YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

This Guy Keeps Rolling Along

Carmichael picks up where he left off last year, winning both motos in opening event of AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship.

May 12, 2003|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

After a record-setting season in which he won every moto in every event, history was bound to catch up with Ricky Carmichael.

But the best motocross rider in the world is, indeed, still the best motocross rider in the world, withstanding a challenge from a budding rival as well as an old one.

Carmichael, who won all 24 motos in the 12 events of last season aboard his Factory Honda, opened defense of his three consecutive titles in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship on Sunday in front of 22,570 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, and extended those records with a dominating performance.

Carmichael, 23, from Havana, Fla., won both motos -- each 30 minutes plus two laps -- to get the maximum 25 points from each, and finish ahead of the Yamaha tandem of Chad Reed (42 points) and Tim Ferry (36), and Suzuki's Ezra Lusk (34).

The budding rival, the Australian Reed, lost the Supercross title to Carmichael last week by seven points but closed with six consecutive victories in the indoor season. He was no match outdoors, though, finishing a distant second in the first moto and third in the second moto, more than 31 seconds behind on the treacherous 26-turn rollercoaster-like layout.

The old rival that Carmichael defeated was Kevin Windham, the last man to beat Carmichael straight-up in a national event. In fact, Carmichael has won 15 in a row dating to Windham's victory July 29, 2001, at Washougal, Wash. Windham didn't race last season because of a broken leg and a short retirement.

Windham, who lost the 125cc championship to Carmichael in 1997, led by more than eight seconds in the first moto when he fell on the fifth of 14 laps.

"He was gone," Carmichael said. "Unfortunately, he fell down; things might have been a little bit different."

Windham dropped to 16th place before restarting his motorcycle, and finished 14th. Coupled with his second moto, he finished fifth overall for Factory Connection Honda.

"I definitely wanted to beat him," said Windham, who also led the first three laps of the second moto. "Everyone wants to beat him because he has such an amazing record.

"This is only my first race back. If I can lead in my first moto, it's only going to get better."

Travis Pastrana, 18, injured a knee that had been rebuilt a year ago. He withdrew during the first moto, and Team Suzuki team manager Roger DeCoster indicated it is a career-threatening injury.

The oft-injured Pastrana has been a pro for four years but has completed only one full season, his first, in the 125cc outdoor nationals in which he won the title.

The 125cc division was won by Kawasaki rider Mike Brown, who had first- and second-place finishes for 47 points. He was followed by KTM riders Grant Langston, who won the second moto, and Ryan Hughes.

Los Angeles Times Articles