Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart each won a moto at Southwick’s Motocross 338. And they each crashed once. But Stewart’s crash - mechanically induced - was more costly. It denied the Kawasaki rider a certain second place on the final lap of the second moto.
So when the day ended, Makita Suzuki’s Carmichael had his eighth Southwick win in a row, and ninth overall, in front of a record crowd of 17,500 on a glorious New England afternoon.
"It’s either I’m crashing or he’s crashing," Carmichael said of Stewart. "At this level, we can’t do this. But you guys definitely got your price of admission today. It was a great race between myself and James (Stewart).
Carmichael’s streak includes seven Motocross wins and one in the 125cc class (1999). His first win came in the 125cc class in 1997.
Though he plans to run a limited schedule in 2007, Carmichael committed to returning to Southwick.
Yamaha’s Chad Reed keep up his consistent season with a 3-2 day. The Australian has finished second or third in all six motos this year.
“I really wanted to get up there this weekend and battle with those guys and latch all over them, but I really struggled to get good rhythm at the beginning of the motos this weekend,” Reed said.
Reed was only two seconds behind Carmichael in the first moto, but wasn’t a challenger in the second. It took him until the 10th of 18 laps to put American Honda’s Davi Milsaps behind him, after which he couldn’t put a glove on Stewart, before he crashed, and later Carmichael.
“Davi (Milsaps), I was lucky I was a little stronger than him to get him at the end there,” Reed said.
Milsaps finished third for the second race in a row. This week’s 4-3 finish came with an assist from Stewart. The Kawasaki’s rider last lap misfortune elevated Milsaps one spot.
“That was the first time, what? in three races now that I didn’t hit like a four lap wall and I wasn’t tired going to the halfway,” Milsaps said. “Then, right after the halfway, my back started cramping up and I couldn’t even stand up. Went downhill from there.”
Because Stewart had lapped most of the field when he fell, he was scored in 11th place. With his first moto win, it netted him a fourth overall.
“I got two great starts today and in the second moto me and Ricky (Carmichael) were battling for a little while,” he said. “And just from not riding for two weeks, I kind of started making a few mistakes. He got away. And then Chad (Reed) started coming up. It was good. I felt like I was riding pretty good today. I was happy with everything. Then, on the fastest part of the track, we had a problem with the motor where it quit off the face of a jump. And that was it. That was the end of the story. Everything’s fine. I’m just sore. I didn’t hit my head.”
Stewart said he’d be checked out by his doctor in Florida before deciding whether he’d ride at Budds Creek next weekend. His plan is to ride.
“We’re going to just see what the results are from the doctor and go from there,” he said. “Haven’t quit yet, so I don’t want to start now. The only way I wouldn’t ride is if I was seriously injured. We’ll see tomorrow.”
Carmichael’s second overall in row added five points to his championship lead. After three of 12 rounds, he leads Reed 142 to 128. Milsaps is third at 101.
American Honda’s Andrew Short took his first win of the season in the Motocross Lites class with a 1-4 day in Southwick. Short took the lead from Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi on the sixth of 18 laps and eased away to win by 5.057 seconds.
Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy’s Brett Metcalfe took third, just over a second behind Alessi.
Short started badly in the second moto; after the first lap he was 11th. And he could only make his way up to fourth. But that was enough to give him his first overall of the season and second ever motocross overall.
Metcalfe led the first 16 laps of the second moto before being passed by Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Grant Langston. Langston, who was forced out of the first moto with an engine problem, beat Metcalfe by 3.876 seconds.
The 3-2 gave Metcalfe a second overall.
Alessi had the inverse score, 2-3, which put him third and on the podium for the third time this year.
It also kept him in a strong championship position. With three of 12 races run, Alessi leads short 130 to 105. Metcalfe and Sobe/Samsung Mobile Honda’s Josh Grant, fifth today, are tied for third with 101.
Motocross Class Overall:
1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz) 2-1
2. Chad Reed (Yam) 3-2
3. Davi Millsaps (Hon) 4-3
4. James Stewart (Kaw) 1-11
5. Kevin Windham (Hon) 5-4
6. John Dowd (Suz) 6-7
7. Tim Ferry (Hon) 8-6
8. Nick Wey (Hon) 11-5
9. Travis Preston (Hon) 7-10
10. Ryan Clark (Hon) 13-9
Lites Class Overall:
1. Andrew Short (Hon) 1-4
2. Brett Metcalfe (Yam) 3-2
3. Mike Alessi (KTM) 2-3
4. Andrew McFarlane (Yam) 5-6
5. Josh Grant (Hon) 8-7
6. Matt Georke (Yam) 4-12
7. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw) 7-9
8. Jason Lawrence (Suz) 6-10
9. Grant Langston (Kaw) 32-1
10. Nathan Ramsey (KTM) 12-8