Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto has claimed the 2013 AMA Supercross title, taking the race win in Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium ahead of Davi Millsaps and Ryan Dungey to notch up an uncatchable championship points haul of 346, compared to Millsaps' 318 in second.
Villopoto’s championship victory puts him among the greats of AMA Supercross racing, with only Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael having claimed three back-to-back championship wins before him.
In terms of race victories, the win in Salt Lake City was Villopoto’s ninth of the season, compared to Millsaps, Dungey and Justin Barcia -- currently fourth in the championship standings -- who all have two wins apiece.
In the race itself, it was Dungey who was fastest out of the gate to claim the holeshot, but the KTM rider was quickly passed by both Villopoto, who swiftly moved into a two-second lead, and then by former championship leader Millsaps on lap two.
Despite Villopoto initially pulling away, as the race went on Millsaps and Dungey came back into the picture, piling on the pressure all the way to the line but never managing to pass the leader, who held on to claim the win and, with it, the championship with one more race left to run in Las Vegas.
We started the season off really rough and had a lot of stepping stones to overcome
"It's unreal," said Villopoto after the race. "It was a crazy race and the track was really technical. Any little mistake would make it anyone's game.
“We started the season off really rough and had a lot of stepping stones to overcome,” he added, “but we did it as a team and we did it well."
Meanwhile in the 250 Western Division, which resumed last weekend in Seattle after an eight-round lay-off to let the Eastern Division riders have their turn, there was major upset as championship leader Ken Roczen failed to qualify for the main event while second-placed man Eli Tomac couldn’t capitalize on his rival’s absence, only managing sixth in the race as Jason Anderson claimed his first-ever 250 Supercross win.
The riders now head to Las Vegas next weekend for the AMA Supercross season finale.
For full results, check out the official series website.