Ryan Villopoto Captures Fourth Moto Sweep of the Year

Not only did Ryan Villopoto make a statement with his 1-1 moto sweep at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich., he benefitted from mistakes made by his closest rival in the chase for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Villopoto bounced back from a two-round hiatus from the top of the 450 Class podium and walked out of Round 7 with a massive 42-point lead in the championship standings.

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Thanks to past success at previous visits to the Red Bud National, Thor’s Josh Grant came into the seventh round more confident than ever. He started the day on fire, getting out to the holeshot in the opening moto and leading the first three laps. Once Grant settled in, he maintained a solid pace to come across the finish in third. Grant almost repeated his start from Moto 1 and set himself up for another good race. When the scores were tallied, Grant’s 3-5 moto scores were enough to stand on the overall podium for the first time this season in third.

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In the stacked 250 Class, starts have become important component of race strategy. Marvin Musquin proved once again that he was able to make it happen out of the gate and ran up near the front of the field all afternoon. His consistent 3-4 moto scores nearly landed him on the podium, but the Frenchman happily took fourth overall. Musquin’s performance at RedBud also moved him into third in the championship standings.

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It’s been an up and down year for defending 250 Class Champion Blake Baggett, but he continued to show his resilience at the RedBud National. In the first moto, Baggett made a good push to the front after starting outside the top 20, eventually finishing inside the top 10 in eighth. In the second moto, Baggett was running well and finished 10th to secure ninth overall.

In just his third professional race, Adam Cianciarulo continued to adapt to brand new circuits and the heightened pace of professional competition. Despite the learning curve, Cianciarulo continued to impress at RedBud. His opening moto had him finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th, while a great come-from-behind ride in Moto 2 saw him go from 38th to 15th. His 11-15 moto scores placed him 12th overall.

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Another rider showing determination was veteran Darryn Durham. His opening moto was a fight until the end where Durham came back from a crash to score 18th. He picked it up in the second moto, finishing 13th to place 14th overall.

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Like his teammate Cianciarulo, Justin Hill is another rookie learning the ropes of the 250 Class. After having to retire early in the opening moto with a bike issue, Hill was ready for redemption in the second moto. With the last gate pick in Moto 2 that forced him to start way outside, Hill came around the first lap in 23rd and went to work. He made his way all the way up to 14th, finishing the day 18th overall.

Two riders that were absent from the starting gate on Saturday were Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Tyla Rattray and Martin Davalos. Rattray suffered a crash during practice that ultimately forced him to forego competition. Davalos has been recovering from an illness that has kept him out of the past three rounds, but is expected to return at Round 8 in two weeks.

The riders get a weekend off before heading to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for the annual stop at Washougal MX Park in Washougal, Wash., just outside Portland, Ore.

Photos: Simon Cudby

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Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor Take Home Wins at Snowshoe GNCC

GNCC competitors Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor also collected wins in their respective classes at the legendary Snowshoe round in West Virginia. XC1 rider Russell needed half of the race to recover from an early crash, but he eventually caught race leader and teammate Charlie Mullins to take his third-straight win. Mullins held on for second and still leads the overall points standings.

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XC2 class rider Baylor started up front, but had a battle on his hands as rival Jason Thomas took over the lead after the second lap. For several laps, the two riders checked in less than a second apart, but Baylor’s pass on the last lap allowed him to come across the finish line with his third win of the season. He now has a 19-point lead in the XC2 class standings.

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Taylor Robert and Maria Forsberg Earn Gold at X Games Munich

The rain in Munich, Germany postponed the Enduro X races at the third stop of the Global X Games, but that didn’t seem to faze Thor’s Taylor Robert and Maria Forsberg. Although he has qualified for all five Enduro X finals in X Games history, Robert had never collected a piece of hardware until Sunday when he led the majority of the 10-lap race and found himself on top of the podium with a gold medal. Robert looked smooth and in control after he passed fellow Thor rider Mike Brown for the lead on the third lap, and never looked back.

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Women’s Enduro X favorite Forsberg had not been able to collect a gold medal so far this X Games season, but that changed with her solid ride in Germany. She remained close to the leader in the opening laps and made the winning pass stick at the halfway point of the race. Her latest medal at X Games Munich brings Forsberg’s tally up to three gold medals and two silver medals.

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X Games Barcelona winner Brown grabbed the holeshot in the Men’s Enduro X final and after battling the highly technical course and talented field of riders, he brought home a fifth-place finish.gold_rule_630

Thor’s Ryan Villopoto Retains Double Digit Points Lead at Series’ Halfway Point

Ryan Villopoto was a man on a mission at the final Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series event to be held at Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass. After going down in the first turn of Moto 1 and experiencing even more trouble on the opening lap, Villopoto crossed the line in 30th after the first complete lap. Despite the track’s ever-changing sandy conditions, Villopoto battled through the field and into the top five, ultimately finishing in fourth, just 3 seconds behind the moto winner.

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Villopoto put the first moto behind him and set his signs on rebounding in Moto 2,  jumping out to a great start and never letting off through the opening corners. Villopoto took the early lead and continued to put time between he and the the field, eventually coming across the finish with a margin-of-victory of 14.5 seconds. With six of 12 races in the books, Villopoto holds on to the coveted red plate by 12 points.

While on a break from the Canadian Motocross Nationals, Thor rider Brett Metcalfe made a guest appearance at Southwick, the venue where he claimed his first career 450 Class overall win. In both motos, Metcalfe found himself up front, finishing just off the overall podium in fourth with 5-6 moto scores.

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Over the past few years, Tyla Rattray has collected a pair of 250 Class overall victories and a moto win in the 450 Class at Southwick, making him a favorite at the sand track. While he wasn’t racing for the lead on Saturday, Rattray used his sand skills to help him come from behind in both motos to score sixth overall, despite starts outside the top 25 in each moto.

Rounding out Thor’s 450 Class effort was Josh Grant. While getting decent starts, Grant had to overcome a crash in both motos, but still finished 10th overall with 13-11 results.

Blake Baggett’s day started off well following an impressive second-place finish in the first 250 Class moto. He got out to a mid-pack start in the second moto and was able to work his way up to eighth, securing fourth overall.

In just his second professional race, Adam Cianciarulo was able to make improvements from his debut and score an overall finish inside the top 10. His good starts and quick learning curve put him ninth overall with 9-12 moto scores.

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Coming through the pack seemed to be a pattern for several of Thor’s 250 Class riders, but they all made their rides count. Marvin Musquin made his way through the pack in Moto 1, coming from 24th all the way up to 10th en route to eighth overall. Justin Hill, who finished 11th overall, went from 28th to 14th in the first moto, and 18th to 10th in Moto 2.

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Hill’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Darryn Durham got caught up in first turn pileups in each moto, but still grabbed 13th overall. Durham went from 30th on the first lap of Moto 1 to an impressive 11th, and in Moto 2 moved up from 28th to 14th.

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Round 7 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take the riders to the infamous Red Bud National in Buchanan, Mich. to celebrate Fourth of July weekend.

Photos: Simon Cudby