Carmichael, Stewart Sweep Steel City

| August 31, 2003

Team Honda’s Ricky Carmichael clinched his record-extending 10th AMA National Championship (and his fourth consecutive 250cc National MX Championship, which is another record) today at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pennsylvania, fighting off Kevin Windham in both motos to sweep the event along the way. On the 125cc side, James Stewart again completely dominated the class, winning by over 40 seconds both times out while Ryan Hughes moved to within seven points of Grant Langston with only one round remaining.

Carmichael got out front early in moto one, and in an amazing show of riding, Windham moved into second and then absorbed over seven seconds’ worth of Carmichael’s lead in about three laps and began working on the champ. He passed Carmichael right away, but the Floridian struck right back. The two went back and forth a few times over the next couple laps, and Carmichael eventually got the upper hand and pulled away for the win. Windham hung on for second, well ahead of Yamaha’s Timmy Ferry and Chad Reed, and Windham’s teammate Mike LaRocco.

The second moto looked early on to be a Windham route, as he got out front early and began to gap Carmichael in second. However, it wasn’t long before Carmichael started eating into Windham’s lead, and he ended up catching and passing his rival a little past halfway, going on to win comfortably. Windham again grabbed second over Ferry, with Ezra Lusk, David Vuillemin and LaRocco in pursuit.

The win guarantees Carmichael an unprecedented 10th AMA National Championship as he approaches 100 career AMA National wins.

The 125cc class was much less exciting. Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart dominated both motos to the point that it was almost easier to make believe the rider in second was actually leading in order to muster up some excitement as the battle for the first loser heated up. In the first moto, hot-or-cold Craig Anderson showed he was hot as he ran second basically from start to finish with Ryan Hughes coming home second. Langston got off to a horrible start and worked his way admirably up to eighth after suffering a fall along the way. Going into moto two the two KTM teammates were separated by only three points.

Anderson got another good start the second time out while Stewart took off and Hughes chased Langston through the pack. Langston would eventually move his way past into second, and Hughes to third. However, on the last lap, Hughes went down hard over a very large double and got up with a badly twisted KTM. He was able to get going quickly, but he couldn’t get across the finish line before Brock Sellards could get by. All of a sudden, three points became seven in the battle for the 2003 125cc National Championship with only two motos left to run.

Oh yeah, and James Stewart now sits 30 points behind Langston, which means he’s mathematically still in the championship chase, but not realistically. He’d need a lot of help in Troy in order to successfully defend his title. However, he has repeatedly shown that he is likely the fastest 125cc rider on the planet today, regardless of who grabs the coveted number-one plate.

125cc O/A: 1. James Stewart (Kaw); 2. Ryan Hughes (KTM); 3. Craig Anderson (Yam); 4. Grant Langston (KTM); 5. Michael Byrne (Hon); 6. Ryan Mills (Hon); 7. Brian Gray (Suz); 8. Kelly Smith (Yam); 9. Brock Sellards (Yam); 10. Richie Owens (Kaw); 11. Broc Hepler (Suz); 12. Chris Gosselaar (Hon); 13. David Pingree (Suz); 14. Steve Mertens (Yam); 15. Joaquim Rodrigues (KTM); 16. Josh Summey (Yam); 17. Matthieu Lalloz (Suz); 18. Tim Weigand (Hon); 19. Josh Hansen (Yam); 20. Troy Adams (Yam); 21. Ivan Tedesco (Yam); 22. Andrew Short (Suz); 23. Jeff Gibson (KTM); 24. Steve Boniface (Suz); 25. Michael Blose (Yam).

250cc O/A: 1. Ricky Carmichael (Hon); 2. Kevin Windham (Hon); 3. Timmy Ferry (Yam); 4. Chad Reed (Yam); 5. Mike LaRocco (Hon); 6. Ezra Lusk (Kaw); 7. David Vuillemin (Yam); 8. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon); 9. Larry Ward (Hon); 10. Jason Thomas (Hon); 11. Clark Stiles (Hon); 12. Nick Wey (Yam); 13. Paul Carpenter (Hon); 14. Heath Voss (Yam); 15. Nathan Ramsey (Hon); 16. Keith R. Johnson (Yam); 17. Joe Oehlhof (Hon); 18. James Povolny (Hon); 19. Ryan Clark (Yam); 20. Ty Wallace (Hon); 21. Brian Mason (Yam); 22. Kyle Lewis (Hon); 23. Justin Brayton (Hon).

AMA/CHEVY TRUCKS 125cc U.S. MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS (After 11 of 12 rounds): 1. Grant Langston (380); 2. Ryan Hughes (373/1 win); 3. James Stewart (350/7 wins); 4. Mike Brown (271/2 wins); 5. (TIE) Michael Byrne/Brock Sellards (269); 7. Craig Anderson (222); 8. Ivan Tedesco (193); 9. Kelly Smith (190); 10. Chris Gosselaar (173); 11. Andrew Short (164); 12. Eric Sorby (160); 13. (TIE) Michael Brandes/Brett Metcalfe (149); 15. Brian Gray (145); 16. Ryan Mills (135); 17. Steve Boniface (129); 18. Daryl Hurley (97); 19. Matthieu Lalloz (96); 20. Branden Jesseman (87).

AMA/CHEVY TRUCKS 250cc U.S. MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS (After 11 of 12 rounds): 1. Ricky Carmichael (529/9 wins); 2. Kevin Windham (460/2 wins); 3. Chad Reed (398); 4. Timmy Ferry (376); 5. Mike LaRocco (327); 6. David Vuillemin (283); 7. Ezra Lusk (269); 8. Ernesto Fonseca (241); 9. Larry Ward (204); 10. John Dowd (190); 11. Nick Wey (187); 12. Kyle Lewis (141); 13. Clark Stiles (132); 14. Stephane Roncada (112); 15. Nathan Ramsey (111); 16. Jason Thomas (87); 17. Heath Voss (84); 18. Keith R. Johnson (67); 19. Sean Hamblin (66); 20. Joaquim Rodrigues (60).

By Freelance