Carmichael is now set to race at the legendary Red Bud motocross circuit for the final time. He enters the race having won six straight nationals at the track. The race will mark the final event for Carmichael before he goes on temporary hiatus to focus on his upcoming stock car racing career. Carmichael is slated to race Red Bud and then his possible final appearance in the series at Millville, Minn., in August. The Red Bud race will receive special same day coverage on SPEED.
Even Carmichael is pleasantly surprised by his undefeated start this year.
“It’s been a really amazing year,” Carmichael told amamotocross.com. “Especially with the way the motocross series has gone so far. I didn’t expect to do as well as I did. I’m just really happy with the way it’s all turning out. I still prepare as much as I always have. The only thing I’m having a hard time with is the motivation; knowing that you’re not going to be in there for the championship. It’s hard to put in all that work for just the weekend only.”
Carmichael is coming off his 100th-career AMA Motocross victory at Budds Creek, Md., on June 17. A victory this weekend at Red Bud could put the Makita Suzuki rider from Havana, Fla., just a single win away from his stated goal of earning 150 combined AMA Motocross/Supercross wins.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s James Stewart is ranked second to Carmichael coming into Red Bud. Stewart scored his second moto win of the year in the last round in Maryland, showing that he indeed has the type of pace needed to run with Carmichael. Still, the young Floridian was disappointed not to get the overall win.
“The second moto was really tough,” Stewart said after the Budds Creek race. “We made a lot of improvements and I think we were in a good position to win and then I got sick before the second moto. Sitting on the gate I was so weak. I felt like I had it in me to run up front, but unfortunately my body shut down on me.”
A healthy Stewart is likely to be Carmichael’s main threat at Red Bud.
The battle for third in the championship is heating up with Honda’s Andrew Short moving up to tie Yamaha rider Grant Langston for third in the standings. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry is only two points back from Short and Langston, so the standings could be considerably shuffled depending on the outcome at Red Bud.
Defending AMA Motocross Lites Champion Ryan Villopoto broke through to finally earn his first overall win of 2007 at Budd Creek. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit rider is the defending Red Bud Lites winner and his most recent win in Maryland widened his lead over teammate Ben Townley to 14 points.
“It felt good to go 1-1 at Budds Creek,” Villopoto said. “Both days just went really well. It seemed like I had either been struggling on Saturday or Sunday the past three races, but this weekend went perfect.”
Villopoto should be ready for Red Bud. The rider from Poulsbo, Wash., has been training recently in Michigan. He credits riding the tracks in Michigan in helping him get his first win of the season.
Townley called his last race “a tough day at the office” but the former World Champion has bounced back from off performances before and he’s sure to be eager to try to close the gap on Villopoto in Buchanan.
Just like the premier class, the Motocross Lites class has an incredible battle shaping up for third in the series. Ryan Dungey, of Makita Suzuki, Josh Grant, of Sobe/No Fear Honda and Jason Lawrence of Boost Mobile Yamaha, had an epic race two weeks ago in Maryland. Lawrence came out on top of that battle and moved into a tight three-way points chase with Dungey and Grant. Dungey leads the way with 150 points over Grant with 146 and Lawrence with 141. The trio will renew their clash at Red Bud.
In addition, Monster Energy and Kawasaki will be giving away Pro Circuit-tuned Kawasaki KLX110 pit bikes to three lucky fans. Fans can enter to win at the Monster Energy motor coach on Saturday and Sunday.
The Red Bud National will air on SPEED. The Motocross class can be seen same day delayed, on Sunday, July 1 at 6:00 pm Eastern. The Lites class will air on Tuesday, July 10 at 3:00 pm Eastern.
Racer X Illustrated will be providing web coverage including audio and streaming video and SPEED’s live feed from Moto 1 of each class at www.motocross.com. Additional live timing will be available on www.amamotocross.com.
For ticket information, visit www.redbudmx.com.
WHAT: The Monster Energy/Kawasaki Red Bud National Motocross presented by Concept Haulers, round five of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF.
WHERE: Red Bud is located a few miles north of Buchanan, Mich., on Red Bud Trail.
WHEN: June 30-July 1, 2007
COURSE: 1.75 miles (approx), hard pack and soft dirt.
2006 WINNERS: AMA Motocross: Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki). AMA Motocross Lites: Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki).
SCHEDULE: Saturday - Pro timed qualifying, 1:00-4:35 pm., Lites Consolation Race 4:45 pm; Sunday - Pro Motocross Consolation Race 9:15 am. Qualifying 10:00 am. Opening Ceremonies begin at 12:30 pm with final events beginning at 1 pm.