Carmichael and Villopoto fast in Colorado Practice

Shan Moore | July 22, 2006

Ricky Carmichael looks like a sure bet to claim his sixth-straight Toyota AMA Motocross Series race after posting the fastest time in today’s timed practice session at round seven of the series at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colorado. The Makita Suzuki-mounted Carmichael topped series nemesis James Stewart by over two seconds on the ups and downs of the mile-high Lakewood course.

Stewart, who is returning to action after a crash at Unadilla last week put him on the sidelines for the day, posted a best time of 2:13.468, compared to Carmichael’s best time of 2:11.097.

Third fastest time of the day went to Timmy Ferry, with a time of 14.408. Ferry lives in Florida, but spends a lot of time training and riding in nearby Colorado Springs, and the Unbound Energy/Moto XXX-sponsored rider is hoping to capitalize on this little-known fact during tomorrow’s race.

Team Honda’s Kevin Windham is hot off the heals of a superb third overall finish at Unadilla last week and looked confident and fast on the Lakewood course, en route to the day’s fourth fastest time, a 2:14.408.

Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto posted the fifth fastest overall time and was tops in the Lites division with a 14:481, while crowd favorite Andrew Short (below) who hails from Colorado, was next with a time of 2:15.234.

Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed elected to sit out Saturday’s practice session in order to give his knee a little more time to heal. Reed injured his knee in a practice crash at Unadilla last week, but soldiered on to a fourth overall finish, despite the pain.

Ernesto Fonseca was on hand at the Colorado event to sign autographs, see friends and to watch the races. Fonseca is currently undergoing rehab at Craig Hospital in nearby Englewood, and last week attended the Dew Action Sports Tour which took place in the Denver area, and then attended the motocross event at Lakewood. Fonseca is scheduled to be released from the hospital on July 27th.

After dropping out of the last few races with mechanical problems, Michael Brown made the switch from the Lites class to the Motocross class in Colorado, hoping that the switch would bring a change of luck.

“It feels good to have some power and not have to worry about who has the fastest bike,” Brown said after Saturday’s practice. “I don’t have to ride over my head to go fast on this thing and I am like a kid with a new toy. This is a new challenge since I’ve never ridden the 450 before. My size was a big disadvantage for me in the Lites class and we just kept having motor problems, because I was revving the bike so hard. I hadn’t finished in four races in the Lites class and we just decided to go with a 450 and I think it will be a good change for me.”

The promoter of the Colorado event, David Clabaugh, got together with local Toyota dealers to help make the Lakewood event a little more enjoyable for the spectators. Three enormous Jumbo-Tron televisions were set up at different locations around the track, which will televise live coverage of the races, in addition to live scoring. The Toyota dealers also had an area set up next to the track where spectators could take test drives in 4×4 Toyota vehicles over an off-road course.

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.