The sport of Supercross is constantly changing. Every once in a while, a rider emerges through the amateur rankings, into the pros, and leaves a mark on the sport that is never forgotten. Ryan Villopoto has become one of those riders. Villopoto did what most kids who race dirt bikes do. He started at a very young age, watched his dad race, and of course, grew to love the sport himself.
In 2005, Ryan eventually turned pro, signing a contract with well known Owner Mitch Payton of Factory Kawasaki. After winning three consecutive MX championships, a SX championship, as well as a Motocross of Nations Title, Villopoto made a transition to the 450 class in 2009. He would struggle at first, but once the 2011 SX season began, so also began the era of Ryan Villopoto.
Ryan, or known as RV2 has won four consecutive SX championships, becoming just the second rider in the history of the sport to ever accomplish such a feat. The other rider was of course none other, than Jeremy McGrath.
Villopoto is currently sitting out the 2014 Motocross season to rehab from an injury he sustained late in the 2014 SX season but plans to be 100 percent for the start of the SX season and go for a 5 peat, something the Supercross world has never seen.
Although Villopoto is no jerk by any means, people have noticed in the last couple of seasons a lack of excitement from Villopoto. If you look at his interview following his 2014 SX title, one of the first things Ryan said was that he was happy that the season was finally over. Now granted, we have to remember he was racing with a bum leg, but don't you think he'd be a bit more excited about winning a fourth straight SX title than what he showed?
In documentaries, Ryan has came out and said that he would have no problem walking from the sport today. Things like this make you wonder if RV2 is just starting to grow tired of the SX and MX business. In a recent interview, former champion and all time great Jeremy McGrath was asked about Villopoto and his lack of enthusiasm. " To me, it's sad when you see a guy on the podium and he looks like he's miserable." Ryan countered with the argument that the Supercross business is much different from the "carefree 90's" , the era that McGrath was racing in.
I don't doubt that Ryan still enjoys riding dirt bikes for a job, but he also knows the business side very well and knows that this sport can be ruthless to a rider. " This sport chews you up and spits you out." said Villopoto. " It's the nature of the sport where if I don't win next weekend, it doesn't really matter what I've done prior to this."
Ryan Villopoto has become one of the most accomplished, successful and most determined riders this sport has ever seen. Ryan is only 26, but there's a chance we may see him hang up the boots during his prime. His close friend Casey Stoner, a former Moto GP driver retired at the prime age of just 23 for personal reasons such as just wanting to stay healthy and be with his family. Ryan is now married and may be looking to start a family of his own. As much as fans would hate to see him go, I think there is a good chance that the 2015 Supercross season will be the last year we see Ryan Villopoto racing dirt bikes.