Carmichael, Villopoto Rule Unadilla

Shan Moore | July 16, 2006

Team Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael recorded his fifth straight win of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Series after topping both motos today at the Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New York. On a warm and humid day, Carmichael had little opposition after taking control of both motos by the second laps and, from there, running off with his third sweep of the year.

Carmichael had it a bit easier today because two of his main rivals, James Stewart and Chad Reed, got banged up early in the day. Both Stewart and Reed crashed in the first morning practice session. Stewart sat out the National complaining of a sore shoulder and a stiff neck, and Reed nearly did not ride because of a sore knee. Reed was going to sit this one out as well but chose to ride just minutes before the first moto. Reed ended up going 4-4 for fourth overall.

Team Honda’s Davi Millsaps, who has never been known for his great starts, pulled off two of them at Unadilla, and he led for about a lap and a half in the first moto before getting passed by Carmichael. Millsaps ended up finishing second in the first moto, holding fellow Honda rider Kevin Windham at bay at the end. In the second moto, however, Millsaps, who again took the holeshot and quickly got passed by Carmichael, couldn’t hold off Windham and had to settle for third overall with a 2-3.

Windham took runner-up honors with a 3-2. As mentioned, Yamaha’s Reed finished fourth overall, while Moto XXX/Honda’s Tim Ferry rounded out the top five overall with a strong 5-5.

The fifth- through eighth-placed riders all posted consistent finishes, with Ferry going 5-5 for fifth,’s David Vuillemin going 6-6 for sixth, Unbound Energy/MDK/Honda’s Nick Wey going 7-7 for seventh, and Team Honda’s Travis Preston going 8-8 for eighth. Moto XXX/Honda’s Kyle Lewis (10-9) and Suzuki rider John Dowd (11-11) rounded out the top 10 overall.

After the race, Carmichael announced that this would be his last race at the famed Unadilla track, saying it was a good Unadilla to go out on. Carmichael now has a comfortable 44-point lead over Reed, 292-248, with six rounds left. Windham is third with 195 points.

In the Lites class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto picked up the overall win and moved into the series points lead after going 2-1 on the day.

In the first moto, Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi ran off with the win, while Villopoto worked his way up to second and started to apply pressure on the KTM rider before the checkered flag came out.

Alessi couldn’t match his first-moto start in the second moto, as he found himself deep in the field early in the race, while Villopoto gated much better this time. Villopoto worked his way around SoBe/Samsung Mobile/Honda’s Josh Grant and Team Honda’s Andrew Short and then ran off with the win.

Alessi, meanwhile, worked his way up to sixth but got past by Brett Metcalfe late in the race to finish seventh.

Short ended up finishing second overall with a 3-2, while Alessi ended up third overall with a 1-7. Fourth and fifth overall went to Yamaha of Troy’s Andrew McFarlane (4-4) and Metcalfe (5-5), respectively.

After six rounds, Villopoto now leads Alessi by three points, 240-237. Short is third with 208 points.

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.