There have been plenty of great 250 riders over the years, but Ryan Villopoto holds the title of best 250F pilot to date. Riding on a Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki KX250F, RV knew how to get every last drop of performance out of the quarter-liter motor - just like his boss Mitch Payton. Now he's expanding that reputation into one of the best 450 riders as well.
His first championship came outdoors in 2006 following a third-place finish in the Western SX Lites series. He backed that up with SX Lites and MX championships in 2007 along with one of the most dominating Motocross des Nations performances in history.
A highlight of his 250F career, Villopoto smoked the world’s best MX racers regardless of bike, country or credential. Even his American teammates, which included Ricky Carmichael and Tim Ferry, couldn’t keep pace with the promising youth as he led a sweep of the
Villopoto captured his first SX Lites victory in
Dallas, which lead to his 3rd place over all
finish during his first full season of pro
supercross racing. MXoN event. Villopoto returned the following year to claim another MXoN title for the U.S. in 2008, marking his final appearance on the quarter-liter.
He was poised to do it all again in ’08, but came up short in the final SX Lites race. Villopoto had his revenge once the series switched to the outdoors, blitzing the AMA Motocross Lites class for his third consecutive outdoor national title.
In 2009 RV moved into the space vacated by James Stewart to ride the fuel-injected KX450F full-time, but a knee injury put his season on hold. Before the injury, RV was well on his way to making history by becoming the third person ever to win his first premier class race and the only other person besides Carmichael to claim three-straight 250 motocross titles and win his 450-class debut. In 2010 RV was putting in a stellar run in SX when a major crash in St. Louis shattered his hopes. A broken leg forced Villopoto to the bench for the remainder of the season, and prevented his participation in the '10 MX season.
After a challanging few years in the hunt for his first 450 title, Villopoto captured both the
indoor and outdoor championships in the same year. Determined to rebound from his previous misfortune, Villopoto came back stronger than ever in 2011. Facing one of the most competitive SX seasons ever, RV posted six wins and earned podium finishes in nearly every round to claim his first Supercross title by just four points. But the 23-year-old was just getting started. Despite a slow opening to his 2011 outdoor season, Villopoto pocketed three wins and only missed the podium three times throughout the entire season to win the AMA Motocross Championship. The champ then went on to help defend America’s MXoN title in dominant fashion. Last but certainly not least, RV conquered the inaugural edition of the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas – becoming the recipient of a $1,000,000 payout after winning three straight motos.