The 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series has concluded after a grueling schedule of seventeen races in eighteen weeks. The Las Vegas finale played host to some great action in all four of the main events. On Saturday night, some of the riders left the Sam Boyd stadium disappointed; however the final series standings leaving Las Vegas were not too different to what we have seen transpire in the previous rounds.
The 450SX title was wrapped up in Salt Lake City, which zapped some of the excitement from that class. However the 250SX classes were undoubtedly the point of attention for most, and rightfully so. In my opinion, I do believe that it was a good move by FELD Motorsports to make the Las Vegas finale include a main event for both coasts; it has proven to be successful in recent years, and it was this past weekend as well. Although the action in the 450SX class was quite lackluster, the two 250SX main events more than made up for it.
So with all three of the titles safely in the hands of the respective champions, lets take a look at those riders that left the Sam Boyd Stadium with a number one plate:
450SX Champion: Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Undoubtedly, Ryan Villopoto is deserving of the 450SX title; he did overcome some adversity whilst racing towards his third successive title, he definitely did not have it easy. Admittedly most did doubt the reigning champion in the first half of the season, for the first time he seemed a bit vulnerable. At one-point Ryan was twenty-seven points out of the series lead. But despite this he still managed to wrap up the championship a round early, amazingly. I believe that RV may be slightly underrated; quietly he has been very dominant in the past three years. But it seems as though no one recognises the fact; for instance a lot of people have mentioned the changing of the guard. However, Villopoto is still head and shoulders above his rivals just like he has been in recent years.
Remarkably Ryan Villopoto won ten of the seventeen rounds. Although this might just be the deepest field in the history of the sport, Ryan was the most dominant that he has ever been. In fact, Ryan won eight of the last eleven rounds; he was the class of the field. Now Villopoto has joined Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael as a rider who has won three successive titles. Ryan has also passed both Chad Reed, and James Stewart (two rivals of his) in the amount of titles won. Maybe Ryan Villopoto does deserve more recognition? I believe that he has cemented his position as a legend of the sport, already.
250SX West Champion: Ken Roczen (Red Bull KTM)
Prior to the penultimate round of the 250SX West series, I was slightly concerned that some fans would state that the only reason Ken Roczen won the west coast series was because of the DNF that Eli Tomac posted in Oakland. However, following his DNQ in Salt Lake City there was no doubt that whoever won the title out of the two deserved it. In the end, Roczen did enough to clinch his maiden AMA Supercross championship with a dramatic last lap pass for second in the race (the position that he needed to win the title).
Although Roczen did not win the most races, there is no doubt that he rode like a champion from the very first round. Aside from his issue in Salt Lake City, Ken finished inside of the top two at every round; an impressive feat. I think that the right man claimed the West title; Ken is one of the most likeable riders also, so most were happy to see him claim the title.
250SX East Champion: Wil Hahn (Geico Honda)
Although everyone has belittled the 250SX East class because of its lack of depth, there is no doubt in my mind that Wil Hahn is at the same level as the west coast frontrunners. I would argue that Marvin Musquin had a little more raw speed. But, the heart that Hahn showed in Las Vegas alone makes him a worthy champion in my eyes. During the final practice session, Wil crashed hard in the whoops section and broke his hand. However, Hahn pushed through that pain barrier and did just enough to grab his maiden AMA Supercross title with a third in the 250SX East main event.
Remarkably, Hahn stood on the podium at all nine rounds of the 250SX East series. It is that sort of consistency that will win you a championship (as stated above); if Musquin were able to do that he would be standing with the number one plate. It is quite hard to believe that at the start of the year, Hahn had never won a main event before. Now Wil is an AMA Supercross champion!
All three title fights featured many points that will go down in the record books, as we saw a three-time champion crowned and a pair of first-time champions! All three have a reason to state that their victory this year was one of the best moments of their career, and it was well deserved at that.
Words by Lewis Phillips