There were actually no pre-qualifying qualifiers today, as has become the norm on Saturday afternoons, because there aren’t enough entrants to warrant it. A couple of riders present in Washougal, Washington, seem to think that many of the privateers that have made the trek across the country to the east coast, or who live on the east coast, didn’t find their potential rewards worth the hassle of driving to the Pacific Northwest and then returning almost 3000 miles back east for the conclusion of the season.
Practice today was something to behold, though. In both sessions, last-round winner Kevin Windham (14) and every-other-round winner Ricky Carmichael (4) gave each other something to think about. Windham chased Carmichael down in the first practice and tried to pull away while Carmichael hung in behind him before ultimately slowing out of the chase. In the second practice, it seemed Carmichael had a bit of something for Windham, so we’ll all have to wait and see for tomorrow. Previous to last weekend, Windham was the last guy to beat Carmichael in a National anywhere, and that was at Washougal 2001.
With all the focus on the two Hondas, though, Timmy Ferry slipped in under both of them and recorded the fastest lap time of the day late in the second practice. Ferry’s 2:18.578 topped Windham’s 2:18.636 and Carmichael’s 2:18.727. The rest of the field, according to the AMA time sheets, were a bit off their pace. Chad Reed was fourth fastest at 2:21.061.
For a bit of a comparison, James Stewart (259) clocked a fastest of 2:21.861 on his KX125, almost two seconds faster than second-fastest Ryan Hughes (105). Then came Mike Brown another half a second behind Hughes, and the rest of the field.
One interesting note is that Kelly Smith, who is known to be riding the new KXF250 next year but didn’t know for which team, was spotted in a sit-down meeting under the Pro Circuit awning. When asked which team he will ride for next year, he said, “I’m not at liberty to say” with a big, cheesy grin. When asked persistently, he still didn’t say for sure, but said he’ll probably be in the Pro Circuit rig next year.