Carmichael tops AMA charts with a win at Hangtown
AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship
Round 2: Sacramento, California
May 18, 2003
Carmichael tops AMA charts with a win at Hangtown
Round two of the AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship held just
outside Sacramento, California turned out to be a numbers game. Ricky
Carmichael won the race, known as Hangtown, and extended his national
motocross win streak to 17. In doing so, Carmichael tied Jeremy McGrath for
all-time career AMA motocross and Supercross race wins at 89. While the
career win record was tied with the continuation of a remarkable string of
overall wins, another proud Carmichael streak was broken.
Ending his 250 moto stronghold at 26 was Factory Connection's Kevin Windham
, who used the power of his Honda CRF450R to grab an uncontested holeshot
in the first moto. As he always does when he's out on the race track,
Carmichael fought tooth and nail to catch his Honda nemesis, but the
massive Windham holeshot provided more than enough ground between the #14
and #4 Hondas, and Carmichael finished the moto in the runner-up position.
"I knew Kevin Windham was going to be the man to beat," said Carmichael
after the first outing. "He showed last weekend at Glen Helen that he had
the speed to run up front.
"I also know that in order for me to run away from the pack like Windham
did today in the first moto," continued Carmichael, "I'm going to have to
lay down some better starts."
Carmichael did lay down a better start in the second moto, unfortunately it
was behind Windham and Chad Reed. With a front row seat, Carmichael watched
as the two riders battled for the lead on the opening lap. A lap later
Windham hit a rare muddy spot on the race track and fell, allowing Reed and
Carmichael to continue their on-track epic battle that started in this
year's Supercross series. As it turns out, Reed was no match for Carmichael
on the high-speed Hangtown circuit, and the Honda rider ran away with the
second moto win by 10.443 seconds.
"I said it over and over again during the Supercross season and I meant
it," explained Carmichael. "It's a lot more fun for me when I can go out
and actually race with some guys. That's what happened today and that's
what happened in the first moto at Glen Helen. It may not be the easiest
motocross season I've ever had, but I can tell right now it's going to be
one of the most fun. The challenge keeps me motivated and as long as I'm
standing here on top of the podium in the end, it's all good."
As for Windham, the fast starting Southerner remounted after his early moto
crash, but then fell again, resulting in a sixth place finish. The
disappointing second moto finish pushed Windham back to fourth in the
overall results behind runner-up Reed and third place Tim Ferry.
Carmichael and Windham weren't the only Honda riders to run up front in the
40-man field. Mike LaRocco, the flagship of the Amsoil/Chaparral/Factory
Connection effort, posted fifth and fourth place moto scores to claim fifth
overall on the day. LaRocco, who missed most of the Supercross season due
to a shoulder injury, is obviously recovering quickly and his improvement
over his seventh place finish at Glen Helen is proof.
Another Honda rider to show an improvement over his round one placing is
Nathan Ramsey. The CRF450R pilot, who is on the comeback from a broken
femur, turned in 12th and 13th place finishes at Hangtown, which was good
enough for 10th overall.
"I went 29 and 25 for 28th overall last weekend," explained Ramsey. "Even
though it was my first race of the year, it wasn't the result I was looking
for. Tenth place isn't really the result I'm looking for either, but it
shows that I'm getting back in the game.
"I'm no mathematician," continued Ramsey in a joking fashion, "but I figure
at the rate I'm going, I should finish in the top five next weekend. That's
what I'm capable of."
Capable of a better showing than 18th overall was Ernesto Fonseca, who
completed the opening lap of the first moto in 20th place. From there
Fonseca steadily worked his way up to 13th by the completion of the 15th
and final lap. Fonseca was unable to complete the second moto, due to a
crash on the first lap that resulted in a broken throttle cable which
prevented him from continuing. He was credited with a 39th place finish.
In 125 action, Amsoil/Chaparral/Factory Connection's Chris Gosselaar was
the highest ranking Honda rider with sixth and 17th place moto scores,
finishing tenth overall. His Factory Connection teammates Ryan Mills and
Michael Byrne finished 19th and 20th overall respectively.
With the dry California rounds now complete, the AMA Motocross
Championship's next stop is on May 25 at High Point Raceway in the humid
climate of Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. In addition to his 250cc class win
last year, Carmichael has won the 125-class at High Point Raceway twice.
Coincidentally Honda Motocross Team Manager, Erik Kehoe has also won the
eighth-liter class at the often muddy race track. On May 26, 1985 Kehoe won
the Mount Morris event and broke a two-race win streak set by Factory
Honda's Ron Lechien. Lechien and his Honda CR125 won seven of ten AMA 125cc
National Motocross races that year, taking home the championship to Honda.
Meanwhile, Kehoe finished the series runner-up.
250 Overall Results:
1. Ricky Carmichael (2,1) - Honda
2. Chad Reed (4,2) - Yamaha
3. Tim Ferry (3,3) - Yamaha
4. Kevin Windham (1,6) - Honda
5. Mike LaRocco (5,4) - Honda
8. Larry Ward (17,5) - Honda
10. Nathan Ramsey (12,13) - Honda
14. Kyle Lewis (18,12) - Honda
18. Ernesto Fonseca (13,39) - Honda
20. Jason Thomas (20,15) - Honda
250 AMA Motocross Points Standings:
1. Ricky Carmichael - Honda - 97
2. Chad Reed - Yamaha - 82
3. Tim Ferry - Yamaha - 76
4. Kevin Windham - Honda - 69
5. Mike LaRocco - Honda - 61
7. Larry Ward - Honda - 47
14. Kyle Lewis - Honda - 28
15. Ernesto Fonseca - Honda - 27
17. Nathan Ramsey - Honda - 17
125 Overall Results:
1. Ryan Hughes (1,1) - KTM
2. Eric Sorby (3, 2) - Kawasaki
3. Mike Brown (2, 3) - Kawasaki
4. Ivan Tedesco (4,6) - Yamaha
5. Grant Langston (8,4) ? KTM
10. Chris Gosselaar (6, 17) - Honda
15. Tim Weigand (15,16) - Honda
19. Ryan Mills (16,19) - Honda
20. Michael Byrne (40,15) - Honda
125 AMA Motocross Point Standings:
1. Mike Brown - Kawasaki - 89
2. Ryan Hughes -KTM - 88
3. (Tie) Eric Sorby - Kawasaki/Grant Langston - KTM - 76
5. Brock Sellards - Yamaha - 57
9. (Tie) Chris Gosselaar - Honda/Ivan Tedesco - Yamaha - 42
14. (Tie) Michael Byrne - Honda/Andrew Short - Suzuki - 20
18. (Tie) Tim Weigand - Honda/Daryl Hurley - Suzuki - 15