As we continue to count down to the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's Ranch, we also continue to reminisce about great battles through the years at an event that has hosted plenty of them.
Ricky Carmichael has had a lot of big, BIG rivalries. There was Jeremy McGrath in AMA Supercross, followed by Chad Reed, followed by James Stewart. There was Robbie Reynard and then Kevin Windham in the outdoor nationals. There was Stefan Everts seemingly every other year at the FIM Motocross of Nations. Through them all it was usually Carmichael who persevered during his 10-year professional career, and maybe that’s because he knew the intensity of a true rivalry as a kid. Because in winning ten AMA Amateur National Championship titles at Loretta Lynn’s, he had plenty of turf wars and playground fights on the ranch track.
On 65s it was Ohio’s Brock Sellards and Georgia’s Shae Bentley. On 85s and Super Minis it was Sellards and Bentley, along with Michigan’s Nick Wey and Idaho’s Danny Smith. And then on 125s and 250s all of those other guys, as well as Ohio’s Charlie Dunaway and Georgia’s Robbie Horton.
But when I asked Ricky who his biggest rival growing up was while racing at Loretta Lynn’s, he says hands-down it was Charley Bogard from Texas. He also specifically points at 1992 and a week of pitched battles in the 85cc (13-13) Stock and Mod classes. RC was riding for Kawasaki Team Green, while Bogard was Suzuki’s top prospect.
“We were on 80s that year and it was myself and Charley Bogard,” he recalled a couple of years ago when we asked him about the rivalry. “We in the 9-to-13-year-old classes and this was the year that I feel like Charley really established himself, so we had a little rivalry going. He was the Suzuki rider and I was one of the Team Green kids.”
Carmichael’s week got off to a rough start with a DNF in the first Modified moto.
“Brock [Sellards] won and Charley got second. But in the second moto I was battling Bogard and we came around to where they used to have all those doubles after the finish line. We were doubling through there, side by side, and we end up bumping together and he goes down. My initial reaction was, ‘Holy cow!’ And I almost fell myself. Then I just looked ahead, tried to regroup and get going again. We had been battling the whole moto and now I was just kind of by myself. I was thinking, It sucks that he fell, but better that it wasn’t me, so I’m thinking I will have an easy win.
“So about two laps go by, and he was laying there on the track a little. But he gets up and rides into the mechanic’s area, I guess, and then he starts just riding around. As I’m racing, I can see him just riding around the track really slow. I didn’t really think anything of it.
“We were going back towards the trees near where the water trucks sit in the back towards the stables Loretta used to have back there,” explained Carmichael. “I was going down a straight towards this tree we went around, and I pass Bogard as he’s riding down the left-hand side of the track. And then just as I’m approaching this hairpin left-handed corner, dude, all of the sudden his bike is all up on me, he’s like side-saddling it from what I can remember, and then he ghost-rides his bike in to me! At the time I’m thinking, ‘What the hell is this dude doing?’”
Turns out Bogard had been told by whoever was pit-boarding him from the signaling area to avenge his crash, which he did. That led to Bogard being disqualified from the class.
“Luckily I ended up not falling down, but I did end up getting beat by Brock [Sellards] in that moto, and he actually ended winning that class,” said Carmichael. “It was crazy. We hated each other, without a doubt, but man could he ride a mini-bike.”