Supercross Riders Honored in Vegas
May 7, 2012 | 7:10 A.M. EST
Ryan Villopoto was crowned the Supercross Class Champion and the first Kawasaki rider to win back-to-back titles. (Photo: Hoppenworld.com)
The 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season concluded this weekend, following the year-end awards ceremony held at The Joint by Rogue inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. A total of 22 award categories were presented to recognize the championship’s top riders and industry personnel.
The 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season opened as one of the most anticipated seasons in the sport’s 38-year history, but, to everyone’s surprise, was filled with unforeseen injuries as the championship progressed. Despite the injury-plagued season, unpredicted storylines were able to emerge, giving fans a new perspective on the season.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto captured the second consecutive Supercross Class Championship of his career, clinching the title with four races remaining on the schedule, a feat never accomplished in the sport’s 38-year history. With the championship locked up, the attention turned to the hotly contested race for second place between JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey. In the end, Millsaps earned a career-best second-overall with Dungey and Brayton finishing third and fourth, respectively. Dungey’s third-overall marked KTM’s best finish in the Supercross Class.
Villopoto also became one of five riders in supercross history to win back-to-back titles. The Poulsbo, Wash., native led the field with eight victories and three podium finishes. Unfortunately, during Villopoto’s hometown race in Seattle, he was added to the lengthy injury list after suffering a knee injury. Subsequently, Villopoto was placed on the injured reserve list and missed the last two races of the season.
“It’s been an awesome season for me and the team,” said Villopoto. “There is a lot of hard work that went into this, and I am only one piece of the pie; the whole Monster Energy Kawasaki team has worked very hard all year to help me make this happen. It’s unfortunate what happened in Seattle, but injuries are part of the sport, so you have to keep moving forward.”
Six of the sport’s top riders, including Villopoto, Dungey, JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s Stewart, GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed, sustained severe injuries throughout the season. With such little time to recover, only two would return. The war of attrition is a true testament of the physically demanding nature of the sport.
“This season was meant to be such an amazing one for us,” said two-time supercross champion Chad Reed. “The season started out great - It’s unbelievable to think the top-six guys from last season were on the sideline. To not be racing was a bummer for all us.”
In the Supercross Lites Class, the GEICO Honda team clinched titles in both the Eastern and Western divisions, taking home a combined record total of 11 wins and seven podium finishes, an accomplishment Honda hasn’t achieved since 1991. Lites East champion Justin Barcia successfully defended his title and rode to an almost-perfect season with six wins and one additional victory in the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout. In the Lites West division, Eli Tomac won his first title with the help of five wins and two-additional podium finishes. Tomac also earned a podium finish during the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout.
“This was another exciting season for the sport,” said Dave Prater, director of supercross. “Leading up into the final race in the Supercross class, we saw five different winners throughout the season and a three-way battle for second place. In the Lites division, we also saw several first-time winners and fiercely contested battles for the top spot. I’d like to congratulate all of the riders, sponsors and teams for making the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season a huge success.”
Fans Choice – Chad Reed (TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda)
Unsung Hero – Eddie Casillas
Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Awards – 2012 Holeshot Winners
Transport Driver of the Year – Greg King (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki)
MMI Top Tech – 2012 Winners
Supercross Class Champions Mechanic – Mike Williamson (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Humanitarian of the Year – Steve Bauer
Rising Star – Justin Barcia (GEICO Honda)
Innovation Award – Dodge/Sycuan Casino/Hart and Huntington/Bel-Ray Racing
Team of the Year – GEICO Honda
Team Manager of the Year – Mike LaRocco (GEICO Honda)
Road 2 Recovery Main Jet Award – Jimmy Button
Impact Player – Rick Asch (Monster Energy Kawasaki)
Western Regional Supercross Lites Class Champion – Eli Tomac (GEICO Honda)
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Champion – Justin Barcia (GEICO Honda)
Dave Coombs Sr. Supercross Lites East/ West Shootout – Justin Barcia (GEICO Honda)
Lifetime Achievement – Broc Glover
Supercross Class Top Riders – Riders who finished 20th – 5th place overall
Supercross Class Fourth Place – Justin Brayton (Team Honda Muscle Milk)
Supercross Class Third Place – Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM)
Supercross Class Second Place – Davi Millsaps (JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha)
Supercross Class Champion – Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki)