AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF
Unadilla, New Berlin, NY
Round 8 of 12 – July 20th, 2008

Unadilla Race Report
Words and Photos by Scott Lukaitis

When the AMA national tour rolled into the farms of Upstate New York there was one thing on everyone’s minds. Can anyone stop the Kawasaki duo of Ryan Villopoto and James Stewart? Villopoto has won all but one moto this season in MX Lites competition whereas James Stewart has been perfect in Motocross competition.

James Stewart

James Stewart photo by Scott Lukaitis

The track staff at Unadilla prepared a challenging course for the riders including softer loam and somewhat less rocky conditions and even mixed it up with a new giant tabletop section and a relocated finish line. This time the riders would fly out of the famous “Gravity Cavity” towards the checkered flag.


Saturday’s qualifying took place under sunny skies and humid conditions to set the 40 man gates in both championship classes. Saturday’s sun gave way to rain in the evening but as Sunday dawned grey the track conditions were shaping up to be excellent.

Under sunny skies, MX Lites moto number one saw the Makita/ Rockstar/ Suzuki of Ryan Dungey out front with MDK/ KTM rider Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and the rest of the 40 rider field in tow. Villopoto would waste no time getting out front and start to check out on the field. Dungey tucked in behind the leading Kawasaki and the 2 riders would start to gap the field. Joining Davalos in giving chase was the Geico Powersports Honda of Josh Grant and BBRMX’s Kyle Cunningham. Davalos would be the first to drop out as mechanical woes halted the KTM riders charge. This left Grant and Cunningham to do battle. Nearing the end of the moto, with Villopoto and Dungey gone, Grant and Cunnigham’s battle would be joined by Grant’s teammate Trey Canard, Villopoto’s teammate Brett Metcalfe, and MDK/ KTM’s Matt Goerke all joining the battle royale. Villopoto would take the moto win followed by Dungey and Josh Hill held on to win the battle for third.

Ryan Villopoto

Ryan Villopoto photo by Scott Lukaitis

MX Lites Moto One Results:

1. Ryan Villopoto (KAW)
2. Ryan Dungey (SUZ)
3. Josh Grant (HON)
4. Kyle Cunningham (HON)
5. Trey Canard (HON)
6. Brett Metcalfe (KAW)
7. Matt Goerke (KTM)
8. Nico Izzi (SUZ)
9. Jake Weimer (HON)
10. Jake Moss (YAM)

In the first Motocross Class moto, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider James Stewart grabbed the holeshot and it wall all over for the rest of the field. The race would be for second. Rockstar/ Makita Suzuki rider Michael Bryne settled into second and would run there the entire moto. The battle for third between Yamaha rider Josh Hill and Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short would last until a bobble by Hill would allow Short some breathing room. That breath would be short-lived as Stewart’s Kawasaki teammate Timmy Ferry worked his way into a position to challenge Short for the final step on the podium. Stewart went on for the win, with Byrne in second and Ferry got around Short to round out the podium.

James Stewart

James Stewart photo by Scott Lukaitis



Motocross Moto One Results:

1. James Stewart (KAW)
2. Michael Byrne (SUZ)
3. Tim Ferry (KAW)
4. Andrew Short (HON)
5. Cody Cooper (SUZ)
6. Joshua Hill (YAM)
7. Sean Hamblin (YAM)
8. Antonio Balbi (HON)
9. Chris Blose (HON)
10. Nick Wey (KTM)

Jumping out with the holeshot in MX Lites moto number two was the Motorsport Outlet Kawasaki of Tommy Hahn. Villopoto and Dungey would be quickly by Hahn and set off to battle on their own. First with Dungey leading, then with Villopoto out front until the Red flag was waving putting a stop to the moto. In what may have been the first of it’s kind, in AMA professional motocross racing, a race was stopped due to the dangerous lightning in the immediate area. All of the riders went back to their respective pits and after a short “rain delay” the gate was loaded again. Since the race was less than 1/2 completed the entire moto would be restart. This time it was Dungey out front and attempting to run away. But lady luck was not on Dungey’s side as he went down trying to avoid a lapped rider. This was all that Villopoto needed as the Kawasaki rider motored on. Even the high winds and driving rain that whipped up late in the moto couldn’t stop the defending national champion. Dungey would hold on for second and Martin Davalos made up for his first moto DNF to round out the top step of the podium.

Photo by Scott Lukaitis

Photo by Scott Lukaitis



MX Lites Moto Two Results:

1. Ryan Villopoto (KAW)
2. Ryan Dungey (SUZ)
3. Martin Davalos (KTM)
4. Brett Metcalfe (KAW)
5. Nico Izzi (SUZ)
6. Ryan Sipes (KTM)
7. Thomas Hahn (KAW)
8. Jake Moss (YAM)
9. Matt Goerke (KTM)
10. Kyle Chisholm (KAW)

MX Lites Overall Results:

1. Ryan Villopoto 1-1
2. Ryan Dungey 2-2
3. Brett Metcalfe 6-4
4. Nico Izzi 8-5
5. Josh Grant 3-12
6. Matt Goerke 7-9
7. Jake Moss 10-8
8. Trey Canard 5-13
9. Ryan Sipes 13-6
10. Martin Davalos 29-3

With the rain from the lites moto not letting up and more coming, the second motocross class moto blasted off the line. This time it was the Suzuki City/ Rockstar Energy Suzuki of New Zealand’s Cody Cooper out front of the mud covered field. With Stewart out front Cooper was turning in consistently quicker lap times than the race leader and he was starting to close the gap. Then Stewart went down. This might have been the break that Cooper needed to stop the streak. But Stewart was back up quickly and although Cooper closed the gap he never really challenged the series points leader. Stewart went on to grab the victory and break his “Unadilla Curse”. Cooper held on for second place and fellow Suzuki rider Michael Bryne survived the worsening conditions to take the final podium spot.

Cody Cooper

Cody Cooper photo by Scott Lukaitis



Motocross Moto Two Results:

1. James Stewart (KAW)
2. Cody Cooper (SUZ)
3. Michael Byrne (SUZ)
4. Antonio Balbi (HON)
5. Matt Boni (HON)
6. Tim Ferry (KAW)
7. Sean Hamblin (YAM)
8. Jack Carpenter (HON)
9. Jacob Morrison (KAW)
10. Jimmy Albertson (HON)

Motocross Overall Results:
1. James Stewart 1-1
2. Michael Byrne 2-3
3. Cody Cooper 5-2
4. Tim Ferry 3-6
5. Antonio Balbi 8-4
6. Sean Hamblin 7-7
7. Andrew Short 4-14
8. Matt Boni 14-5
9. Jimmy Albertson 12-10
10. Nick Wey 10-12

After 8 rounds of racing, Ryan Villopoto holds a comfortable 109 point lead over Dungey in his quest for a third consecutive MX Lites National Title and in Motocross class racing Stewart’s perfect 400 point score puts him 120 points ahead of teammate Timmy Ferry in his chance for the #1 plate.

As another year closes on Unadilla it looks like not even “Mother Nature” can stop the guys on Green.