Q: Has Ryan Villopoto started a winning streak that will earn him the title?
A: In short, no. Ryan had a strong start at A3, but he struggled for pace early on. Once Chad Reed got to the front, he held onto it – without pulling a big gap. With the dirt giving little traction, after being used for two rounds at Anaheim and Monster Jam, it didn’t play to Ryan’s strengths. He closed up midway through, and looked like a real challenger to [Ken] Roczen at one point, but the German pulled away and RV finished a distant third.
Having said that; he didn’t have a bad night by any standards, and still sits on top of the points standings, so it wasn’t all bad. He’s now two points ahead of Chad Reed after five rounds – we didn’t see that one coming before A1!
Q: Can Pro Circuit and Dean Wilson bounce back?
A: Yeah, they can! After coming so close to the win last weekend in Oakland, the #15 took to the top step of the box for the first time this season. It must have been a huge weight off of Deano’s back (the fist pump before he’d even crossed the line showed us that), and Mitch Payton will finally be happy. Dean was really fast all day, winning his heat race and setting the fastest lap earlier in the day, so smiles all around. Justin Hill came in fourth, rounding off a solid weekend for Pro Circuit.
Q: Surely Jason Anderson cannot pull off another last lap win?
A: This week, Anderson couldn’t get close to that win. An early race incident with Mookie (we won’t discuss that one in this article, suffice to say it’s controversial) left him on the ground and at the bottom end of the top ten. He fought his way back up to the top five and nearly took fourth on the final lap, but Justin Hill kept it tight around the final corner and Anderson took fifth. With that finish, he’s now tied on points with Cole Seely – both are on one-hundred and nine. Dean Wilson isn’t a million miles away, so we’ve got some exciting racing to look forward to in San Diego before the west coast guys take a break.
Q: Where will Eli Tomac place in his return from injury?
A: Eli has had a really tough season, with his injury taking him out for several rounds and a little bad luck to boot. His bad luck continued into Anaheim, when he had a flat tyre in the main event (yep, really). Looking at practice and qualifying, his pace wasn’t bad and he did jump the quad, but he didn’t quite have the speed we expected him to.
Out of the three big rookies (Hahn, Roczen, Tomac), arguably the most excitement surrounded Eli pre-season. Beating Ken to the 250 outdoor title, and showcasing incredible pace at the MXoN, put a lot of expectation on his shoulders, and so far he hasn’t quite delivered. Give him time though, the kid has serious speed.
Q: Weston Peick. You know that guy?
A: If you haven’t heard of Weston Peick, you should probably start to take note. Weston is on a privateer Suzuki (he does get some help from Yoshimura) and he finished fifth in the main event. That’s ahead of Brayton, Tickle (slightly injured), Weimer and even James Stewart after his incident with Dungey. Weston is proof that hard work really pays off in this game, and with a big contract year upon us – we’ll surely be seeing him on factory equipment in the near future.
Words: James Dunford
Image: James Lissimore