All Two Stroke Red Bull Straight Rhythm Event Brings Legends Out Of Retirement
When was the last time you got to watch multi-time SX/MX champions
Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey mix it up with each other on 250cc
two-strokes in competition? I'm going to guess never. Well, you
should either purchase a ticket for this Saturday's Red Bull
Straight Rhythm event in Pomona, California, or figure out how you
can watch online. Both "retired" riders will be ringing it out in a
straight line a half mile at a time across whoops and rollers and
over step ups and doubles as they go head-to-head against the likes
of Gared "Stank Dog" Steinke, Ronnie Mac, Shane McElrath, Josh
Grant and hopefully each other.
Last year the Straight Rhythm Event introduced the Two-Stroke
Shootout class and this year the organizers decided to make the
2018 event a two-stroke only race with a 250cc and over class and
150cc and under class. Adding a bit of futuristic spice to the old
school racing program, Alta Motors is supposed to be fielding their
factory rider, Darryn Durham, aboard a Redshift MXR. However, after
news this morning that Alta has closed its doors we'll just
have to wait and see if the electric dirt bike lines up against the
Racing two-strokes on the Straight Rhythm course isn't new territory for Villopoto, he competed last year and barley missed the final podium spot after going down 2-1 to third place finisher Ryan Sipes. Actually, Villopoto just lined up on his Yamaha YZ450F at last week's Monster Energy Cup and took 13th overall. So he may not be as rusty as Dungey who hasn't competed since retiring last year. Dungey on a KTM 250 SX though? That's going to be a badass sight to see and some fierce competition, check him out getting in some warm up laps.
Speaking of fierce competition, aside from the all-star excitement of Dungey and Villopoto, everybody's favorite PBR drinkin', denim slingin', long drawl speakin' distant relative, Uncle Ronnie, has a banjo string to pick with the long hair wearing, handlebar mustache sportin' Stank Dog. Last year Uncle Ronnie and Stank Dog cleared the path for the two to head off against each other in the final round. Ronnie had a lead on the first run but took a spill. He was able to line up for a comeback run but it wasn't in the cards as the Stank Dog was off the chain and ran straight for the golden bone.
With this year being a two-stroke only event you won't see the typical four-stroke factory guys like Roczen, or reigning two-time Straight Rhythm champion Marvin Musquin lining up. However, you will see Mike Alessi, crowd favorite Chad Reed, as well as two-time 250SX Eastern Regional Champion/2006 MX2 World Champion and also recently retired, Christophe Pourcel. Multiple riders like Steinke and Pourcel will be pulling double duty racing in both the 250 and 150 classes.
Here's the entry list for the 2018 Straight Rhythm
Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, Gared Steinke, Shane McElrath, Jordon Smith, Ronnie Mac, Ryan Sipes, Christophe Pourcel, Josh Grant, Tyler Bowers, Vince Friese, Mike Alessi, Ryan Morais, Cedric Soubeyras, Darryn Durham, Johnny Jelderda, Mike Brown, Cameron McAdoo and Kyle Partridge.
Gared Steinke, Colton Aeck, AJ Catanzaro, Christophe Pourcel, Carson Brown, Ryan Surratt, Luke Renzland, Chance Fullerton and Chase Marquier.