by Charles Owens on 03/18/2013
Ryan Villopoto tightened his grip on the points table on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana, snatching another Main Event win.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s trademark consistency shone through on the slippery, tight-knit course in front of a capacity Midwest crowd.
The Indianapolis fans performed a stadium-wide salute to United States military personnel in Afghanistan via the live ESPN video link, much to the appreciation of the ecstatic troops before the action got underway.
Davi Millsaps – no doubt eager to take back the points lead – tore out in front in the holeshot and slipped momentarily on the first bend allowing James Stewart to sneak past.
Seconds later, Muscle Milk Honda team-mates Justin Barcia and Trey Canard hit a jump in unison before making contact mid-air, which caused Canard to go down heavily.
No stranger to hard hits and known for his friendly yet gutsy demeanor, Canard managed to walk off the course looking shaken but not stirred.
Stewart was flying out in front until lap seven, right before he took the hairpin bend a little too tightly, costing him several places as a result while he struggled to kick-start the Yoshimura Suzuki machine back into life.
Ryan Villopoto sneaked into the lead for a time before Ryan Dungey crept up and made his move to the front.
Still feeling a tweaked knee, Millsaps followed right behind in fourth as the Main Event drew to a close.
Villopoto took the win ahead of Ryan Dungey (2nd, Red Bull KTM) and James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, 3rd).
A visibly tired Villopoto admitted post-race the surface dirt was “a bit sketchy” at times.
“We’ve been pushing hard, got to keep the train going,” he said.
In the KTM Mini League – always a crowd-pleaser – the two-stroke engines screamed and the young competitors flew.
Liam Everts, the son of former motocross champion Stefan Everts, caught the attention of Jeff, Ralph and the commentary team as he raced to finish second to Jordan Biese, the evening champion of the Minis.
Blake Wharton tore off to what could only be described as a wild start to the 250 Main Event race, almost losing it before the lap was half done.
After involving himself in a disagreement with a tuff block early on, Wil Hahn was holding on for dear life and his points total.
Daytona winner Marvin Musquin did battle with Vince Friese before shooting over the spine jump, clearing the sand trap and overtaking Friese in the process.
Musquin (Red Bull KTM) boosted away to take first place, performing a heel-clicker maneuver over the finish line; he beat Kyle Peters (Star Valli Yamaha, 2nd) and Wil Hahn (GEICO Powersports Honda, 3rd).
Dean Wilson took a brutal fall early on in the event, breaking his rib, back and shoulder in the process before Blake Wharton lost control and crashed on his final lap, costing him the race victory.
A thrilled yet modest Marvin Musquin acknowledged Wharton’s commendable effort after the race.
Points table standings:
The action kicks off north of the border next Saturday in Toronto, Canada.
By TSM Editor, Paul Savage @PaulSavageNZ