His teammate Jake Weimer rode strong all night to round out the podium in third place. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle battled to finish 11th. In the first round of the AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Darryn Durham nailed the holeshot aboard his 2012 KX™250F and went on to secure the runner-up spot and earn first career supercross podium. His teammate Blake Baggett also got a great jump off the gate, but went down in the first rhythm section, lost a lap early and finished in 15th place.
Villopoto knows it’s much easier to win with a clear track in front him so for the last few weeks he has been focusing on improving his starts. When the gate dropped for the main, Villopoto got a great start and came around the first turn in second, but quickly took over the lead in the rhythm section that followed. He continued to pull a gap on the field aboard his KX™450F and by mid-race was untouchable. Villopoto took the checkers to earn his fourth win of the season and stretch his points lead to 13.
“The night went pretty good for me,” said Villopoto. “In the main I got a great start and was able to take over the lead on the first lap. For the first eight laps I could hear Chad (Reed) behind me and saw his fender a few times. I just kept pushing and trying to stay a step ahead of him. Once he went down I just focused on riding smooth and connecting my lines. The track really broke down as the night went on so you had slow down a little and try to ride smart and safe.”
In his debut with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, Durham’s confidence was at an all-time high. Although Durham nailed the holeshot, he immediately had competitors fighting to steal the lead. He went bar-to-bar for the first lap and was able maintain position. Durham held onto the lead until the ninth lap, but a few small mistakes dropped him to second, where he would finish.
“Tonight felt amazing,” said Durham. “That was my first supercross podium ever. Being a part of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki is awesome. I couldn’t have done it without the team, they all have been working hard to get me to this level. I’m pretty stoked on my new Kawasaki, I ripped the holeshot and felt solid on it all night. I have a lot of confidence in the bike and my ability so when I was sitting on the line and I really felt confident I was going to take the holeshot. I am going to work on getting faster in the whoops and try to take it home next week at the Georgia Dome. Overall, I couldn’t be happier.”
In the heat race, Weimer got a great start aboard his KX450F and finished second behind teammate Villopoto. When the gate dropped for the main event, Weimer got another great start and pulled into third. After Reed went down, he inherited second which he held until the last lap. While battling to defend his position on the last lap, Weimer got tangled with another racer and held on for third. Weimer currently sits fifth in the points standings.
“Overall a podium is awesome,” said Weimer. “It’s nice to get back on the box. After getting blocked passed the last few rounds I came here ready to stand my ground. I felt like I did a good job of holding off (Ryan) Dungey, although ultimately I lost the fight, it was because I was stuck in second gear the last lap of the race after contact broke off my shifter level. I did my best to put up a good fight so I felt good about that. I really felt like I should have got second, but that’s how racing goes. It was a great night overall for the team, everything was positive.”
Weimer’s mechanic Dana Wiggins also earned the MMI Top Technician award for Weimer’s strong achievement.
While Tickle is still working to find his groove in the supercross class, he has been showing signs of improvement every week. This week proved his best heat race performance to date, where he took the holeshot and finished third behind fellow Kawasaki riders Villopoto and Weimer. In the main event, Tickle got a good start but a couple mistakes dropped him to the back of the pack and left him fighting for position. Tickle worked his way back into 11th before the finish, leaving him 14th in the points.
“The heat race went great’” said Tickle. “That was the best I’ve felt all season. I worked with Kyle Lewis this week on improving my starts and it really paid off in the heat race. I am slowly getting better, but I am getting tired of coming home frustrated. I just have to keep pushing forward because it’s the only way to succeed. I know all my hard work will eventually pay off.”
Baggett came to Dallas with high expectations. Two years ago he took his first professional win at Cowboys Stadium and is always a fan favorite in Dallas. In the heat race, he got a good start and finished second. In the main event, Baggett got another great start and rounded the first turn in second, just outside teammate Durham. But as they entered the rhythm section that followed, Baggett made a mistake and ran into a tough block, putting him on the ground. When he picked the bike back up he was at the back of the field, but worked his way into 15th place before the finish.
“This isn’t how I wanted to start the season,” said Baggett. “I came to Dallas with high hopes so I’m pretty disappointed with my performance. I got a good start in the main and came around the first turn behind Darryn (Durham), but went down in a rhythm section and that was it. I tried to fight my way back but I lost a lap and just couldn’t push it on that track. I will definitely be working hard to get on the podium at the Georgia Dome.”
In the first supercross heat race of the night, Kawasaki KX450F riders set the tone for the evening sweeping the top three spots. While Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tickle ripped the holeshot, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto moved out front to take the win with teammate Weimer in second and Tickle rounding out the top three finishers.
Next weekend the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., for Round 8 of the series. The event will mark the second round of the supercross lites eastern region.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series – Round 7
Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas
February 18, 2012
Supercross Class Results
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POULSBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Paine, Minn., KTM
3. JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
4. Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Fla., Suzuki
5. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., DODGE/HART & HUNTINGTON KAWASAKI
7. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
8. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
9. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
10. KYLE CHISHOLM, VALRICO, FLA., JWR KAWASAKI
11. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
12. NICHOLAS WEY, MURRIETA, CALIF., KAWASAKI
13. KYLE PARTRIDGE, LAS VEGAS, NEV., DODGE/HART & HUNTINGTON KAWASAKI
14. Robert Kiniry, Holland Patent, N.Y., Yamaha
15. David Milsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
Supercross Class Points Standings
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POULSBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 158
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 145
3. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda, 128
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 116
5. JAKE WEIMER, RUPERT, IDAHO, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 92
6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 92
7. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 88
8. Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Fla., Suzuki, 81
9. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 80
10. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., DODGE/HART & HUNTINGTON KAWASAKI, 80
11. David Milsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 76
12. KYLE CHISHOLM, VALRICO, FLA., JWR KAWASAKI, 67
13. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 59
14. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 54
15. NICHOLAS WEY, MURRIETA, CALIF., KAWASAKI, 44
Supercross Lites Eastern Region Results
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
2. DARRYN DURHAM, BUTLER, PA., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
3. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
4. Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki
5. Phillip Nicoletti, Cochecton, N.Y., Honda
6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., KTM
7. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki
8. PJ Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
9. Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ontario, Canada., Honda
10. Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., KTM
15. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
Supercross Lites Eastern Region Points Standings
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 25
2. DARRYN DURHAM, BUTLER, PA., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 22
3. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 20
4. Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki, 18
5. Phillip Nicoletti, Cochecton, N.Y., Honda, 16
6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., KTM, 15
7. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki, 14
8. PJ Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 13
9. Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ontario, Canada., Honda, 12
10. Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., KTM, 11
15. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 6