Saturday’s practice at round nine of the AMA 250 National Motocross Presented by FMF at Spring Creek Motocross Park near Millville, Minnesota went as expected with Team Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael dominating both sessions. In fact, Carmichael’s fastest time on the hilly and loamy, John Martin-prepared track, a 2:21.677, was nearly three-and-a-half seconds faster than the next closest rider, Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Grant Langston, who turned a 2:25.074.
With leading contenders James Stewart and Chad Reed both sitting out the Millville event with injuries, it was up to Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Kevin Windham to keep Carmichael honest, however, the 27-year-old seemed to struggle in practice and posted a fastest time that was a full eight seconds slower than Carmichael’s and 25th out of the 34 seeded riders, a 2:29.665.
Unbound Energy/MDK Motorsports’ Nick Wey posted the third fastest time of the day, a 2:25.218, and was obviously happy with the course.
“I had fun on the track today, for sure,” said Wey. “It has been raining all week and it was a little softer in most places than usual and the whoops are a little bigger than they have been in the past. I’m pretty stoked after practice; I had fun out there and the track is awesome.”
Fourth fastest time went to David Vuillemin, with a 2:25.359. The Factory Yamaha rider looked particularly fast through the whoops.
Davi Millsaps (2:25.687), Broc Hepler (2:25.928), Ernesto Fonseca (2:25.987) and Andrew Short (2:25.989) filled the next four positions with times that were all within a half-a-second of each other.
Tomorrow, Carmichael attempts to extend his amazing run of consecutive overall wins, the longest in AMA Motocross history, to 24. A win would also be his ninth of the year, and would all but close the books on the 2005 Outdoor season.
Another highlight of Saturday’s practice was a birthday party, thrown by Pat Schutte and the National Promoters Group for John Dowd, who turned 40 on Wednesday. Dowd won this very race 11 years ago and will be retiring after this season.