In the first moto, Carmichael was able to get past just before the two-lap board came out and win. In the second moto he got into the lead at the same point, but Stewart kept the heat on throughout the next lap, and then, something gave. Carmichael got out of shape heading into a big single jump at the end of a whoop section, and came unglued from his Suzuki at the very top. It was a scary moment as the champ went flying, but he was able to land softly and recover to at least finish second. But at that point, Stewart was past and gone and headed to a 2-1 score and his second win of the season.
“It was a hard road to get here, having all of the injuries I had and
“I’m so bummed out,” said Carmichael. “But you know what, that’s racing and life goes on. We had a great battle. But we work so hard during the week, to have the lead like that and not get it, it’s a bummer."
The Carmichael fans were bummed out, too, but it was hard to be too upset considering how good the racing was. Surely they’ll be back at it at Millville.
For the record, Carmichael did come from way back in both motos and he was obviously running faster lap times. But Stewart showed the fight needed to turn the tables. Carmichael started just inside the top ten in moto one, while Stewart made his way past Davi Millsaps, who had grabbed another Racer X holeshot, and Chad Reed, who was going fast but tipped over while leading. Carmichael eventually reeled Stewart in, but Stewart just wouldn’t let him get around. Then Carmichael made an aggressive pass and bumped Stewart accidentally, and Stewart repaid the favor by knifing back inside and bumping Carmichael back. “I knew I had that coming back to me,” said Carmichael. “I don’t like to race like that so he got me back.”
“He said he was sorry to me after the moto,” said Stewart.
Stewart’s payback on the block pass put him out front, but Carmichael was able to execute a move in the back section and take the lead just as the two-lap board came out. He held on to win by just over a second.
“I’ve just been off the pace all year and I’m trying everything I can to get up there,” said Reed. “I just ran as hard as I could until I couldn’t hang on any more. Then I just tried to get it home.”
Reed went 3-3 for third.
Meanwhile Carmichael set out after Stewart again, and he was catching him slowly. Stewart had one more super-fast lap in him and maintained the gap briefly when it was down to three seconds, but Carmichael was able to keep it going and get to him. Then Ricky dove inside near the mechanics area and took the lead with two laps to go.
“I felt that was a strong point for me, I was able to get good grip on the inside by the mechanics and turn in there,” said Carmichael.
But Stewart wouldn’t give up. He launched incredibly far off of the Scott ski jump and almost got RC back. Then he scrubbed hard over the big single and momentarily got the lead back, only for Carmichael to squirt back past. When they got to that jump on the next lap, Carmichael lost control and crashed.
Either way, it was an amazing ride for both.
The bad luck for RV opened the door for Mike Alessi, who finished third behind Short and Josh Grant in moto one to take the series points lead back from Villopoto. In moto two, Villopoto had to deal with a terrible gate pick, and Short got out front early while RV worked his way into second. Villopoto tried to catch him, but Short’s lap times were every bit the match for the young Washington rider, and Short held on for the win.
“I’m glad Shorty won it with the way things worked out for him in Colorado,” said Villopoto. “We had some bike problems, nothing we could do about that.”
“It was a bummer last weekend, but that’s racing,” said Short. “I want to give a big thanks out to my mechanic Losch, who has really been stressing this week.”
Grant went 2-3 for second overall and Alessi went 3-4 for third, giving him a very small points lead again over Villopoto.
Both classes are competitive again. After all, Alessi has regained the points lead over Villopoto, 315-312. But you can't count out Andy Short, who sits in third with 280 points. We'll do it again in two weeks, shall we?