WASHOUGAL — A red flag stopped the second moto Saturday and it might have stopped Washington’s own Ryan Villopoto from winning an overall at the Washougal MX National.
Ryan Dungey of Rockstar Makita Suzuki took advantage of a re-start to claim the holeshot and never lost that lead to win Moto 2 of the 450 Class. Dungey finished second to Villopoto’s first place in the first moto, but under motocross rules, the second moto breaks any ties.
That made Dungey the overall winner in the eighth stop of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship series. It is his second consecutive 450 title at Washougal and fourth in a row when including his 250 victories in 2008 and 2009.
“It’s a special place, for sure,” Dungey said. “I got my very first outdoor national win here. It was a big step in my career.”
Since then, he has been winning a lot everywhere. Dungey, the 2010 450 season champion, now has 20 career motocross victories, including 13 with the bigger bikes.
“To be four in a row (in Washougal), it’s a little bonus,” he said. “It’s nice to come here and win consecutively like that.”
Villopoto, trying to win in his home state for the first time in his professional motocross career, got the holeshot in the original start of the second moto, with Dungey in third place after the first lap. But Trey Canard went down hard in the second lap and was unable to get up on his own. Track officials threw out the red flag in order to get medical attention for Canard, forcing a re-start.
“That’s always a bummer when anybody gets hurt,” Villopoto said. “It was a bummer for me because I had another great start. That threw a wrench in the program.”
Villopoto said he and Dungey are so close in speed that the winner is whoever has the better bike setup that day, who takes the better lines, and who gets the lead first.
“Ninety percent of it is the starts,” Villopoto said.
If Villopoto feels a bit unlucky with the red flag, Dungey could feel the same way with the end of the first moto. Villopoto led from start-to-finish, but Dungey was reeling him in late in the campaign. The two were side by side in the 29th minute when Dungey spun out while trying to make the pass.
The motos last 30 minutes, plus two more laps. Dungey got right back up, but he had lost precious time.
“It was good I got up to finish second,” Dungey said.
That gave him the opportunity for the overall win with a win in the second moto.
While Villopoto cannot catch an overall break in Washougal, he did move into the season points lead. Villopoto and Dungey each scored 47 points Saturday to jump over previous leader Chad Reed. Villopoto has 341 points to Dungey’s 340. Reed, who finished 7th-4th at Washougal for fourth overall, has 332 points with four events remaining this summer.
“That’s always good,” Villopoto said of earning the red number plate as the points leader. “We made a little step forward. Not as big as I would have liked.”
Canard, who won the 250 Class at Washougal a year ago, suffered a serious left leg injury and was taken to a hospital, according to AMA officials. Canard broke his left leg at Washougal in 2008 and this was his second event of the summer after re-injuring the same leg in the supercross season.
Brett Metcalfe finished third at Washougal for the second year in a row.
Reed struggled at Washougal, a week after a terrifying crash. Officials said he is not injured, but he is still sore and looking forward to the two-week break prior to Round 9 of the series.
For Washougal, once again it was Dungey’s day. This year, he picked up a neon trophy for his title, something new from the folks who run Washougal’s national.
“It looks like a bar trophy,” Dungey said. “I don’t have a bar, but it’s sharp.”