Carmichael, Villopoto Fast At Washougal

Kit Palmer | July 29, 2006

Ricky Carmichael and local hero Ryan Villopoto set the stage for tomorrow’s eighth round of the Toyota AMA Motocross Championship Series at Washougal Motocross Park in Washougal, Washington. Both Carmichael and Villopoto set the fastest times in their respective classes today, Carmichael the quickest in the MX class and Villopoto in the Lites.

Carmichael, on the Makita Suzuki RM-Z4450, was just a tick faster than yearlong rival James Stewart. Both Carmichael and Stewart were within a second of each other in both practices sessions, Carmichael just a hundredth of a second quicker that Stewart in the final session.

Villopoto, however, was third-quickest overall and again looks to be the rider to beat in the Lites division, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team rider having the home court advantage and coming into Washougal riding a wave of confidence following a string of victories as of late. Honda’s Andrew Short was second fastest in the Lites class.

Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed did not ride today. Reed, who arrived today in Washington in the middle of the afternoon, chose to sit out today’s practice in order to give his sore knee one extra day of rest. Reed tore the meniscus cartilage in his knee at Unadilla a few weeks ago. According to Yamaha’s team manager Jim Perry, the knee probably won’t require surgery, as long as he doesn’t further injury it. Reed rode very little during the week, mostly on a bicycle.

The word from the Kawasaki pits is that James Stewart feels much better but isn’t quite 100 percent yet from his recent crashes and injuries. Stewart is still bothered somewhat by a sore shoulder and hand. He did, however, get a lot of riding time in during the week.

The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team will not have the services of Grant Langston this weekend; in fact, Langston might have already ridden his last race for the green team. Earlier in the week, Langston broke a couple of bones in his ankle while practicing and will be out of action for at least six weeks, which means that he’ll most likely miss the remaining five rounds of the series. Langston has reportedly signed to ride for Yamaha next year.

Speaking of Yamaha, their Lites team, Yamaha of Troy, won’t have Andrew McFarlane for a while. An injury has him sidelined for what appears to be the rest of the season.

The weather in Washington should be excellent for racing tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-70s with some cloud cover.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.