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Crash Ends Carmichael's Race

The motocross star bruises his shoulder early, and archrival James Stewart wins the Giant RV Glen Helen National in Devore.

September 11, 2006|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

Motocross star Ricky Carmichael hoped to end his last full season Sunday with arms raised yet again in victory. Instead, he found himself cradling his injured left arm after crashing early in the event at Glen Helen Raceway in Devore.

Carmichael, who had clinched his seventh Toyota AMA Motocross championship in the 250cc class, was leading archrival James Stewart in the first of the day's two races when he crashed on Lap 6, hitting the ground on his left arm and shoulder.

The 26-year-old Havana, Fla., rider got back on his Team Makita Suzuki Racing bike, pulled his arm close and rode alone back to his pit.

An initial examination showed a bruised shoulder but no broken bones, said AMA spokesman Tony Gardea, adding that "they're going to take him home tonight and see a doctor in Tallahassee." Carmichael, the defending winner of the race, was not available for comment.

The mishap enabled Stewart -- a 20-year-old Floridian who has battled Carmichael all year in motocross and supercross series, and who stands as Carmichael's heir apparent -- to easily best the field in both races, or motos, and win the Giant RV Glen Helen National.

"I had a good day," Stewart said, but he added: "I'm bummin'. It's a lot different out there without my buddy Ricky. I just hope he's all right."

After Carmichael's tumble in the first moto, Stewart cruised to a 34-second victory over Kevin Windham of Centreville, Miss., in front of about 25,000 spectators on a warm, breezy day in San Bernardino County. In the second moto, Stewart won by 7.1 seconds over David Millsaps of Cairo, Ga.

Millsaps placed second overall in the event behind Stewart. Travis Preston of Hesperia was third.

It was the third victory in the 12-race motocross season for Stewart and his Kawasaki team. Carmichael won the other nine.

Motocross races take place on large, outdoor circuits such as Glen Helen, while supercross involves races on smaller dirt tracks built inside stadiums.

Carmichael's accident occurred on one of the series' most treacherous courses, with hills that are the among the steepest in the sport.

The Glen Helen layout is 1.75 miles long, and it features three major hills. On one, riders make a sharp vertical climb more than 20 stories high, turn right and immediately plunge down the same hill.

In the first moto, Stewart had just relinquished the lead to Carmichael, and was fighting to get it back, when Carmichael crashed in a tight turn.

"I got back on him, and then he made that small mistake," Stewart said.

In the motocross lites division, for 125cc bikes, Ryan Villopoto of Poulsbo, Wash., won the first moto to clinch the series championship for Kawasaki, and won the second race as well.

Mike Alessi of Victorville was the runner-up in both races for the Red Bull KTM Race team. He also came in second in the series, 35 points behind Villopoto.

This year, Carmichael also won the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross championship for the fifth time. He also has three 125cc titles, giving him 15 AMA championships overall, and 70 career wins.

Carmichael plans to ride in a limited number of races next year, including the season-opening supercross races at Angel Stadium in January, but he's also going to consider driving a NASCAR stock car.


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