The beautiful Washougal Motocross track was immaculately prepped for practice today at round eight of the AMA National Motocross Championship Series in Washougal, Washington, and no one took advantage of the conditions like Team Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael.
With blue skies and temperatures in the high 80s, Carmichael (4), once again, set the fastest lap time in practice for tomorrow's two motos, the Floridian lapping at a best of 2:21.060 on the Washougal track. With two of his closest rivals - Team Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed - sitting out this round, things could be that much easier for Carmichael tomorrow. Not that the multi-time champ has needed much help of late.
Second quickest in the 250 class was Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Kevin Windham (14), his best of 2:23.423 coming in the first session today. The second session didn't go too well for the 27-year-old as he failed to post any competitive times.
The third fastest 250 rider was Team MDK’s Nick Wey, the privateer lapping at 2:24.341 aboard his Honda CRF450.
As for Reed and Stewart, both riders are sitting this one out after suffering concussions. Stewart is still feeling the effects of his crash with Carmichael at Unadilla, and the Kawasaki star failed to get clearance from his doctor to race. Ditto for Reed, the Australian crashing while practicing at Glen Helen in Southern California this week.
In the 125cc class Team Makita Suzuki’s Broc Hepler turned in a scorching fast time in the second session, a lap that put him second of all the riders taking to the track today. Hepler's best was a 2:24.219. Second fastest in the class was Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Grant Langston with a time of 2:24.541, the South African ending up ahead of his teammate, and last round’s winner, Ivan Tedesco. Tedesco’s best time was 2:25.331.
The points chase in the 125 class continues to be tight. Currently Jim’s Motorcycle Sales/Honda rider Mike Brown trails Tedesco in the championship by just seven points, 250-257. The 250 class, though, is quite different. Carmichael has a 77-point lead over Windham, 344-267, after seven straight wins on the season.
The women also raced today and sweeping both motos was defending WMA Champion Jessica Patterson. Second overall went to Tania Satchwell with a 4-2 moto score. Sarah Whitmore tallied a 3-3 in the motos for third overall.