ORLANDO, MAR 17: Ricky Carmichael closed the book on his illustrious Supercross career by giving James Stewart the battle of a lifetime at round 11 of the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series held at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Over 42,000 fans watched on as the Makita Suzuki rider battled back and forth with the Kawasaki-mounted Stewart in a race that was ultimately won by Stewart - his eighth victory of the series.
"That was a ride of a lifetime," said Carmichael. “That is why we all race. I am so happy to go out with such a great ride like this. To be a great motorcycle racer is one thing, but I want to be remembered as a great person.”
San Manuel Yamaha’s Chad Reed grabbed the holeshot at the start of the 20-lap main event, but Carmichael took charge a few laps later when Reed bobbled.
In the meantime, Stewart was working his way up from a fifth-place start, catching Carmichael at about the halfway point of the race. Carmichael held Stewart at bay for a few laps, before Stewart finally took the lead. However, Stewart wasn’t able to pull away from the Suzuki rider and a few laps later, Carmichael pulled even with Stewart as the two riders did a double jump side-by-side.
Stewart finally got the break he needed when Carmichael bobbled slightly and was less than a second ahead of Carmichael when the two crossed the finish line.
"That was probably the best race that Ricky and I have ever had," said Stewart. “Once I passed Chad, I knew it was going to be a good one. I had a blast out there tonight."
Reed held on to finish third, ahead of Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco and Team Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry.
Motoworldracing.com’s Branden Jesseman won an exciting Lites final, moving quickly into the lead at the start of the 15-lap final and holding it until the finish, while Boost Mobile Yamaha’s Ryan Morais worked his way up from a poor start to finish second.
Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Darcy Lange battled to the front to take third, while teammate Ben Townley, who came into tonight's race with two wins, tangled with Honda’s Bily Laninovich and crashed.
KTM's Mike Alessi worked up into second place during the late stages of the race and held it until the final turn of the race, where he fell down. The fall dropped Alessi to fourth, behind Lange.
"I am going to go home and work hard, just as I have all year," said Jesseman. "This is a huge win for me and my team. I look forward to next in Indianapolis.
1. James Stewart (Kaw)
2. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
3. Chad Reed (Yam)
4. Ivan Tedesco (Suz)
5. Timmy Ferry (Kaw)
6. Grant Langston (Yam)
7. David Vuillemin (Hon)
8. Kevin Windham (Hon)
9. Heath Voss (Hon)
10. Josh Summey (Hon)
Supercross Lites Final:
1. Branden Jesseman (Yam)
2. Ryan Morais (Yam)
3. Darcy Lange (Kaw)
4. Mike Alessi (KTM)
5. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
6. Justin Brayton (Yam)
7. Ben Townley (Kaw)
8. Robert Kiniry (Kaw)
9. Jeff Alessi (KTM)
10. Tucker Hibbert (Yam)