As the world's top riders prepare to drop the gates on the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF, several of the series' top competitors make their anticipated return at the 13th Annual Giant RV AMA Motocross National presented by Yamaha at Glen Helen, May 24-25. While a solid field of riders prepare for the transition from an ultra-competitive Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, a talented line-up of title contenders are anxious to return to the track.
Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart makes his comeback after missing the majority of this winter's supercross season. A torn ACL has recovered ahead of schedule and despite not seeing any race action since January, Stewart says, "I feel better than I felt in a long time." A sure sign that he is more than ready for the summer campaign and a run at his first AMA Toyota Motocross Championship title. Add Stewart's teammate and series veteran Timmy Ferry to the mix, and the Kawasaki factory squad appears ready to make a solid run at its first AMA Motocross title since 2001.
Red Bull Honda's Ivan Tedesco has fully recovered from a serious hand injury and is 100% ready for the intense summer action. "I've been working hard and I feel like I am totally prepared for the nationals to begin," said Tedesco.
Red Bull Honda teammate Ben Townley is also slated to make his return at Glen Helen after wrist and ankle problems, giving the team a full squad of riders with Andrew Short and Davi Millsaps coming off a successful string of races to close out the supercross season.
Last season's breakout-star Mike Alessi is also back to head the line-up for Rockstar/Makita Suzuki. After notching several holeshots and six podium finishes last season, Alessi is determined to prove 2007 was no fluke as he puts behind a broken collarbone that cut short his supercross season. Teammates David Vuillemin and Michael Byrne, who is coming back from off season ACL surgery, round out a very competitive roster.
Team Yamaha has run into an unfortunate string of bad luck. First, defending AMA Toyota Motocross Champion Grant Langston suffered a concussion and a broken collarbone while testing just weeks before the Glen Helen opener, which leaves his return date an unknown. Then just last week, Broc Hepler broke his arm while practicing and is expected to miss up to months, which leaves rising star Josh Hill to carry the flag for Team Yamaha.
In the AMA Motocross Lites class, defending two-time champion Ryan Villopoto guns for three in a row on his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, but newly-crowned Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites regional champions in Geico Powersports Honda's Trey Canard and Boost Mobile Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence, as well as front-runner Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey, are eager to stop Villopoto's recent streak.
Villopoto's teammates Brett Metcalfe and Austin Stroupe round out an intimidating and talented trio as the pair hope to build upon solid winter seasons in the confines of the nation's stadiums.
The season's opening motos kick start on Sunday, May 25 at 1 p.m., from Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino, Calif.
For more information on the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship, presented by FMF, log on to www.amamotocross.com for live timing and scoring at @theWireLIVE!. Racer X Illustrated will host a new and improved webcast on www.motocross.com, with live racing action hosted by Jason Weigandt. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com has also been added on Saturday night of each race weekend, featuring practice footage and interviews taken earlier in the day.