Carmichael looking to tie record at Red Bud track
BUCHANAN -- Ricky Carmichael comes to Red Bud Track 'N Trail on Sunday with the opportunity to tie the record of three 250 class wins at the track held by former AMA Motocross Champion Mike Kiedrowski. Red Bud, located in Buchanan, is round six of the 12-event AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship making it the mid-way point in the 2003 season.
Carmichael is undefeated this season in the 250 class, having won the five rounds leading up to Red Bud and building a 53-point lead in the standings over fellow Honda rider Kevin Windham.
Kawasaki's James Stewart returns to Red Bud as the defending winner in the 125 division. Stewart missed the first four races of the season due to injury and is working hard to put himself into championship contention by season's end.
Carmichael continues to build on the longest winning streak in the history of AMA Motocross. Coming into Red Bud, the 23-year-old Floridian has amassed 20 consecutive wins dating back to the end of the 2001 season. Carmichael also has a solid record at Red Bud. He's won the 250 class the last two years and prior to that he earned two wins in the 125 series. Windham and KTM ace John Dowd join Carmichael as former 250 winners at Red Bud. Windham has received a warm welcome back to motocross after sitting out the 2002 season. He's parlayed three consecutive podium finishes into second in the series standings. Windham has not only shown consistency, but sheer speed as well. He is one of only two riders to manage to beat Carmichael in a moto this year. The other was Yamaha's Tim Ferry, who won the first moto three weeks ago at Budds Creek, Md., before crashing in the second moto. Dowd, at 37, is one of the oldest regulars on the circuit, but the New Englander is still showing good speed. He was runner-up to Carmichael at Southwick, Mass., last month.
Local favorites in the 250 class will include Mike LaRocco, from nearby South Bend, Ind., and Michigander Nick Wey. LaRocco, who rides a Factory Connection Honda, is fifth ranked in the 250 series; Wey 11th on a Mach 1 Yamaha.
Red Bud features the longest jump on the circuit named LaRocco's Leap in honor of the local hero who was said to be the first rider to ever clear the 130-foot uphill monster.
A bright ray of hope shined down on the ill-fated Suzuki team in the last round when Stephane Roncada moved up from the 125 class and finished second to Carmichael in the 250s. Roncada, who won the 125 class at Red Bud three years ago, could be the X factor in the coming races after surprising everyone with his fine performance three weeks ago.
The series riders should be refreshed after having two weekends away from racing. Carmichael said after the race in Maryland three weeks ago that he planned on getting away from the track during the early-summer break. "I think I'll get my boat out and maybe go to the beach. I'll come back to Red Bud ready to race."
Stewart's return to the series after missing the first four rounds was the big story at the last race. At Red Bud the focus will shift to seeing if Stewart can start a winning streak and make a bid at the championship after giving the rest of the series regulars such a large head start.
Leading the 125 series is Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown. Brown has won two rounds and holds a 15-point lead on old rival Grant Langston. Veteran Ryan Hughes was in the thick of the title chase before breaking his leg last month. Hughes still holds third in the series, although he's dropped 37 points behind Brown. He hopes to race at Red Bud and stay in the title chase as his leg heals.
Michigan's Kelly Smith will be a fan favorite at Red Bud in the 125 class. Smith is ranked 20th coming into this round and has finished as high as sixth in the 125 series this season.
For additional information on Red Bud contact (269) 695-6405 or visit www.redbudmx.com. The race will be taped and is scheduled to be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 12.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USMotocross.com.
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