PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 5, 2003) -- South African Grant Langston has captured his first AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship. Langston's title in the 125 class also marks the first AMA Motocross title for Austrian motorcycle maker ...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 5, 2003) -- South African Grant Langston has captured his first AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship. Langston's title in the 125 class also marks the first AMA Motocross title for Austrian motorcycle maker KTM.
The championship was sweet for Langston, who lost the very same title in the final moto of the 2001 season when his wheel broke. At the same time, it was bitterly disappointing for Langston's Red Bull KTM teammate Ryan Hughes, who had closed to within 7 points of Langston and was hoping to have a shot at winning his first title. The final round of the series was cancelled due to excessive rains and flooding at the track set to host the event, Kenworthy's Motocross Park in Troy, Ohio. That race had already been postponed from July, and extending the season even further was not possible.
"Winning the championship is awesome for me," said Langston, the 2000 125 Motocross World Champion. "This was my last opportunity for an AMA championship on the 125, and it means so much to me after being so close two years ago. All the best riders in the world are here; more so than in the 125 World Motocross GPs. I think a lot of people still have the opinion that a World Motocross Championship doesn't mean all that much. Since I won that, this is really what I want -- a U.S. Motocross Championship. I wanted to be able to prove that I could do it!"
Langston had a year of solid consistency. He finished outside of the top-five overall only once and scored three podium finishes. He does become the first rider in the history of AMA 125 Motocross however, to win the championship without having won a National. He and teammate Ryan Hughes were locked into a three-way battle for the championship with Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown. Brown went down with a shoulder injury at Washougal and aggravated the injury at Millville to drop out of title contention. Late in the year Kawasaki's James Stewart put himself in the championship picture by winning seven straight Nationals after missing the first four rounds due to a broken collarbone.
In the end, it was Langston taking the title by 7 points over Hughes, with Stewart 30 points back in third. Langston, 21, is in his third year in AMA competition.
Langston's championship also marked an important milestone for KTM. The Austrian maker has been involved in AMA racing since the mid-1970s and has often been a leading contender, but never won the top prize. KTM also becomes the first European maker to win the AMA 125 Motocross title.
Langston follows in the footsteps of countryman Greg Albertyn who won the AMA 250 Motocross Championship in 1999. Langston said he plans on moving up to the 250 class for next season.