Villopoto wins 40th RedBud Nationals

Published 4:37 pm Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ryan Villopoto hits LaRocco’s leap at RedBud during the 40th nationals Saturday in Buchanan. (Leader photo/LISSA MARSOLEK)

Ryan Villopoto hits LaRocco’s leap at RedBud during the 40th nationals Saturday in Buchanan. (Leader photo/LISSA MARSOLEK)

BUCHANAN — The Red Bull RedBud National Series kicked into top gear in Buchanan and motocross superstar Ryan Villopoto wasted no time in stealing the show on Saturday.

He swept the moto events in the 450 class at the 40th RedBud Nationals and in the process extended his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 Class championship points lead over fellow competitor Ryan Dungey to 42 points with five races left in the series.

“It was a banner day for the house of Villopoto,” Villopoto said. “We started the season out on a tear (with five consecutive moto victories), but we kind of faded away for a bit. I definitely feel like we’re getting back to where we should be.”

The victory marked Villopoto’s first overall win in the 450 class competition at RedBud. James “Bubba” Stewart Jr. finished second in both the Moto events for his best performance of the season. Josh Grant rounded out the top three in the class on the day.

In the 250 class, German Ken Roczen extended his Lucas Oil Motor Sports Series lead over American Eli Tomac with a victory and second-place finish in the 250 class moto events. Despite Tomac winning in the first moto (in which Roczen finished second) and finishing in second on the second Moto (which Roczen won), the total time differential between the two heats awarded the German the victory.

Roczen is leading Tomac by score of 312-305 with five races left in the series.

Jeremy Martin rounded out the podium finishers with a score of 4-3 in the 250 class moto events.

With Mother Nature cooperating, RedBud saw one of its bigger turnouts in the past few years.

Championship Powersports president Jim Durivage pointed to the growth in enthusiasm for the sport to explain the rise in attendance in this season’s series.

“RedBud is by far the biggest, and the crowds are always really good,” he said.

The track is the best on the circuit. It’s getting more and more mainstream and easier to see on TV and the internet. You can really see it starting to help our crowds.”

Events staffers Maria Frucci, Kateasha Crespo and Mike Purucker agreed RedBud

would remain the crown jewel of local entertainment every year on the weekend of the Fourth of July.

“The RedBud experience is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives,” Purucker said.

“I’ve come to RedBud every year for 10 years, and I’ll keep coming until I am incapable of coming back. I believe that’s how everyone who comes here feels,” Frucci said.

Crespo summed up the feelings of annual RedBud enthusiasts in one sweeping statement.

“It’s RedBud. That’s all you need to say, and it’s all you need to know.”