Kawasaki/Racer X Race Report

September 11, 2006 8:23am

Kawasaki swept both classes and all four motos at the final round of the 2006 AMA Toyota Motocross Championships Presented by FMF. Team Kawasaki’s James Stewart took both motos at Glen Helen easily, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto grabbed both of his 250F motos, and the 2006 Lites AMA National Championship.  

Bubba leads RC early in Moto 1

Glen Helen was Ricky Carmichael's last "regular" appearance in an AMA championship motocross. Even though he technically went out on top by clinching the title two races early at Binghamton, he obviously wanted to keep winning and finish the season on a high note. Instead, his day ended in an X-ray room after a frightening crash. He was soon in a flight back home with Kevin Windham (they were sharing a plane already) and not really knowing if his injury will keep him from racing at the Motcross des Nations in two weeks. 

Stewart got the holeshot in moto 1, and it didn't take long for the moto to become a classic RC/Stewart battle. Stewart had plenty of fight in him, and the two went at it for 5 laps, trading the lead over and over. Stewart and Carmichael were in their own race, opening up a huge gap ahead of Windham, Travis Preston and his Honda teammate Davi Millsaps. But then RC crashed and hit his shoulder hard enough he had to pull off and go back to the pits for a rare (for him) DNF. Carmichael got an X-ray that turned out good, but he has a contusion injury in the back of his shoulder that will require an MRI this morning. He still plans on racing the MXdN, pending the results of the MRI.

Stewart cruised out front with no one to race. Millsaps got by Preston for third. 

Team Honda's Travis Preston finished a season high third overall

In moto 2, Millsaps got the Racer X Holeshot right beside Kyle Mace, but in turn 2, Stewart came in wide, and with no one in his way, he cut across the inside and took Millsaps and Mace wide, making a block pass going up a steep hill. He pulled away and cruised, keeping a small but comfortable gap ahead of Millsaps for the rest of the moto. Millsaps joked in the press conference that Stewart was just going fast enough to stay ahead and said to James, "Thanks for making me look good, dude."

Not far behind Millsaps was Preston, who logged a great 4-3 score for the day, and a podium finish! He joked around too, mainly about his "I Pity the Fool" Mr. T gear patch, and the fact that right now he has no ride for next year.

Stewart rode moto 2 with a #3 instead of a #7, in full-on Team USA graphics for the MXoN. Villopoto did the same and raced with a #2. RC didn't get to debut his #1 MXoN gear, because he had already left "the building."

In the 250F class, Villopoto had a good points cushion, but he pushed from about 12th in moto 1 on the first lap to second, then he caught Mike Alessi and passed him for the win with 5 laps to go.  That was more than enough to clinch the title one moto early. The second moto looked like a repeat, with Alessi getting another holeshot and Villopoto passing him again for the win. 

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Ben Townley  finished third overall in the 250F class

Villopoto's teammate Ben Townley, who had only raced Red Bud so far this year, was back and turned two really good starts into a podium finish, with a 3-3.  And unlike last year, when the Lites title turned into a circus, there was no monkey business to speak of. 

Some notable performances at Glen Helen: Josh Summey, 7-9 for 7th, Bobby Garrison 13-10 for 9th overall, and in Lites (besides Townley), Kyle Chisholm with a 12-7 for 7th.