tore out in front to stretch his lead, firing exhaust fumes in the eyes of Davi Millsaps (Rock Star Energy Racing Suzuki, 2nd) and Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM, 3rd) over the finishing jump.
The Cowboy stadium is a happy hunting ground for Villopoto, who won there last year in the same race which saw Ryan Dungey come in second.
It was “huge” to be “back on top”, Villopoto said post-race.
“Everybody knows the sport’s stressful, [you've] still got to have some fun with it,” he told Erin Bates.
The bulk of the night’s action was witnessed in the 250SX class, with several promising names – some old and some new – joining the starting grid once more.
In what must have been one of the most hard-hitting and spectacular crashes of the season to date, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Zach Bell flew off his bike mid-air, flipped over to one side and landed very awkwardly; an impact which appeared to knocked him unconscious.
Bravely, the 18-year-old managed to walk off the track with the assistance from medical staff and re-join the action in the Main Event later on.
The red flag was flown and the remaining 1.5 laps played out following an AMA-regulated standing start.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson scored first place in the 250SX Main Event, racking up a convincing win ahead of Blake Wharton (GEICO Powersports Honda) and Wil Hahn (GEICO Powersports Honda, 3rd).
The two-stroke section proved a real crowd-pleaser as always when the KTM Minis took to the circuit.
Matthew LeBlanc crossed the line first, to the vocal approval of the star-studded commentary box and the Texan audience.
“A lot of big names have come out of the KTM junior ranks to do big things on the main stage,” commentator and 1990s racing standout Jeff Emig said.
An additional highlight of the evening was Kyle Partridge’s eye-opening wheelie across the whoops section, passing another rider in the process.
When he was quizzed on his Pastrana-esque acrobatics by a clearly impressed Erin Bates on whether or not the move was planned, Partridge was coy in his response.
“I wanna say ‘yeah’, but no,” he admitted.
Next week, it’s destination Atlanta for Round 8 at the Georgia Dome.
By TSM Editor Paul Savage