dramatic finish of Amp'd Mobile Supercross just two weeks ago was a
tough act to follow, but Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and Chad Reed
brought great drama and great racing to the Honda Hangtown Motocross
Classic in Sacramento, California, the opening round of the Toyota AMA
Stewart emerged the winner, breaking Carmichael's unprecedented string
of 27 outdoor national overall wins, a win streak that goes all the way
back to mid-season 2003. (That was the year Windham won Washougal and
Unadilla.) Mike Alessi dominated the Lites class, going 1-1 for the day
with only a challenge from Ryan Villopoto in the first moto. It was
Alessi's 18th birthday weekend as well, and he signed on with KTM for
another three years.
Carmichael looked like he had the racing under control in the beginning
with a moto-1 holeshot, but as he went through the second turn, he lost
his front end and tumbled. That mistake put him back to 40th and
kicking his bike, while Reed took off, leading Reynard and Vuillemin.
Soon after, Reed went off the track, handing Reynard a few laps of
glory. Stewart took his turn on the ground as well. It seemed no one
wanted to win this one.
RC charged through the pack at an incredible rate and caught Stewart,
who was busy making up for his own error. The two had a great battle
for several laps, with Stewart ahead most of the time. While this was
going on, Reed was way ahead. RC made a few passes, but Stewart would
respond and pass him back and eventually got away and started gaining
This mistake by RC put him back to 40th on the first lap of the first moto
the crowd on its feet, Stewart caught and passed Reed on the very last
lap for the win. As it would turn out, that pass was critical to get
the overall. The finish was Stewart, Reed, Carmichael, and leading "the
rest" was Vuillemin.
The second moto was RC's chance to make up for what he called a "rookie
mistake." He could win the moto, but a Stewart second-place finish
would still give him the overall. RC simply laid the wood down for the
opening laps, with laps times on his pitboard that showed he was
pulling away at a rate of two or three seconds per lap. RC cruised for
the moto win far ahead of Stewart, then looked down at his leg at a cut
that would need stitches at the Asterisk Medical Center.
Stewart broke a win streak that lasted two and a half seasons. To make
the day even more cool, Bob Hannah was on hand to celebrate his first
national win at Hangtown, 30 years ago to the day. He took his wife,
Terri, a big Stewart fan, into the Kawasaki truck to say hi and
Alessi had his best day so far as a professional, with a solid 1-1 win
in the 250F class. He held off a motivated charge from Ryan Villopoto
in moto 1 and checked out for moto 2. Finishing the podium were Yamaha
of Troy's Australian wing, Andrew McFarlane and Brett Metcalfe.
Grant Langston tried to ride with an injured wrist but DNF'd moto one.
Attendance was really good despite the rain. The Dirt Diggers trucked
in 2,000 tons of sand, which helped a lot, and Dirt Werx pitched in as
well. Some good changes this year: better, flexible track markers, more
room around the tracks for the medical crews, and much better pit
areas. Its going to be a great summer!