Bench Racing Ammo:  The Best Season Ever?

Bench Racing Ammo: The Best Season Ever?

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The sports media world created the term "Tiger Slam" when Tiger Woods, at the peak of his powers, won all four major golf tournaments in a row—the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship through 2000 and 2001. At the same time, Ricky Carmichael was doing the same in motocross and supercross (not coincidentally, both Woods and Carmichael turned pro at about the same time, so they were reaching unbeatable status in parrallel). Between the summer of 2000 and the end of 2001, Carmichael won the AMA 250 National Motocross Championship, the Motocross des Nations and the U.S. Open supercross. The golf folks coined the term "Tiger Slam" and the moto folks called Carmichael's season an  "RC Slam."

Although Woods won his foursome in consecutive tournaments, he never won all four in a single calendar year (his first "Tiger Slam" came from the summer of 2000 through the spring of 2001—just like RC). And as prolific as Carmichael’s career was, even he only once won all four of these major titles in the same calendar year—2005.

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Carmichael would complete the 2005 season by sweeping all four major titles.
Photo: Simon Cudby

It wasn’t always Carmichael’s fault. He could have won everything in 2001, but Team USA elected to skip the Motocross des Nations after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks put a hault on overseas travel. In 2002, he was in line for another "RC Slam" until the des Nations became a des Bacle, with the event originally scheduled for a California track that never existed, then cancelled, then reshedueled in Europe. By then, Team USA was over the deal and didn’t send a team.

RC won both major AMA championships again in 2003, but even though he won the one moto in the one-moto-format des Nations, Team USA lost the event due to crashes and bad luck for Timmy Ferry and Ryan Hughes. Then Carmichael himself crashed at the U.S. Open, and Mike LaRocco scored the win.

Carmichael missed the 2004 supercross season with a torn ACL. But in 2005, everything finally aligned for him on his new Suzuki, where he ripped off the AMA SX and MX crowns, the Motocross of Nations and the U.S. Open in the same year. He also won every overall outdoors and 22 of 24 motos. Pretty much the RC slam to end all RC slams.

No one has done it since. Carmichael won both the AMA SX and MX crowns again in 2006, but he missed the MXdN with an injury, and James Stewart took him down at the U.S. Open. Stewart seemed destined for a "Bubba Slam" in 2007 when he won the AMA SX title, but a knee injury cost him a shot at the motocross title—just like it cost him a shot in supercross for 2008 (although he did win every single moto outdoors later that year). Stewart did win the 2009 SX title and U.S. Open, but he didn’t race motocross, and the 2009 MX Champ, Chad Reed, didn’t race the U.S. Open, and his Australian team ran into probelms at the MXoN.

The U.S. Open has been on the shelf since. The next chance to win four big ones in the same year came this year, and Ryan Villopoto just did it with what we now need to call the "RV Slam"— AMA Supercross and Motocross Championships, Motocross of Nations and Monster Energy Cup.

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RV caped off the first "RV Slam" at the inaugural Monster Energy Cup this past weekend.
Photo: Simon Cudby

You could make an argument that Villopoto’s season is the greatest ever. It’s at least in the running. On Monday, we posted a Racer X poll to get your thoughts on, “Who had the best season in AMA history.” As of Thursday, RC’s 2005 season gets nearly 60 percent of your votes. RV in 2011 sits at 25 percent, with a big gap back to the rest.

Looks like the "RC Slam" lives on! The key might be in the level of domination, as RC never so much had to even bring an outdoor championship down to the last round.

What do you folks think? Where does Villopoto’s 2011 season rank among the all time greats? Leave your comments below and we’ll discuss this further next week.

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