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Bench Racing Ammo: First-Time Winners at High Point

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As the ink is still drying on the AMA record book from the 30th running of the High Point National, we really aren’t surprised of the outcome of the 450 class. Ricky Carmichael going 1-1 at High Point is like Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France: it’s just expected (although James Stewart had him rattled in the first moto).

As for the 250F class, for the second year in a row, the High Point huge crowd witnessed another first-time winner in Toyota AMA National Motocross as Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto went 2-1 for the overall, etching his name in the books among several other High Point first-time winners. With that in mind, let’s look back on some of the other riders who took their first national victory here in Mt. Morris, PA.

Chuck Sun on his way to victory in 1980
photo: Dick MillerArchives
In 1980 it was Oregon’s Chuck Sun taking his first national victory in the 500cc class at High Point on a Honda CR500R, which basically began his run toward that AMA National Motocross Championship. Sun came back to High Point this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary in the vintage bike show on Sunday and rode a 1980 bike with the #63.

RJ took his first 250cc MX win here in '82
photo: Dick Miller Archives
Ricky Johnson has a lot of 250cc motocross victories – 22 – but the first of his career came in 1982 here at High Point on a Yamaha. He seemed to be on the way to the title, only to have his wheel collapse at the last race in Colorado, helping Donnie Hansen to the title.

Coming back to High Point each year is bittersweet for Honda team manager Erik Kehoe because although he sustained a career-ending injury here in 1994 while riding for Honda of Troy, he also took the first of his seven career MX victories here in 1985 while riding for Team Suzuki.

Micky Dymond in '86
photo: Kinney Jones
High Point was good to Team Honda’s Micky Dymond throughout his motocross career. In 1986 he got his first outdoor national victory here and went on to win two more races and the 125cc national championship. He won High Point again the following year on his way to his second 125cc AMA National Championship.

Michigan’s Brian Swink may have 12 125cc supercross victories and two 125cc Eastern Regional championships to his name, but the Swinkster only has one outdoor national victory. It came here in Mt. Morris in 1991, when he wore #42 on a super-fast Peak/Pro Circuit Honda.

Florida’s Tim Ferry has one 250cc and one 125cc national victory on his resume. His only 250cc national win came at Glen Helen in 2001; his lone 125cc national victory came at High Point in 1995 while riding for Suzuki.

In 1996, New Yorker Scott Sheak put in an amazing ride at High Point as a Suzuki privateer and went 1-7 for second overall. He redeemed himself the following year and went 1-1 for the first and only major victory of his career.

Yet another Michigander making history at High Point was Kelly Smith, who got his and KTM’s first victory in America on the muddy Mt. Morris course in 2000, going 1-4 to earn the 125 National overall here.

Chad Reed's only AMA National victory came at High Point in 2002
photo: Simon Cudby
In his first year racing full-time in America in 2002, Chad Reed took the East Region supercross championship on a Yamaha of Troy-backed YZ250F and also took his first and only outdoor national victory so far here in Mt. Morris.

Red Bull KTM's Mike Alessi won here last year
photo: Simon Cudby
KTM helped another rider get his first national victory here at High Point last year as young Mike Alessi went 1-2 for the overall, trailing the veteran Mike Brown home in the second moto.

Villopoto was the latest rider to notch his first AMA National victory at High Point
photo: Matt Ware
And finally, in the 30th running of this storied event, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto was able to secure his first national victory with a 2-1. It was an impressive performance by the Washington rookie, who showed heart and determination in his charge to the front in both motos. If he can work on his starts, Villopoto will be hard to beat. After all, this was the first time he ever laid a wheel on High Point Raceway!

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