by Charles Owens on 04/08/2013
In his second outing in Texas this year, Ryan Villopoto has done it again.
The defending AMA Supercross champion piloted his Monster Energy Kawasaki machine to a first-place finish in front of a packed crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Following the week off for Easter, the series riders in both classes wasted no time getting back into full swing.
Honda’s Trey Canard returned to action with a swiftly executed win in the first 450SX heat, before Villopoto took out the second one, a few seconds in front of Suzuki’s own James Stewart.
Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot via way of a bold move, just in front of Villopoto.
Following a calculated Villopoto pass, Alessi fought off Trey Canard for a lap or so before he was overtaken.
Ryan Dungey locked horns with Stewart and Canard for the second spot half-way through before Dungey got away.
Barely a lap later, Stewart lost his way in a rut and hit the deck.
The fighting and jostling just wasn’t enough for the rest as Villopoto crossed the line first in front of Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM, 2nd) and Trey Canard (Muscle Milk Honda, 3rd).
“You have to look at the big picture – and that’s the championship,” Villopoto told Erin Bates post-race.
“A win is huge on its own and we’ll keep trying to do that through to the end of the season,” he said.
It’s widely known the Texan dirt is hard – if you come off, you’re going to know all about it.
Even in the earlier 250SX events, the tough surface claimed a few victims.
Zack Freeburg took the holeshot by inches, narrowly avoiding the downed rider immediately to his right as he passed through the first bend, only to lose the lead to Blake Wharton at the end of the whoops section.
Wharton then dueled with Marvin Musquin for the top spot with Wil Hahn in the mix as well.
As he worked his way to second, Hahn narrowed the crosshairs on Wharton but couldn’t quite catch him.
In front of his people at home in Texas, Blake Wharton (Rock Star Energy Racing Suzuki) finished first, beating Wil Hahn (GEICO Powersports Honda, 2nd) and Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM, 3rd).
“This is the first win of the season for me,” Wharton said after the action wrapped up.
“It’s a little slower than I’d like to have done it, but it is a win and it’s here in Houston.”
Next week it’s all on at the Metrodome in Minnesota.
Points tables as at Round 13:
By TSM Editor Paul Savage @PaulSavageNZ