Carmichael, the seven-time AMA Motocross Champion from Havana, Fla., is coming off one of his more memorable victories over Memorial Day Weekend in Mt. Morris, Pa. There Carmichael chased down, passed and then pulled away from rival James Stewart, of Monster Energy Kawasaki, in the first moto. Then he earned a dominating win in the second moto to score his second overall victory in as many starts this season.
Even though it looks as if Carmichael would have an excellent opportunity to win yet another championship, he is not second guessing his choice of racing only part-time this year as he transitions into stock car racing.
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve already bitten off more than I can chew,” said the seven-time Southwick Motocross National winner. “It’s fun, but it’s also a lot of work. I feel good about our program when we go out and beat the toughest competitor I’ve ever raced.”
Stewart, the rider to whom Carmichael was referring, remains upbeat about his chances at beating Carmichael, saying his team just needs to put in more work.
“We’re trying to make improvements, but it’s hard to do that at the races, especially when you have to race this guy,” Stewart said nodding towards Carmichael in a press conference.”
Some reporters have questioned if Stewart feels he has to race hard, since he knows Carmichael is not contesting the entire series. Stewart answered that question by saying he wants to win regardless of Carmichael’s situation.
“I’m a racer,” he says. “Every time I go out on the track I give it 100 percent. All we can do is go back and work together as a team to get better. We’re going to put a lot of hours into testing. I’m looking forward to Southwick. Ricky and I had a great battle going there before I had some mechanical issues last year.”
Stewart raced injured last year at Motocross 338 after a crash in the previous round.
While Carmichael and Stewart are having a great duel for the top of the series standings, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry and Honda’s Davi Millsaps are locked in a heated battle for third. Ferry is up on Millsaps by two points (78-76), but the young Honda pilot closed the gap with a podium finish in Pennsylvania. Southwick will be a great test between the veteran Ferry and the teenager Millsaps on the energy-sapping sand of Southwick.
The showdown in the AMA Motocross Lites Championship between Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates Ryan Villopoto and Ben Townley has so far been everything expected. Townley won the first round and Villopoto came back to earn a runner-up finish, and the series lead, in round two. The dynamic duo brings their intra-squad clash to Southwick and at stake is nothing less than the championship lead.
Townley crashed in the first moto at Mt. Morris, giving Villopoto an eight point leading coming into Southwick. Even though the defending champ now has the series lead he sees no opportunity to relax.
“We have a bunch of races left so every weekend I’ve got to go out and try to win motos,” Villopoto said. “I think winning the championship is going to be tougher this year than it was last year for sure. I don’t know if I really like Southwick yet or not. I had a tough time there last year. It’s going to be a hard track to race.”
Josh Grant became a title contender with his overall win at Mt. Morris. The Sobe No Fear/Samsung Honda’s claimed his first national overall win of his young career stopping the Kawasaki freight train. Grant vaulted to third in the standings with the victory.
Southwick has been a regular stop on the AMA Motocross tour since 1976. The track, with its deep sand, is considered by the riders to be the roughest and most physically demanding in the series. For the second year, the race being run in reverse of its normal direction. Also a new section has been added to the track.
SPEED will broadcast the AMA Motocross and Motocross Lites races from Southwick. The Southwick Motocross will air Sunday, June 17 at 5:00 pm Eastern. Motocross Lites will be shown on Tuesday, June 19 at 3:00 pm Eastern.
For ticket information call (413) 569-6801 or visit the website www.moto338.com.
WHAT: Southwick Motocross National, round three of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF.
WHERE: Motocross 338, located on 46 Powder Mill Road, Southwick, Mass. Follow Rt. 57 west for 10.5 miles. Turn left at middle school on to Powder Mill Rd. Track is 0.4 miles on left. Look for American Legion Post 338 sign.
WHEN: June 9-10, 2007.
COURSE: 1.4 miles (approx), sandy loam.
2006 WINNERS: AMA Motocross: Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki). AMA Motocross Lites: Andrew Short (Honda).
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.
TICKETS: Saturday: Includes Sunday admission Adult: $40.00. Sunday Only: Adult: $30.00; RAIN OR SHINE, Cash Only. No personal checks or credit cards are accepted, Child Under 6: FREE - must be accompanied with adult; Sunday Parking: Located at Recreation Center and School Grounds Area. $10.00 donation to Parents School and Youth Sport Activities.