Monster Energy Kawasaki racer Ryan Villopoto demonstrated once again he is a the top of his sport, clinching his third-consecutive AMA Supercross championship. Villopoto cemented his title with a win in front of 43,149 fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, his ninth main event victory of the season and 33rd in his career.

Though he led every lap, Villopoto didn’t have as easy a time in Salt Lake City as he has had in some races this season. He spent most of the race trailed by Rockstar Energy Suzukis Davi Millsaps and Red Bull KTM‘s Ryan Dungey but withstood the pressure for the full 20 laps.

Dungey was the fastest rider out of the gate, capturing the holeshot but it didn’t take long before Villopoto passed him for the lead. Villopoto stretched his advantage to about two seconds while Dungey contended with Millsaps for second.

The challengers managed to narrow the gap in the second half of the race, with Millsaps coming within a second of Villoptoo on Lap 13 but the champion held on for the win. Villopoto would finish 1.578 seconds ahead of Millsaps with Dungey following a couple of seconds later for third.

“It’s unreal,” says Villopoto. “It was a crazy race and the track was really technical. Any little mistake would make it anyone’s game. We [Monster Energy Kawasaki] started the season off really rough and had a lot of stepping stones to overcome, but we did it as a team and we did it well.”

Villopoto joins Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath in being the only riders to win three straight AMA Supercross titles. Carmichael accomplished the feat from 2001-2003 while McGrath did it twice: most recently in 1998-2000 and previously in a record run of four-straight titles from 1993-1996.

The 2013 AMA Supercross Championship wraps up May 4 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

2013 AMA Supercross: Salt Lake City Top Five Finishers
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Gap
1 Ryan Villopoto Kawasaki
2 Davi Millsaps Suzuki +1.528
3 Ryan Dungey KTM +3.980
4 Trey Canard Honda +25.658
5 Justin Barcia Honda +33.142
450cc Class Top Five Standings After 16 Rounds
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Points
1 Ryan Villopoto Kawasaki 346
2 Davi Millsaps Suzuki 318
3 Ryan Dungey KTM 315
4 Justin Barcia Honda 261
5 Chad Reed Honda 224

[Source: AMA Supercross; Photo by Monster Energy]