WINDHAM TAKES RC, STEWART FULL STEAM AHEAD
By Steve Bruhn/TFS
Amsoil/Chaparral Honda’s Kevin Windham ended the longest and mostimpressive win streak in professional motocross history by finishing 1-1 overRicky Carmichael, who hasn’t lost an overall in outdoor motocross for almosttwo years. Carmichael had won the last 21 overalls, an unprecedented record.
Windham used his Honda 450s 4-stroke power to his best advantagein both motos. He started with two holeshots, which gave him a clear track,something, his rivals dread. Windham is known for checking out when he gets aclear track, and that is just what he did in the first moto. Carmichael wasjust inside the top ten after one lap and charged up to second, but Windham waslong gone by the time he got there.
In moto 2, both Windham and Carmichael made it around the firstturn first, and this set up a moto-long high speed chase for the overall. Windhamstayed enough ahead of Carmichael to keep him from making a pass, even thoughlate in the moto Carmichael poured it on and gave Windham plenty of pressure. Yamaha’sTim Ferry was third overall with a couple of thirds. The rest of Yamaha’s teamfollowed, with David Vuillemin 4th, and Chad Reed 5th.
Ferry was happy to get a better finish than the last race, andagreed the 4-strokes had an advantage. "It was a lot better than RedBud," he said, "I had two consistent motos and I haven’t done thatsince Mount Morris. It has been up and down for me. My bike worked well todayand Kevin rode well all weekend. Unadilla is a 4-stroke track. It’s fast andit’s slippery. Four strokes definitely favor this track. It is really rockyhere. I remember racing in 1991 when I first turned pro and it was really softand loamy. Now it is more hard packed."
Carmichael is known for not being too happy when he loses, butthis time he was a good sport and seemed happy enough he gave Windham all hecould handle. "I am notdisappointed at all," said the defending champ, "Kevin rode greattoday. If anything I am pumped on the way I rode. The guy was unreal today, soI am happy with the way I did. I knew he was going to be good here. Number one,he is a good rider. His bike is good, especially on this track. I knew I wouldhave my work cut out for me. He did great. I felt good about today. Obviously Iwould have liked to have won, but on the other hand I don’t want to get greedy.I am just having fun racing and it was fun battling it out with Kevin in thesecond moto. It was fun for both of us. I got second today and it’s no bigdeal."
Carmichael was on a 250 2-stroke, which is thought to have adisadvantage at this fast, rocky track. The next 2-stroke in the results wasChad Reed in 5th. "A track like this requires a lot of horsepower and it’sslippery and it favors a 4-stroke," said Carmichael, "I would like torace one here next year just to see if it would be any better. Maybe itwouldn’t be better for me. If it were better, I would be racing it. I had thechoice to but for me it doesn’t suit my style."
"Today was unbelievable," said Windham, who was the lastone to beat Carmichael in an outdoor motocross, and that was Washougal in 2001,"I had good lap times all weekend, Saturday and even today. It was weirdbecause in the situation I am in, I actually feel pressure from that. I knewthat today it was possible. It has been such an unbelievable run for Ricky, Ithink it became that much obviously to me on the hot lap what (he) has done. Rickyis a great competitor and I learned something from him today. Whether I win orloose I still learn something from him. If you kick him while he’s down he justgets up and goes and goes and goes. That is why he is a great champion."
Carmichael knows the way to beat Windham in a race is pressure himinto making a mistake, but this time Windham didn’t bend. Windham talked aboutthe pressure in moto 2. "(On the last laps) I just kept thinking over andover, ‘don’t screw up,’ he said, "That is the one thing I had to focus on.This track is very tricky. The pressure builds lap after lap, especially withRicky behind you. He doesn’t make it easier."
James "Bubba" Stewart dominated the 125 class atUnadilla, making his outdoor season perfect at least for the races he didn’tmiss due to injury. Even a broken front brake didn’t slow him enough in thefirst moto to let anyone else keep up.
KTM’s Grant Langston, who said after the race Stewart’s speed was"frightening," was second overall and made up enough points to getjust one point from Mike Brown for the series. Langston’s KTM teammate RyanHughes also had a good day with a third overall, even though he wasn’t 100% dueto a broken ankle from Southwick. Hughes got a break from another KTM teammateBrett Metcalfe, who let Hughes by in moto 2 when Hughes started to fade. Hughes,currently third in points, is still in the running for the championship.
Stewart got the lead immediately in moto 1 and started checkingout at an incredible rate in the first moto, only to lose his huge lead with afall that broke his front brake. He got back up just ahead of Langston, andstill in the lead, held off Langston for several laps before he started pullingaway again for the win.
In moto 2, Stewart was back out front and gone again after just 2laps, and won by a huge margin. The best race in this moto was between KTMteammates Hughes, Metcalfe, and Langston.
"It was good coming off where I came from in the last race,"said Hughes, "The week was tough. The whole week (my leg) hurt like hell. Itook some Celebrex this weekend and it made a huge difference. All weekend ithurt every time I rode. The first moto went good. The second moto I was upthere but I just don’t have the riding fitness right now. On my bicycle itsgood but on the motorcycle I have to gain back what I lost. It will come."
Langston was happy enough to finish second to Stewart and make upsome points on Brown. "This is the third time I have been second thisyear," he said, "I am happy with second. I have been struggling withmixed results. I went 3-2 today and gained in series points. Right now that isimportant. It was actually a lot of fun out there even though the track wasslick and it was easy to fall. There was once or twice where I almost fell butI kept it on two wheels. It is always good to be able to race aggressively butkeep it clean. I think at the point I made the pass, Ryno was getting a littletired. We had our teammate Metcalfe behind us too. I made a good clean pass andput my head down a little bit."
Sometimes you never know if you want to believe what Stewart saysin post-race press conferences. He explained his first moto fall that broke hisfront brake as a distraction over lunch. "The reason I fell is I washungry and I was thinking about what I was going to eat after the race,"he said, "After the first moto I went back and ate so I was good. I lookeddown when I crashed and saw I wasn’t going to have a front break. I knew Grantwanted to get around me but I was going to make him work for it."
Stewart has a lot of points to make up for the title since himissed the first 4 rounds, but he is moving his way up the points. "I wentfrom 12th in points to 6th so we will see," he said, "I am not reallylooking at the championship right now, I just want to win some races."
250 CLASS RESULTS
1. Kevin Windham, Centreville, MS., Honda (1-1)
2. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL., Honda, (2-2)
3. Timmy Ferry, Largo, FL., Yamaha (3-3)
4. David Vuillemin, Corona, Ca., Yamaha (5-4)
5. Chad Reed, Menifee, Ca., Yamaha, (6-5)
6. Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, FL., Kawasaki (4-9)
7. Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN., Honda (7-7)
8. Jean Sebastien Roy, Acton Vale, QC., (12-6)
9. Kyle Lewis, Henderson, NV., Honda (9-10)
10. John Dowd, Ludlow, Ma., KTM, (8-11)
250 CLASS SERIES STANDINGS
1. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL., Honda, 338 pts
2. Kevin Windham, Centreville, MS., Honda 285 pts
3. Chad Reed, Menifee, Ca., Yamaha, 255 pts
4. Timmy Ferry, Largo, FL., Yamaha 242 pts
5. Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN., Honda 198 pts
6. David Vuillemin, Corona, Ca., Yamaha 179 pts
7. Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, FL., Kawasaki 177 pts
8. John Dowd, Ludlow, Ma., KTM, 156 pts
9. Ernesto Fonseca, Costa Rica, Honda 135 pts
10. Larry Ward, Florence, SC., Honda 131 pts
125 CLASS RESULTS
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fl., Kawasaki, (1-1)
2. Grant Langston, Temecula, CA., KTM (3-2)
3. Ryan Hughes, Temecula, CA., KTM (4-4)
4. Mike Brown, Johnson City, TN., Kawasaki (7-3)
5. Brett Metcalfe, Temecula, Ca., KTM (5-5)
6. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki (2-11)
7. Craig Anderson, Corona, Ca., Yamaha (8-7)
8. Michael Byrne, Australia, Honda (6-9)
9. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mi., Yamaha(10-8)
10. Ivan Tedesco, Lake Elsinore, Ca., Yamaha (16-6)
125 CLASS SERIES STANDINGS
1. Mike Brown, Johnson City, TN., Kawasaki, 249 pts
2. Grant Langston, Temecula, CA., KTM, 248 pts
3. Ryan Hughes, Temecula, CA., KTM, 216 pts
4. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, OH., Yamaha, 167 pts
5. Eric Sorby, Murrieta, CA., Kawasaki, 160 pts
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fl., Kawasaki, 150 pts
7. Brett Metcalfe, Temecula, Ca., KTM, 150 pts
8. Ivan Tedesco, Lake Elsinore, Ca., Yamaha, 149 pts
9. Michael Byrne, Australia, Honda, 147 pts
10. Craig Anderson, Corona, Ca., Yamaha 143 pts