Way back in the day, the Suzuki team used to run a rising sun logo on their bikes. The logo is gone, but the spirit is still there, because once the sun came out from the bleak skies in up state New York, Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael and Broc Hepler each notched their second-straight wins in the AMA/Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF.
And then Steve Whitelock handed Ricky another number-one plate, and the fans went nuts and Ricky said he was happy and on it went.
With his visor bent back, Carmichael ratcheted himself up and put on a charge. He logged a lap a full three seconds faster than Stewart and caught him, but then, like at Washougal, Stewart seemed to up his pace and made it tough for RC to pass. “It’s actually really fun to race like that,” said Stewart. “I know we’re going to race clean, and I’m kind of getting used to it. Once he caught me I felt pretty good, I upped my pace and changed my lines a little bit. He was riding strong all weekend, and when I came past him, I knew he wouldn’t be too far behind. I tried and I’m doing my best.”
Just like at Washougal, Stewart did everything he could to hold Carmichael back, but this time Carmichael had much more time to work a pass. He finally did it on an outside line heading toward the Broome-Tioga supercross section.
“That was a good race,” said Carmichael. “Me and James have been having some sweet battles lately, and dude, it’s just so much fun. And we go back and forth, sometimes he gets the best of me and sometimes I get the best of him. I was able to get up and get back on him, and we put a good show on for the fans, I could hear you guys screaming the whole way around. I could tell he picked it up once I got to him, but I was able to get around him and it was just survival from there.
Carmichael ended up with one more scare, when his front tire started going flat late in the race, but he was still able to carry it home. “That was the first flat tire I’ve ever had in my racing career,” said Carmichael.
Windham finished third again, one of his stronger performances of the season. “I have to give credit to the team,” said Windham. “I’ve really been struggling, and feeling kind of down on my rides. We made some changes to the bike, on the suspension, and it made a huge difference. I was able to put the bike wherever I want it.”
So now it was Ryan Villopoto’s and Andrew Short’s turn to take advantage of some Alessi misfortune. But both were way, way in the back after getting stuck in a big first-turn pileup. They put on huge charge, with RV making it all the way back to fourth and Short to seventh. This put Villopoto back into the points lead.
But Hepler was back in the lead on the track. He assumed the spot after Alessi hit the deck. Matt Walker rode his best moto of the year early on running in second, but the big shocker was rookie Josh Hill running faster lap times than everyone while he battled up to third. Then he passed Walker and finished second, an amazing performance in his third-ever pro moto. Troy Adams also took his first podium with a third.
“Those guys smoked me in the second moto, I was getting a lot of wheelspin and they got away,” said Hepler. “But I’m happy to get another win. I’m not here to help anyone in the points, I’m just trying to do the best I can for myself.”
Alessi was fourth, which dropped him a full 20 points down on RV. And Hill finished fifth, good enough for third overall.
Look at the Lites class and it’s clear the future of this sport is bright, kind of like the bikes the took both wins at Binghamton.