A2 review is really the story of three people. Ryan Villopoto. Kevin Windham. Eli Tomac.
Ryan Villopoto is the defending Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Champion. He clinched the 2012 title last April – and then injured his knee at the Seattle supercross – basically putting an end to his 2012 season.
Ryan won this past Saturday night in Angel Stadium in Anaheim – his first main event win since last April.
Ryan said after winning the 450 SX Main Event: The season didn’t start like we wanted it to. I had a decent race in Phoenix and the team made good changes to the bike this week. We’ve finally got the ball going in the right direction and are digging ourselves out of the hole. Once I got into the lead, I was just trying to click of the laps and keep it consistent. The track was really slippery tonight, but I still tried to keep the pace up. I’m happy to get this win out of the way. We made progress each weekend and felt really good coming into today. My starts were much better, which made it much easier. I just took my time, was patient, and made clean passes. Every win is good, but this one is nice to get the ball rolling for the rest of the season.
Ryan knows it’s a long season, and is in a good position now to potentially go on a roll and win a third straight championship. Villopoto was due.
Kevin Windham, age 34, and racing in his 19th year professionally, came out to opening ceremonies, did a couple of his ‘transfer’ jumps, a ‘nose-wheelie’ … and then surprisingly – announced his retirement from professional racing. His words below explain why:
I would love nothing more than to ride forever. The choice to retire was going to be hard no matter when I did it. To the fans of Supercross, this might seem to be a hasty decision, but I’ve been talking to a lot of people for a lot of months. I thought I would be able to come into the season and ride myself out of that funk and that mental hurdle I was having to overcome. With every passing lap – be it at the test track, my home track, or the stadium – it became more and more difficult to ride with the clarity I needed to be safe, fast, and successful.
The common comment from the people I’ve spoken to was that if you aren’t riding with clarity, you are asking your fears to come upon you. It wasn’t the storyline I wanted to write or the final chapter I envisioned, but it became obvious, and we’ll try and figure out what’s next.
The whole GEICO Honda program along with sponsors MSR and DVS, their support has been great. I’m in a good place with a good team. My team and sponsors are behind me with this decision, and I hope the 40,000 people in the stands tonight will be, too.
The fans of Supercross have been amazing to me. Those trophies aren’t made of anything, and they’ll just sit there and collect dust. When you have people who come up and share their favorite moments that you gave them, it’s a huge part of why I stuck around as long as I did. It means something to them, and in turn those memories mean something to me.
I’ve been racing motorcycles for 31 years now, and I expect I’ll keep riding on some level. I’ll ride with my son, who wants to start to ride right now. I want to help all my kids do everything they want to do. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. My Planet Fitness clubs are doing great, and I’ve got a great family.
When I was 16 years old, I felt like I was losing my weekends because of racing. It didn’t take me long to realize that my weekends were already being spent with my family – my racing family. We’ll find that next chapter, and I don’t think it will be too far away from where I’m at right now.
The hardest part of all is to hang the boots up. It has been such an amazing ride, and ever since the Houston supercross, where I took the big crash, it has been weighing on me hard. This is my opportunity to step away with my health. Today is the day that I step away. The GEICO Honda team has been amazing. It has been the most amazing ride, and I am so thankful for every opportunity that I have been given.
The number 14 has retired from racing professional supercross. Windham stops.
And then there is Eli Tomac. He rides with the red-plate number 1 GEICO Honda in the 250 West SX Class. He’s on a streak. He’s won all three races of the season so far.
Eli said after winning the 250 West Region Main Event: I’m slowly stretching out that points lead. I’d like some more points right now, but you can’t ask for anything more than getting three wins this early in the season. It was a good battle. Those guys (Ken Roczen and Cole Seely) are probably my two best competitors in the class right now. It made for good racing. I had some good lines out there and it was a fun race for sure. I was trying lines inside and outside, because it was a good track for trying different things. I definitely started off slower today. I was good in one practice and struggled in the other, so it definitely made the race matter that much for the win. It was a great battle out there. The track was tough, so I had to keep my feet tight and the bike under control. From now on I just need to keep it on the podium.
Eli is making is very tough on his competitors as he aims to repeat his 250 SX West Regional Championship. Tomac continues.
Saturday night’s 450Sx Class race from Oakland will air on CBS Sunday, January 27 CBS at Noon ET and SPEED will air the 250SX Class race at 1:00 p.m. ET.