Bench Racing Ammo: Opening Round Curse?

May 22, 2007 8:03am

Everyone always talks about the Racer X cover curse, but Ben Townley just dashed that one (knock-on-wood) by going out and winning the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship-opening Hangtown National.

So what about the opening round win curse in the Lites class? Well, not to rain on Ben Townley’s parade, but we are seeing a pattern in the Lites class….  

BT broke the cover curse, but can he now break the opening round curse?

photo: Simon Cudby

Yesterday while bench racing about the events that transpired over the weekend, Andy Bowyer pulled out this interesting question: Over the past 20 years, how many Lites riders who won the opening round of the series actually went on to win the championship? After through the record book, only six riders that won the opening round of the Lites (or 125cc) class have went on to win the championship. Take a look…

Year   First round winner   Series champion

1986  George Holland - Micky Dymond
1987  George Holland - Micky Dymond
1988  Erik Kehoe - George Holland
1989  Mike Kiedrowski - Mike Kiedrowski
1990  Mike Kiedrowski - Guy Cooper
1991  Guy Cooper - Mike Kiedrowski
1992  Mike LaRocco - Jeff Emig
1993  Jeremy McGrath - Doug Henry
1994  Jeff Emig - Doug Henry
1995  Robbie Reynard - Steve Lamson
1996  Steve Lamson - Steve Lamson 
1997  Ricky Carmichael - Ricky Carmichael
1998  Ricky Carmichael - Ricky Carmichael
1999  Ricky Carmichael - Ricky Carmichael
2000  Stephane Roncada - Travis Pastrana
2001  Grant Langston - Mike Brown
2002  James Stewart - James Stewart
2003  Mike Brown - Grant Langston
2004  James Stewart - James Stewart
2005  Grant Langston - Ivan Tedesco
2006  Mike Alessi - Ryan Villopoto
2007 Ben Townley – ?

James Stewart was the last Lites-class rider to win the opening round and then go on to win the championship.

photo: Paul Buckley

The last rider to win the opening round and go on to win the championship was James Stewart back in 2002. It’s been five years since, so BT101 is hoping that we’re long overdue.
And speaking of BT, we can now add New Zealand to the short list of countries in which their riders have won an AMA National:

Australia (Chad Reed, Craig Anderson)
England (James Dobb)
France (Jean-Michel Bayle, Mickael Pichon, Sebastien Tortelli, David Vuillemin, Stephane Roncada)
Holland (Pierre Karsmakers)
New Zealand (Ben Townley)
South Africa (Greg Albertyn, Grant Langston)
Sweden (Gunnar Lindstrom