James Stewart put the skids to Ricky Carmichael’s 27-race win streak at the opening round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Series on a wet and rainy day in Sacramento, California. Stewart came from behind and passed race leader Chad Reed on the last lap to win the first moto, while Reed hung on to second and Carmichael took third.
As mentioned, the weather was less than ideal, as a steady drizzle kept the track slick and rutted.
Carmichael took the holeshot in the first moto but slid out just past the first turn and spent most of the race coming up through the pack. Stewart also fell on the first lap, and the two hooked up in the middle of the field and battled back up to the front. Stewart and Carmichael traded positions a couple of times before Stewart broke away from a goggle-less Carmichael and caught Reed in dramatic fashion.
In the second moto, Carmichael again got the holeshot but, this time, never let go. The defending champ opened up a big lead and was never challenged.
Stewart got a so-so start but quickly got into second, however, Carmichael had already checked out, and Stewart had no chance of catching the fleeing Suzuki rider. But Stewart didn’t need to take the moto win to get the overall, as his 1-2 bettered Carmichael’s 3-1 for the Hangtown win, his first in the Motocross class. Reed ended up going 3-3 for third overall.
The Lites class was dominated by Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi who won both motos. In the first moto, Alessi nailed the holeshot ahead of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and managed to keep him at bay through out the race. Villopoto ran about three or four seconds back for most of the race but dropped back further when he crashed on the last lap. Villopoto held on to finish second ahead of Josh Grant.
For Alessi, the second moto went much the same as the first, though he didn’t get the holeshot, which, instead went to Grant, but Grant went down on the first lap, handing the lead over to Alessi, who inherited a small lead over Yamaha of Troy’s Bret Metcalfe. Alessi maintained the lead over Metcalfe, who kept the pressure on Alessi through out the race.
Villopoto, meanwhile, had problems on the first lap and spent the rest of the race battling through the pack.
Metcalfe ended up finishing second overall with 5-2 moto finishes.
Andrew McFarlane made it two Yamaha of Troy riders on the podium at the end of the day. The former GP star went 4-3 for third overall.