PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- For three of the last four years Mike Brown has raced in Europe chasing the 125 Motocross World Championships. This year Brown, of Johnson City, Tenn., returned home to America and after a long and often trying journey...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- For three of the last four years Mike Brown has raced in Europe chasing the 125 Motocross World Championships. This year Brown, of Johnson City, Tenn., returned home to America and after a long and often trying journey finally earned his first AMA national title. On Sunday (Sept. 2) Brown, 28, won the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks 125 U.S. Motocross Championship in one of the most dramatic season finales in AMA racing history.
After a slow start Brown, riding for Pro Circuit Kawasaki, emerged mid-season as a serious contender for the 125 title. Brown's emergence was overshadowed early on by the fierce competition between defending AMA 125 champ Travis Pastrana and defending 125 world champion Grant Langston. When Langston and Pastrana were slowed by injuries Brown took full advantage and began winning. In all Brown won three overall Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross events this year. It could have easily been four, but for slowing in the remarkable final moto of the season after the championship was decided to allow Ricky Carmichael to win his 26th-career AMA 125 motocross national.
Coming into the final round of the series Sunday in Delmont, Pa., Brown trailed Langston by nine points. Brown narrowed the gap to six points by winning the first 125 moto at Steel City after a typically tough battle with Langston. In the second moto it looked as if Brown had little chance to catch Langston for the title since all Langston needed to do was finish third or better to secure the title.
In the final 125 moto of the season, Brown fell on the first lap, but quickly got back on his bike and began charging through the field. Meanwhile Langston was running a comfortable second to Carmichael and looked to have the title in hand when suddenly, with three laps to go, Langston slowed with a broken rear wheel on his KTM. Brown moved up to take second and a lap later Langston was forced to retire from the race as the wheel came apart. With the championship his, Brown unselfishly slowed to let Branden Jesseman go past so that Carmichael (who had moved back to the 125 class after winning the 250 championship a week earlier) could win the overall and become the all-time wins leader in AMA 125 Motocross history.
It was a race of unbelievable joy for Brown and an equal amount of anguish for Langston. Langston gathered himself and graciously congratulated Brown on the podium after Brown was presented the AMA No. 1 plate.
"This is a dream come true," said Brown after the race. "I knew I needed a little magic to happen in the second moto to win the championship unless Grant had some bad luck -- and he did. Grant definitely showed that he's a tough competitor and I feel fortunate to come out with the championship against guys like him and Pastrana. I've worked a long time for this and it feels good to finally accomplish one of the goals I've had for so many years."
Brown is the first rider from Tennessee to win an AMA national motocross championship.