Ricky Carmichael became the first-ever repeat winner of the THQ U.S. Open at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, winning both nights of the prestigious off-season event and pocketing the $100,000 first-place prize (plus bonuses for individual wins). Saturday night went quite similarly to Friday, with the Team Honda rider taking an early lead and never looking back, avoiding an anticipated match-up with Jeremy McGrath.
The Yamaha rider once again took an early penalty when his mechanic, Skip Norfolk, drew a poor gate pick for his heat race. That contributed to McGrath’s getting pushed outside on the start to his qualifier, in which he finished fifth. That, in turn, earned him a poor gate pick for the main, and he got pushed out yet again. After rejoining the track third from last (Mike LaRocco and Tim Ferry were on the ground), McGrath put on an inspiring ride through the pack to finish second to Carmichael, good enough to earn him second overall when last night’s fourth-place finish was factored in.
Third on the night and third overall was Team Suzuki’s Kevin Windham, who fought off arm pump and a pesky teammate to turn in a commendable ride. LaRocco recovered from his first-turn tumble to finish fifth (behind an impressive Kelly Smith, of KTM Red Bull), which actually tied him with Windham on overall points, but the Amsoil/Dr. Martens/Journeys/Competition Accessories rider lost out on the tie-breaker. Ferry was sixth overall on a Yamaha YZ426F, Yamaha of Troy’s Nick Wey took seventh overall, and Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/SplitFire’s Mike Brown was eighth. Rounding out the top 10 on the weekend were Team Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana (who crashed tonight while trying to pass Windham in the whoops) and KTM Red Bull’s Brock Sellards.