After 11 rounds of competition and a summer full of some of the best motocross racing on the planet, the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will come to a dramatic conclusion this Saturday, September 10, as American motocross returns to Southern California.
Pala Raceway, located in Northern San Diego County, will host the second annual Traxxas Pala National.Throughout the season the championship-leading 450 class duo of Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey have engaged in many heated battles in their quest for a national title.
Perhaps none of which were more exciting than what took place last weekend at the Steel City Motocross National. The opening moto featured a tremendous showdown between the pair of Ryans with Dungey leading the way from the start and Villopoto searching for an opportunity to get by throughout the race. The distance between the two riders see-sawed through the entire moto until a last-ditch effort by Villopoto put him alongside Dungey coming out of the final corner and ultimately signified the biggest moto win of the year for the points leader. Villopoto’s successful pass has made it one of the most memorable moments in series history and could be the defining moment in the outcome of the championship.
Following Villopoto’s moto sweep and subsequent third overall win of the 2011 season, 14 points now separate him from Dungey heading into Pala Raceway. With the double-digit advantage in his favour, Villopoto has put the pressure on Dungey who will look to remain undefeated at the newest facility in American Motocross following a dominant 1-1 effort one year ago. Should Dungey accomplish that task and shift the momentum back into his favour, Villopoto would need a minimum finish of fourth in each moto to secure his first 450 class title.
After an impressive 1-1 performance for his second overall victory of the summer, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson became the 24th rider in AMA Pro MX history to claim a 250 class title. Throughout the season Wilson has set the standard for consistency, finishing on the overall podium in 10 of 11 rounds, including seven runner-up efforts. His series-leading point total and average finish is an indicator of the success he’s achieved in what has become one of the most impressive championship performances of all-time.
Wilsonis just the third rider in history born outside of the United States to win a 250 class championship joining South Africa’s Grant Langston (2003) and Scottish-born Jeff Ward (1984). Wilson has also ended a two-year drought for Mitch Payton’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki stable who last won the 250 class title with Ryan Villopoto in 2008, bringing the most successful team in AMA Pro Motocross history its ninth championship.
As the newest venue of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, Pala Raceway has become Southern California’s premier motocross destination. With its sprawling layout and unique blend of speed and big air, the track is quickly gaining popularity throughout the industry.