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RANKING THE JUSTINS THE GOODS
Somebody had to do it Casualwear, valves, and gloves
STEWART VS. CARMICHAEL
To 48 and beyond
10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW
… about being a pro racer
RACERHEAD RACERHEAD RACERHEAD RACERHEAD
RYAN VILLOPOTO IS IN! (UNLESS HE’S OUT...) BY JASON WEIGANDT
As the industry started turning an eye toward the summer’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, rumors began circulating that a recent knee injury would force Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto to skip the Nationals. We heard this from multiple sources
while also noting a lack of Villopoto sightings at outdoor testing
sites. In the April 11 Racerhead column at Racer X Online, our
editor-in-chief, Davey Coombs, addressed the issue flat-out, clarifying the nature of the reports while hoping they weren’t true.
These days, when an outlet reports injury news, the parties
involved—the teams and riders and agents—tend to go a little
crazy. Yet the next day at the Seattle Supercross, we heard noth-
ing—no denials, no accusations of making stuff up or becoming
the “TMZ of the sport.” Villopoto and his team had two weeks
to try to head off the injury reports but instead went low-profile.
When I asked Villopoto about his future at the New Jersey pre-
race press conference on April 24, he sidestepped it, saying only,
“At this time of year, every one of us is dealing with something.”
After he won his fourth consecutive SX title at MetLife Stadi-
um in late April, race reporters didn’t let it drop. Freelance journal-
ist Steve Cox asked point-blank, “Are you racing the Nationals?”
and after pausing for a moment, Villopoto responded with “I am
riding Nationals. Have you not seen anything up until this point
“We’ve seen tons of stuff saying otherwise!” Cox replied, to
which Villopoto countered with, “Yeah on VitalMX,” referencing the
popular online forum. “At this point in time, I’m riding the Nation-
als, yes. Otherwise you can go read Vital if you want.”
Finally, I added: “You seem like you’re riding good right now,
for whatever injury you’re supposedly dealing with.”
“Exactly,” Villopoto said. “That was my point when you threw
that question at my nuts at the press conference the other day.”
So there you have it: Ryan Villopoto said himself that he’s rac-
ing the nationals. We were relieved, as were all of the readers and
regulars on Vital MX (several Racer X staffers among them) who
speculated that he might choose surgery this summer. All those
seemingly connected reports that Brett Metcalfe was already on
RV’s bike in April and that he’d be coming back from Canada to
race in Villopoto’s place turned out to be false positives.
The whole episode did feel similar to last year, when we wrote
that Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps would miss the Nationals with a knee injury, only for him to denounce us on Twitter ...
then two days later announce the he would indeed miss the Nationals. Or when we reported that Chad Reed has a separated shoulder
from his San Diego crash and was likely done for the rest of the SX
series, only for his camp to chastise us for jumping the gun.
No one likes to report bad news, especially when it involves
injuries to racers. We were happy to hear that all those rumors
were wrong and that Villopoto would be out there racing this summer. Yet even as we were going to press, the day before the Las
Vegas SX, there was still a chorus online and across social media
that whispered to us that this story still wasn’t finished, that it may
yet take another sharp turn and go a totally different way.
Good thing we have a website to keep up with it all.
“I am riding Nationals.”