When Racer X Webcast host Jason Weigandt finally figured out that Josh Grant would win the High Point National last weekend with a 1-3 score and not Ryan Villopoto with a 2-2, it wasn’t the first time someone was fooled by the scoring. On any Sunday, a 2-2 beats a 1-3 (though not a 3-1) based on a tie in finishing positions, with the rider in the second moto doing better. But at an AMA Toyota Motocross Championship race, first in a moto is 25 points, second is 22 points, and third is 20 points. As a result, a 1-3 = 45 points, and a 2-2 = 44 points.
Back in 1989, in one of the more peculiar days in American motocross, the dominant American rider, Rick Johnson, broke his wrist in practice at the opening round of the 250 Nationals. That left his Honda teammate Jeff Stanton and Team Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward as the obvious favorites. But then Stanton’s bike wouldn’t fire on the gate and needed a whole bunch of pushing from the Team Honda mechanics to get it going. Of course, he got the holeshot!
“Bailey” won the first moto on his #111 Pro Circuit Honda by some 30 seconds over Stanton and Yamaha-backed Shaun Kalos, then coasted home third in the second moto behind Ward and Stanton. At the trophy presentation, they announced Stanton as the overall winner based on his 2-2 scores and were literally handing him the first-place trophy when the then-Honda team manager Roger DeCoster ran up from the pits and interrupted them with the right results—Bayle’s 1-3 was one point better than Stanton’s!
“Stanton had posted 2-2 finishes and at first was thought to be the overall winner,” reported Cycle News’ Nate Rauba, “but during the awards presentation the win was given to Bayle, who had scored one more championship point that Stanton.”
Making the day all the more curious was the fact that # 762 Mike Kiedrowski won the 125 National with a 4-1 score, marking the first time in the history of American motocross that an outdoor national saw a pair of three-digit overall winners.
Ten years later, at the Washougal National, Ricky Carmichael crashed in the first turn in both motos, got up dead last, and passed all but one rider on the track. In the first moto, that rider was FMF Honda’s Brock Sellards, and in the second moto it was Planet Honda’s Jason McCormick. But Carmichael, who had passed Sellards in the last turn before the whoops, did not realize that McCormick was already across the line.
RC still pumped his fists at the finish line because he thought he had won the overall—even with his 2-2—but he was trumped by the 1-3 of Sellards, who had done the math in his head on the last lap and knew he had it in the bag, whether RC passed him or not.
“I couldn’t believe it,” RC told Cycle News reporter Dave Deringer. “I thought Sellards was leading and that I made the winning pass. If it was like the way they score amateur motos, I probably would have won.
“I crossed the line with my hand in the air and the number one finger and my mechanic Chad [Watts] shook his head no,” said Carmichael, who was riding the #1 Kawasaki KX125. “I was like, ‘What do you mean no? I won the moto,’ and he said, ‘No you didn’t, McCormick won, and you got second.”
And then just last week, Josh Grant won at High Point—his first pro national win—but did not even realize it until his team told him once he took off his helmet following a second-moto third. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com even shows his reaction in the “Off-Weekend” show that went up yesterday. Check it out right here.