Kawasaki/Racer X Race Report

April 29, 2006 10:38pm

Coming into the final race of the Western Regional 250F class with only four points separating the top two title contenders, the stage was set for a very exciting evening. Team Honda’s Andrew Short, gunning for his first championship as a professional, held a narrow four-point margin over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Grant Langston, the defending Eastern Regional 250F champ. And in the 450 class, there were only two points separating Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael and Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed. Sound exciting? Well, not enough for good ol’ Mother Nature, who really flexed her muscles today in Seattle. After a gray and gloomy morning, the skies finally opened up and saturated Qwest Field, creating a sloppy, soupy course for these riders to navigate.

Grant Langston is a regional 250F champion - again! Only this time it's on the West Coast.

photo: Matt Ware

Mud is the great equalizer in dirt-bike racing, and this evening was no exception. In the 450 qualifiers, SoCal Yamaha’s Jiri Dostal passed and pulled away from Sobe/Samsung Mobile’s Kevin Windham, who barely survived a last-lap surge from privateer Honda rider and Washington native Greg Crater. (It was the first time Crater has ever qualified for the main event). In the LCQ we saw Dostal’s SoCal teammate, #337 Jacob Marsack, pass and pull away from Team Yamaha’s Heath Voss. It was a good night for some privateers and an even better night for some factory riders.

Due to the rain, the 250F main event was cut from 15 laps to 12, making the start much more important. Team KTM’s Mike Alessi pulled the holeshot but was followed closely by teammate Nathan Ramsey, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit teammates of Langston and Villopoto, and Honda’s Andrew Short. After the first rhythm section, though, Nathan Ramsey fell over in a corner, causing Short to get jammed up behind him. At the end of the first lap it was Alessi, Villopoto, Langston, Yamaha of Troy’s Brett Metcalfe, and Short, and it was going to take some work for Short to catch up to Langston. That running order wouldn’t last long, as Alessi crashed on lap two, handing the lead to Villopoto. After crossing the finish line on lap two, Villopoto quickly started the team tactics as he looked over his shoulder, slowed down, and let his teammate Langston go by. But it didn’t matter tonight. On the next lap, Andrew Short made a grave mistake as he cross-rutted in the whoop section and shot off the side of the track, essentially ending his hopes for his first championship. Langston rode a consistent, mistake-free race to become the third rider in AMA history to win both regional supercross championships. Villopoto

James Stewart led all 15 laps of the muddy main event

photo: Matt Ware

came across in second for a Pro Circuit one-two punch. Rounding out the podium was Rockstar Suzuki's Jason Lawrence - his first-career supercross podium. Congratulations to Mitch Payton, Grant Langston, and the entire crew over at the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit team.

In the 450 class it was MDKMotorsport.com’s Nick Wey pulling the Progressive Direct holeshot, but it didn’t last long as the #7 Kawasaki of James Stewart quickly jumped into the lead. It was a shuffle for second place throughout the first two laps, but it was Yamaha’s Chad Reed who would secure that position. As for the current points leader, Ricky Carmichael, he rounded lap one in ninth spot and then made a mistake, falling to 14th. It was do or die for the storied veteran, but as he has done so many times in the past, he put his head down and charged. He methodically worked his way through the pack, pulling tearoffs and dodging roost, knowing he needed to salvage points as his opponents raced away. And then on lap eight Carmichael made one of the best saves ever. He cross-rutted and got spit off the track, but miraculously he didn’t go down. Although he lost a position to Honda’s Travis Preston, Carmichael was still in the hunt for a podium position. He repassed Preston, caught and passed Wey, and secured third position behind Stewart and Reed.

As it stands, Yamaha's Chad Reed is now tied with Ricky Carmichael for the AMA points lead!

photo: Matt Ware

So, as it stands, Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed are tied (TIED!) with 316 points going into the season finale in Las Vegas. And James Stewart sits in third, five points back. Through 15 rounds of Amp’d Mobile Supercross, which included a fair share of crashes, mistakes, and injuries, there is no doubt that the 2006 Amp’d Mobile Supercross Series will go down in history as the greatest season in history! If you’re not going to Las Vegas (and you should be), at least you can catch it next week live (LIVE!) on SPEED. It’s going to be a great one.