Carmichael Tops Two-Stroke Invitational

Cycle News Staff | July 7, 2009

In front of the largest crowd of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA MX Nationals, Monster Energy’s Ricky Carmichael threw a leg back over his Makita/Suzuki RM250 two-stroke and put a whipping on Michigan’s finest pro motocross racers – including multi-time National Champion Jeff Stanton.The three-lap exhibition race, dubbed the “RedBud/FMF Two-Stroke Invitational,” pitted numerous pro motocross racers in a spirited battle for bragging rights at the first of what could become a very popular side attraction for the MX Nationals.”It looks like 2004 all over again!” said track announcer Tim Cotter as Carmichael tore across one of America’s premier motocross facilities. Fans literally sprinted from one side of the track, where they watched in awe as Carmichael hucked himself off the RedBud Ski Jump, to the crest of the hill where they could catch a glimpse of Carmichael pinning it over LaRocco’s Leap.”He’s still the best – the best of them all,” said one kid as Carmichael pulled the holeshot on a field that included recognizable Michigan Mafia names joining Stanton on the start gate, such as Josh Woods, Kelly Smith, Todd DeHoop, Ryan Valade, Matt Maximoff and Josh Lichtle.The RedBud/FMF Two-Stroke Invitational’s practice session alone took its toll on the field, as Carmichael blew the spokes out of his front rim when he flat-landed the Leap, then Jeff Emig burned up a clutch on a re-built Kawasaki KX250. Even though Emig’s crew wasn’t able to gather the parts necessary to fix his KX, Suzuki did have an extra rim on hand for Carmichael and the “G.O.A.T” answered the bell for the two-stroke main and didn’t disappoint as he blasted out to an early lead, then basked in the glow of nearly 25,000 fans going bananas on every berm, bump and jump around the track as the iconic number-4 bike blitzed by.”RedBud’s always been a special place for me and it feels great to be back here riding again on this track, in front of you guys,” said Carmichael from the podium, then added a “RrrrreeedddBuuuddd!” for the fans, which sent the already maxed-out amplitude level into the stratosphere.And though the focus was on Carmichael, there was actually some great Brraaapp-Brraaappp battles going on behind him between Stanton and DeHoop, and Lichtle and Woods. In the end, Lichtle would take advantage of the rules (or lack of) and pulled off a second-place finish on a Honda CR500, while Woods charged hard to third place. FMF’s “Lil D” Donnie Emler, had some cool trophies made up from FMF pipes – which, went over well with the racers. Stanton and Maximoff rounded out the top five, respectively.”Yeah, the RedBud faithful were pretty pumped on seeing RC ride again,” said RedBud’s Tim Ritchie, sitting on top of a bulldozer overlooking the track he’d designed and built. “Not sure if anybody had a stopwatch on him, but I think he’d have done pretty well in the 450 class – even on a 250.”