Bench Racing Ammo:  RedBud Red Plate

Bench Racing Ammo RedBud Red Plate

July 1, 2011 11:30am
Chad Reed stirred up a little controversy after the first round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. He and Ryan Dungey were both slated to run the red background on their number plates since they were tied for the series’ point lead after Hangtown. Reed said he’d rather not run the red if he were going to have to share the plate with Dungey, since he had actually won the opener overall. And if this were a one-race series, the tie would go to the rider with the most wins, and Reed held the edge there (and still does).

Of course, the same exact thing happened a year earlier heading into Freestone in the 250 class. Eli Tomac won the Hangtown overall but only tied with Christophe Pourcel in points, so they both ran the red plate in Texas, and no one seemed to notice or care. But I digress.

Anyway, Reed is hanging on to his plate with a pretty solid grip at this point, having taken three wins out of five rounds so far. While Ryan Villopoto closed up a bit last weekend at Thunder Valley, Reed has some history on his side if he can get through this weekend at RedBud with the red plate attached. In the 450 class, whoever holds the points lead after RedBud historically tends to go on to win the championship.

Will Reed leave RedBud with the red plate still in hand?
Photo: Garth Milan

Ryan Dungey led it after RedBud last year. He won the title. Same for Reed in 2009 and James Stewart in 2008. Technically, Ricky Carmichael “blew it” in 2007 when he won every race through RedBud and left with the points lead. But he retired voluntarily, and Grant Langston ended up the champion.

To find a situation where a rider really rallied through the second half to claim the crown, you would have to go back to 2000, Carmichael’s first season in the 250 class. He engaged Frenchman Sebastien Tortelli in a battle for the title, and Tortellli won the RedBud race on July 4th, 2000, to take the series’ lead. They split motos 2-1 and 1-2 the next time out at Unadilla. Then Carmichael won the next race at Troy, Ohio, and Tortelli struggled with an ankle injury. RC took the points lead and was never challenged again en route to the 2000 250 National Championship.

So it’s been 11 years since someone had legitimately ripped the points lead away from someone else in the big class after RedBud. Whoever leaves this weekend’s race with the red plate then, not only has points on their side, but history as well.