Bench Racing Ammo: AC222Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | 8:05 AM
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In case you've missed it, the AMA Amp'd Mobile Supercross Series has mostly been covered in green. James Stewart is a dominant force in the 450 class, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki swept both titles in the Lites class. This weekend in Seattle (which features a darker hue of green of their professional football team) Stewart will likely clinch Team Kawasaki's first AMA Supercross title since Ricky Carmichael won on his KX250 in 2001. He has won all but three of the 14 rounds to date, which means he can't beat the record for wins in a series shared by RC and Jeremy McGrath (14 wins) but that will be something he can think about checking off next season.
The only other brand that is enjoying decent success in global motocross is Yamaha. Over in Europe, the red-hot Tony Cairoli has swept the first three rounds of the MX2 World Championships, winning in the sands of Holland, the tacky mud of Spain, and this weekend in Portugal. And in the MX1 (450) class, Josh Coppins has been solid, winning the first two rounds then splitting moto wins with Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos in Portugal, with Strijbos taking the overall based on his second moto win. So in six GP races over two classes, Yamaha is 5 out of 6.
Cairoli would certainly be a title contender outdoors if he was in America this season. He split 250F group moto wins with Ryan Villopoto at the 2006 Motocross des Nations, and is undefeated so far this season. He lost the '04 MX2 title in Europe to Ben Townley, who is now poised to challenge his teammate Villopoto on the AMA Toyota Motocross Series circuit this summer. What's it all mean? Someone in America needs to get Tony a plane ticket for 2008 for an entire season against RV51 and BT101.
There was a news note that had a lot of meaning in the motocross world, even if it was distant meaning. Now we can make it Bench Racing Ammo: Toyota has now passed up General Motors as the #1 automobile maker in the world. That's right: The company that has become involved in America motocross from top to bottom: Toyota is the Official Truck of Amp'd Mobile Supercross, the title sponsor of the AMA Toyota Motocross Series, the AMA Toyota National Arenacross Series, and even a direct sponsor of the AMA/Air Nautiques Amateur National MX Championships at Loretta Lynn's. And their TMX Athletes "Moving Forward" program has a whole slew of top U.S. amateur talent now covered in Toyota logos.
What's it mean to motocross? With the momentum and the marketing power of the biggest automaker in the world firmly behind our sport, the future looks bright for our sport when it comes to having friends in high places.