Monday, July 2, 2007

Ricky takes Red Bud in dramatic Fashion

Reeeeeeeeeeeddd Buuuuuuuuuuuuuud! One of the most memorable tracks in all of motocross was the site for the 5th round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Nationals, presented by FMF. Man what a weekend! Some good racing, some unexpected factors, and some really really really bizarre stuff. We’ll start with the Lites class.
Ryan Villopoto is starting a win streak, a very dominant win streak. He has led all but 6 laps in the past 4 motos! That’s impressive. He continued his dominance today at Red Bud, blowing away the rest of the field in Moto 1, and then in Moto number 2, the young Washington native, caught, passed, and gapped the kiwi, Ben Townley. Villopoto has really been displaying his true riding abilities these past 2 rounds. The first 3, Ryan and Ben were battling very hard, and each one looked impressive to say the least. These 2 Kawasaki backed riders are without a doubt on top of their game.
Ryan Dungey had a bit of a fall in practice on Saturday and had to leave after he was knocked out. Sadly he failed to show up ready to ride on Sunday and was absent from the racing action. Josh Grant picked up 3rd overall above Jason Lawrence who was fast as usual, but just didn’t put it all together when it came time to race. He’s one of the Lites riders that I really root for, so I’m hoping he’ll pick up at least a moto win before the end of the season. GOOD LUCK JASON. Another Yamaha rider who seems to be having a hard time is Josh Hill. I grew up watching Josh Hill in Oregon, so he’s kind of my hometown hero. Trust me guys; this dude has some serious speed. Just give him time.
Now to the premier class; Ricky Carmichael was chasing his 101st overall win of his outdoor career. Just like the previous week in Budds Creek, Ricky’s day wasn’t anywhere close to perfect. The first moto was very uncharacteristic for RC, as he made multiple mistakes that ultimately cost him the moto win. He had caught James Stewart, but blew up a few corners and found himself on the runner up spot by the end of moto one. Now I just got done watching Moto number 2 on Speed Channel, who has been doing an excellent job of same day coverage of the outdoor nationals, and let me tell you, I’m still in a little bit of shock. First off, Mike Alessi holeshoted BOTH motos then proceeded to lead a pretty impressive number of laps. It took both Ricky and James quite a bit of effort to get around the Red Bull KTM rookie. Great job Mike. I don’t think a lot of people had expected Alessi to ride that strongly this season. I guess he has the boys at KTM to thank for sending him one of David Phillipaerts shocks. Anyway back to the action. Ricky had a pretty terrible start, and it took him around 12 minutes to catch up to James. But with a good deal of time left, Ricky found himself inside a comfortable gap of Hubba Bubba. Ricky struggled a little bit, switching up his lines a lot and making a few mistakes here and there, but he slowly inched up to James. The biggest factor was time. It took Rick so long to get his ass up to the front, that it looked as if he might not get him. Then one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in motocross happened with about 2 minutes to go in regulation time (not counting the final 2 laps). James Stewart went into a tight right hander, and clipped his front brake on a hay bale on the inside of the corner, and locked up the front and did a full on endo right in the middle of the turn! I couldn’t believe my eyes. So close to sweeping RC 1-1, and he stuffs it. It was truly a gift to Ricky, as I honestly cannot say that it was for sure that he was fast enough to catch James. As I was watching the race, I was observing each riders riding styles, and it seemed as if for some reason, at Red Bud the roles were reversed. Bubba looked calm cool and collected, was taking smart lines, and seemed like he had the endurance. But on the other hand Ricky was riding with a lot more style, scrubbing all the jumps, throwing some huge whips over Laroccos Leap, and railing the outside berms, feet on or off the pegs, it didn’t matter. In the end, Ricky did get his 101st AMA outdoor victory, a record that I think could stand forever. Ricky is the G.O.A.T. hands down, but I think he might not have been the fastest man this weekend in Michigan. He has one more go around, before the Des Nations in September, at Millville. Then it’s off to Budds Creek for the Olympics of Motocross. Cant’ wait, and big shout out to Ricky and James for some great racing!

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