PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 30, 2006) –The 2006 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF will come to an exciting conclusion this Sunday, Sept. 10 at the Giant RV Glen Helen National at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif.
The biggest story at Glen Helen this weekend will be the battle for the AMA Motocross Lites Championship. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., is on the verge of winning the title in his first full season of professional racing. Villopoto leads Victorville, California’s Mike Alessi by 29 points going into the final round.
Alessi, who rides for Red Bull KTM, still has a shot at winning the Lites championship, but he’ll need a little luck on his side to do so.
Last year Glen Helen was the site of a dramatic last round. Like Villopoto, Ivan Tedesco looked to have a lock on what was then called the 125 title. But a crash in the first moto left him with no points and the championship was again up for grabs. Tedesco recovered to finish ahead of Alessi to clinch the championship, but not without a lot of drama.
Villopoto is hoping to avoid the nerve-wracking path that Tedesco took to the championship last year.
“I’m going into Glen Helen hoping to ride like I have all season. I want to go into the race and have a real solid first moto, and not end up like Ivan last year,” said Villopoto, who has won five events this year. “I’d like to gain enough points the first moto so in the second moto I can just race to race – and not race for the championship,” he added.
If Villopoto wins or finishes second in the first moto at Glen Helen he will clinch the championship.
Villopoto has history on his side at Glen Helen. Kawasaki riders have won seven of the last nine AMA Motocross Lites titles at the challenging track, including the last four.
Makita Suzuki’s Broc Hepler has been on a tear in the class winning the last three events. That’s the longest winning streak in the highly competitive series in two years. If Ricky Carmichael can win the premier class on Sunday, Hepler would like to give Suzuki yet another sweep of both classes.
In the Motocross class Carmichael has already clinched the championship. But there is ample reason for fans to come to the race. It could be their last opportunity to watch Carmichael race motocross in Southern California. The newly crowned champ announced earlier this year that he will retire from full-time competition after this season.
Carmichael is looking to win his sixth AMA Motocross at Glen Helen. The Floridian has won every Glen Helen event since 2000, with the exception of 2001, when Tim Ferry took the victory. He also earned three wins in the 125 class there in the late 1990s.
“Glen Helen is always a challenge,” said Carmichael, who had a spectacular crash at the circuit in 2001. “There have been times that I haven’t had the best luck at that track, but I’ve also had some really good races there and I’d like to go out on a winning note.”
Carmichael will also use the race as preparation for the upcoming Motocross of Nations in England, where he will team with James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto to try to make Team USA the all-time wins leader in MXoN history.
Upgrades abound at Glen Helen this year. Bud Feldkamp and his crew have invested more than $300,000 in track improvements into the popular Southern California facility.
As part of the recently completed renovations to Glen Helen Raceway, this year’s race track utilizes the facility’s elevation, giving fans the ultimate viewing perspective. For the first time in history, the track will traverse the hill behind the scoring tower and race to the top of the ridge dubbed Mt. Whitney.
Glen Helen will be televised on OLN. The Motocross class will first air on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. Motocross Lites will broadcast on Monday, Sept. 18 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
WHAT: The Giant RV Glen Helen National, the final round of the 2006 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF.
WHERE: Glen Helen Raceway in Devore, Calif., take the Devore exit off I-215 just north of San Bernardino and follow signs.
WHEN: Sept. 9-10, 2006
SCHEDULE: Saturday (Sept. 9) - Pro practice, 1:00-3:25 p.m.., Pre-qualifiers 4:00 p.m.; Sunday (Sept. 10) - Practice, 9:00-10:30 a.m. Qualifying, 10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies, 12:30 p.m. Final events start at 1:00 p.m. with two 30-minute, plus two lap motos for each class.
2005 WINNERS: AMA Motocross: Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki). AMA Motocross Lites: Grant Langston (Kawasaki)
TICKETS: Yamaha Dealers sell Sunday Only Tickets with Pits Passes 9 a.m.-12 p.m. for a $3 off discount. General admission tickets are available for Wednesday through Sunday for as little as $40.00 and kids 6-12 years of age are $25. Sunday only tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for kids 6-12. All kids six years of age and under are free. Pit passes for Saturday from Noon-5:00 p.m. are $10, and pit passes for Sunday from 9:00-Noon. Sunday grandstand seating is available for $10.00.