I don't know much about motocross, and less still about supercross, but I know Ryan Villopoto is a big deal. Between 2008 and 2014 he was three time MX and four-time SX champion riding for Kawasaki.
So it was a surprise when, this weekend, Yamaha unveiled him as a brand ambassador (nearly as surprising as when Triumph signed Foggy and, to a lesser extent, Charley Boorman, two 'older' personalities I thought were inextricably linked with other motorcycle brands).
It was more of a shock with Villopoto announced that one of the few riding commitments he has in his 2018 diary for Yamaha are a couple of hooligan flat track races.
According to an interview on dirtrider.com Villopoto described the hooligan races he had lined up, 'Sturgis is one of them, Huntington Beach is one of them, so just [doing] some really rad events that I’ve wanted to do and Yamaha wanted to support that. Right now where I stand and sit it’s a marketing plan and deal that we’re doing. It might morph into something else. I’m here to help the race team, but as of right now that’s not my primary deal. If they need help I’m here to help them out and do some testing. What we plan on doing is all marketing and doing some cool and fun stuff.'
The Washingtonian added, 'I’ve done a little bit of flat-track stuff on the DTX bikes—450s set up like a flat track—and I have a blast doing it. To get into it as a professional deal or a second career or something like that, no I don’t want to do that. But there’s a lot of really fun races and cool things, and cool content that we can build together by going out and doing those little types of things and those little races. I’m looking forward to doing that.'
He might be racing something like the Yamaha SCR950 derived hooligan that US-based Australian journalist and racer, Rennie Scaysbrook, raced at last October's MotoBeach Classic (below). Read about the MotoBeach Classic in our special 16-page supplement - free with Sideburn 31.
The hooligan ball keeps rolling...
Thanks to Dimitri Coste for the lead on this story.