Carmichael Wins a Thriller in San Francisco

Shan Moore | January 27, 2007

Ricky Carmichael got back on the top step of the podium tonight with a thrilling win before a crowd of 37,462 at round four of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series held at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.

Carmichael’s win was not an easy one, however, as the Makita Suzuki rider diced race-long with series rivals James Stewart and Chad Reed on a tacky track under damp and cold conditions. In all, there were five lead changes as the three contenders each took turns at the point. Two crashes by Stewart and another by Reed ultimately cost them a both shot at a win as Carmichael ended up with the hard-fought victory.

At the start, it was Reed out front after grabbing the holeshot on his San Manuel Yamaha, but Stewart made a clean pass after a couple of laps to take the lead on his factory Kawasaki. However, Reed would retake the point when Stewart later bobbled in the rhythm section.

Reed seemed to gain some momentum after that and led until lapper Eric Sorby held him up in a turn, allowing Stewart to get back around.

Stewart fell a second time, when he hit a false neutral and cartwheel off a step-off jump, allowing Reed to once again take the lead.

Carmichael had been taking notes through all of the commotion between Stewart and Reed and finally got his shot at the lead when Reed looped out while navigating heavy traffic.

Reed ultimately rebounded to finish a distant third as Stewart followed Carmichael across the finish some eight seconds behind.

“These guys were riding buck wild out there tonight,” said Carmichael. “The track was pretty rutty and I was just laying back and taking advantage of what was happening in front of me. I’m happy to win again in San Francisco and the next time you’ll see me is at Atlanta.”

In the Lites division, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto took the win, his third of the season, while Sobe/Samsung Mobil Honda’s Josh Grant and teammate Jake Weimer finished second and third, respectively.

It was Villopoto’s teammate, Chris Gosselaar, who took the early lead after grabbing the holeshot at the start of the 15-lap final, however Villopoto was into the lead before the end of the first lap and would eventually pull away to an easy win.

Perhaps the best racing of the class was for second, as KTM’s Martin Davalos moved up to challenge Gosselaar for the runner up position.

Davalos pushed Gosselaar hard for several laps before Gosselaar lost the front end in a turn and went down. Davalos was unable to avoid the fallen rider and slammed him hard, leaving both riders in a heap.

Gosselaar was shaken, but eventually left the track under his own power, while Davalos had trouble kicking starting his bike. It was later reported that Gosselaar suffered a shoulder injury and a possible slight concussion.

Meanwhile, Grant took over second place, with Weimer finishing just behind in third.

Supercross Final:

1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)

2. James Stewart (Kaw)

3. Chad Reed (Yam)

4. Timmy Ferry (Kaw)

5. Nick Wey (Hon)

6. David Vuillemin (Hon)

7. Travis Preston (Hon)

8. Michael Byrne (Suz)

9. Jeff Gibson (Kaw)

10. Kevin Windham (Hon)

Lites Final:

1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)

2. Josh Grant (Hon)

3. Jake Weimer (Hon)

4. Josh Hill (Yam)

5. Jason Lawrence (Yam)

6. Kyle Partridge (Hon)

7. Steve Boniface (Kaw)

8. Josh Hansen (KTM)

9. Michael LaPaglia (Yam)

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.