Ryan Villopoto Becomes Inaugural Toyota Triple Challenge Champion with MetLife Stadium Victory
On a night filled with excitement as Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, made its anticipated return to the New York area, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto became the first ever “Toyota Triple Challenge” Champion following a big win at Saturday’s inaugural race inside MetLife Stadium that also earned him a fourth consecutive 450SX Class title. The “Toyota Triple Challenge” was a three-race points-earning competition within the 17-race Monster Energy Supercross season, introduced for the first time during the 2014 championship.
Villopoto began his journey by grabbing a third-place finish at the first stop of the “Toyota Triple Challenge” in Anaheim, Calif., on February 1. Just a couple weeks later, he posted a fourth-place finish at the second race in Arlington, Texas, on February 15, and entered the third and deciding race in East Rutherford, N.J., facing a one-point deficit to Team Yoshimura’s James Stewart. As a result, Villopoto looked to finish ahead of his main championship rival at MetLife Stadium.
As he has done for the last three races, Villopoto grabbed the early lead in the first ever 450SX Class Main Event at MetLife Stadium and proceeded to check out on the field. He went on to lead all 20 laps of the Main Event for the third race in-a-row, going unchallenged en route to the 40th win of his career and a pair of historic triumphs in both the “Toyota Triple Challenge” and Monster Energy Supercross championship.
The victorious effort guaranteed Villopoto would claim the “Toyota Triple Challenge” on a night when many of his closest competitors were unable to pose a threat, earning him a brand new redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra.
In addition to the grand prize, the “Toyota Triple Challenge” also featured a $250,000 bounty that served as a bonus to any rider who could sweep each of the three races in the Challenge. Following a win in Anaheim, Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed suffered a season-ending injury at the following race, eliminating the bonus opportunity for the inaugural 2014 campaign.
Every competitor in the 450SX Class during the 2014 season was eligible to participate in the Challenge, making it a wide-open opportunity in which anyone could win. Points were awarded through the standard point-scoring system of Monster Energy Supercross during the three scheduled races of the “Toyota Triple Challenge.” In the end, Villopoto edged out Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia, a New York native, by just seven points at the conclusion of the Challenge. A total of 38 points separated the top 10 riders in the Challenge at the conclusion of the MetLife Stadium race.
“It’s cool to have a series sponsor like Toyota that’s willing to put a little extra on the line for us because it shows how much this sport is growing,” said Villopoto. “Winning the championship was our priority this weekend, but this was something that was definitely in the back of my mind and provided a little more motivation to go out there and get the win. It’s definitely cool and I’m excited to win the new Tundra.”
As an official partner of Monster Energy Supercross for nine seasons, the “Toyota Triple Challenge” served as the company’s most ambitious and exciting endeavor to date with the world’s premier off-road motorcycle racing series. It was the first time competitors in the premier 450SX Class were given an opportunity to take part in such an initiative, which was preceded by a multi-year engagement in the 250SX Class that awarded a Toyota Tundra to the winner of the annual East/West Shootout at the Las Vegas finale.
“Toyota is honored to hand Ryan Villopoto the keys to a brand new 2014 Toyota Tundra as the winner of the ‘Toyota Triple Challenge,’” said Jim Baudino, Toyota Engagement Marketing. “In it’s inaugural year, we designed the [Challenge] to provide supercross fans a points battle within the points battle. Watching that all culminate at MetLife Stadium in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 62,000 is what the entire program was all about”
Toyota Triple Challenge Standings
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 63
2. Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda, 56
3. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 53
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 46
5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 38
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 36
7. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 33
8. Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Suzuki, 32
9. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki, 28
10. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Kawasaki, 25
For the first-time ever, the entire Monster Energy Supercross season will air live on FOX Sports. FOX Sports 1 will air 13 races live and FOX Sports 2 will air four races live, in addition to every race re-airing on FOX Sports 2. The live Monster Energy Supercross programming on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 also includes live coverage on the authenticated FOX Sports Go app.