As if there were anything left for Ricky Carmichael to add to his resume, he claimed a first-ever X Games Gold at the Home Depot Center, in the inaugural Moto X race. Carmichael cruised to a seemingly effortless victory in the bracket-style elimination race, which ended in a six-rider race. Yamaha’s Grant Langston finished a strong second for the silver medal, and Kevin Windham edged out Chad Reed for bronze.
Similar to the McGrath Invitational, the X Games Moto X was a bracket-style event. It began with 16 riders, each racing in four-rider heats with the winners advancing to the final. The remaining 12 riders headed into two six-rider LCQs, where each winner also advanced to the six-rider final. The rider brackets were “randomly selected with influence,” meaning that they selected with riders would square off in the first brackets, but the gate picks were random.
The first bracket — and probably the most entertaining — consisted of Kevin Windham, Jason Thomas, Grant Langston and Ryan Clark. All four riders banged bars for the first few turns with Clark taking the early lead. Windham finally plowed through in the whoops for the lead. Langston worked on Clark — and looking like he was started to get impatient — for the next few laps until finally getting around him. Langston charged hard to reel in Windham, and even tried cutting across the last turn to dash under “K-Dub,” but wasn’t able to make it happen. Windham advanced from the heat while Langston went on to qualify in the LCQ.
Freestyle star Travis Pastrana squared off with Michael Byrne, Eric Sorby and Josh Grant (aboard one of the only 250cc four-strokes) in the next heat. Pastrana was impressive, getting around Sorby (after Sorby checked him in the second turn) and Grant, but Byrne had already checked out.
Mike Alessi, Jake Weimer (also aboard a 250cc four-stroke), Chad Reed and Josh Demuth raced the third bracket, where Reed quickly advanced, although Alessi stayed on him throughout the race. The final bracket consisted of Heath Voss, David Vuillemin, Carmichael and Jeff Alessi — who filled in as the first alternate after Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry pulled out.
Carmichael cruised to the victory while Vuillemin went on to qualify from the LCQ.
The final race again saw Carmichael cruise to victory. He grabbed the holeshot and headed out in front of Reed. Langston stuck a wheel in on Reed in a few turns before finally getting around him. After Langston secured second, Windham also diced it up with Reed for the final podium position. The two went back a forth but the bronze ultimately went to K-Dub.
Carmichael reveled in the victory and was ecstatic to take the win in the event he had spent so much time helping prepare alongside ESPN.
“I’m so pumped, you have no idea,” Carmichael said. “I’ve always felt like an outsider – if you will – just because I’ve never had my discipline in the X Games. To finally have it and to be the first one [to win a gold medal]: Awesome. I cannot describe to you how happy I am.”
Carmichael talked about returning for the event next year, where he also expressed interest in competing in the X Games Step Up and Supermoto.
X Games Moto X Final Results
1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
2. Grant Langston (Yam)
3. Kevin Windham (Hon)
4. Chad Reed (Yam)
5. Michael Byrne (Suz)
6. David Vuillemin (Hon)