Monday, July 2, 2007

Ricky Gets 100!

Budds Creek is the sight for the 4th round of the AMA nationals on Sunday, and was a sort of preview of the upcoming Moto Des Nations. And to thicken the plot even more, Ricky Carmichael was chasing his 100th outdoor motocross victory! Jonathon Beasley had spent months preparing the Budds Creek race course, and even had an accident on his utility quad, and ended up with a broken hip. But come race day, the track looked great, and the fans were excited to see history. Who wouldn’t want to see the G.O.A.T. go for number 100?
The Lites class saw Ryan Villopoto run away with motos, leading every single lap, and making the rest of the class look like amateurs. Ok maybe not amateurs but, Ryan was on a whole other level. Ben Townley went 2-2 and J-Law went 3-3. Pretty basic racing, although the second moto had a great battle between Jason Lawrence, Josh Grant, and the rook, Ryan Dungey. They were 3 wide in some corners, and must have swapped positions close to 20 times. It was a great battle, and Lawrence walked away the winner of that battle, taking 3rd overall.
The real focus of the day was the 450 class. With Chad Reed making his Des Nations practice race, and Ricky chasing a Franklin, not to many people were sitting down when the gate dropped in the 450 class. The first moto was underway before we knew it, and the racing was brilliant. James Stewart got out to an early lead, and looked fast! He had an open track, and looked very comfortable. On the other hand, RC had a bit of trouble off the start but found himself in the runner up spot within a few minutes of the opening moto. A few mistakes would halt his come from behind win, but it looked inevitable. Then disaster struck. Ricky took a right hander before a big uphill right next to the mechanics area, and ripped off his goggles in disgust. Apparently, the lens from his Oakley’s were hit by a rock from Bubba’s tire, and popped out. Ricky stuck close for a while but eventually dropped back and secured second. Both riders almost threw it away in the first moto, when Ricky almost endo’d over a table top, and Bubba launched himself down Henry’s Hill and almost landed on Jason Thomas. Scary stuff. After the moto was over, Ricky let his goggle man have it! Now I’ve seen Ricky get mad in his career, but this was something else. The dude was steaming out the ears, and I guess I can’t really blame him.
But luckily there are 2 motos in outdoor motocross, and the second moto would see the same setup, almost exactly the same actually. James was out in an early lead, Ricky struggled, blah blah blah. With plenty of time left in the moto, Ricky found himself sniffing James Stewart’s exhaust pipe, as he followed him for about 9 laps or so. But the problem was, Ricky couldn’t get by. The track had one fast line, and one fast line only, and Bubba was in control of that line. Ricky pulled out all the stops as he tried to make up time everywhere. In one instance, Bubba pushed Ricky all the way wide, and off the track. But RC would make up that time and pull right back to Bubba’s rear wheel. Then it finally happened. Ricky Made a dramatic pass on an uphill right to left hander. The crowd went nuts! Even I watching on my big screen was jumping up and down, screaming at Ricky! It was a great pass, and a great race, and Bubba really made him earn that 100th win. After the race, Ricky dawned the new Fox 100 win T-shirt. It all was sort of ruined for me when James got on the podium and started making excuses that he didn’t feel good. Bubba needs to learn how to except defeat, and just work hard and comeback stronger. That’s what Ricky does. Ricky never blames anyone but himself, and James needs to learn a thing or 2 from RC.
But enough of that, the Budds Creek National was exciting to say the least. Great racing, great weather, great track (well almost) and great fans. I say almost because a lot of the riders had a few harsh words to say in the post race conference about the future site of the Motocross of Nations. Ricky was furious, saying the track was “one lined” and the soil was “deteriorating” and all in all, he hated the track. Everybody knows Jonathon put his heart and soul into that track, and for Ricky to completely cut him down like that was a little un-called for. Carmichael even apologized later on. But he was right about the track. There was only one fast line around the entire track, and looking back on it, I’m surprised that Ricky even made a pass in the first place. Lets all pray that the boys in Maryland make some provisions to the track before September.

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