Unadilla -- A Circuit Of Tradition PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Sunday, July 15, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championships come to New York State and the storied circuit at Unadilla near New Berlin, N.Y. Unadilla is a place rich in ...
Unadilla -- A Circuit Of Tradition
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Sunday, July 15, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championships come to New York State and the storied circuit at Unadilla near New Berlin, N.Y. Unadilla is a place rich in motocross history with its rolling green hills and deep black dirt. Many consider the New York circuit to be the Granddaddy of all the AMA motocross events. The track has hosted Trans-AMAs, U.S. Grands Prix, Motocross des Nations as well as AMA Nationals. The man himself Roger DeCoster, who won a number of Trans-AMA nationals in the mid-1970 at the venue, calls Unadilla "America's best spectator track."
For over 30 years the best motocross racers from around the world have come to face the challenge of Unadilla. This year legends in the making, such as Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana are hoping to etch their names in the history books alongside motocross greats such as Jeff Smith, Roger DeCoster, Marty Tripes, Bob Hannah and David Bailey. Carmichael is a three-time winner at Unadilla. He first earned a victory in the 125 class on the circuit in 1998, and last year he won the 250 class. This race marks the opening of the second half of the 2001 season, and Carmichael, who rides for Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki, comes to Unadilla leading the 250 class points by 33 over Suzuki's Kevin Windham. Carmichael has three wins to his credit in six races and has a chance to become the all-time AMA National Motocross wins leader. He tied Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bob Hannah with 37 National wins last Sunday in Buchanan, Mich.
Carmichael has controlled, but not dominated the season thus far. Four different riders, Carmichael, Sebastien Tortelli, Tim Ferry and David Vuillemin, have won in the 250 class so far.
LaRocco, a native of South Bend, Ind., has had a solid season and is ranked fifth in the standings, but has yet to earn an overall victory. LaRocco feels right at home on the hills of Unadilla. He's won the 250 race three times before– more than any other rider.
Travis Pastrana leads the 125 championship coming into Unadilla, but is facing some tough competition from last year's 125 World Champion Grant Langston of South Africa and a couple of AMA veterans Mike Brown and Larry Ward.
Pastrana, the 17-year-old from Annapolis, Md., has stayed relatively injury free this season and with two wins to his credit, finds himself with a solid 44-point lead in the 125 standings. The Suzuki rider is anxious to add his name to the prestigious winner's list at Unadilla after finishing runner-up to Frenchman Stephane Roncada last year. Pastrana will have to hold off Langston, the Red Bull KTM rider from South Africa, who started the season hot, but has been riding the last few weeks with a painful shoulder separation. Langston looks to be returning to form after winning a moto last week in Michigan and taking third overall. If he continues to improve, Langston should be a major threat to win next weekend. This will be his first race at Unadilla, but the circuit should remind him of some of the wide-open European tracks on which he earned the world championship last year.
Mike Brown and Larry Ward are veteran racers who are both experiencing resurgence this year. Brown, 28, of Piney Flats, Tenn., is third in the 125 standings returning to the U.S. after racing much of the late-1990s in the World Championships. Brown's previous best finishes at Unadilla came in 1995 and '96 when he finished fifth both years in the 125 class. Ward is another vet who is showing new life. The 31-year-old rider from Florence, S.C., was the surprise winner in the 125 class last week in Michigan. It marked Ward's first national win since 1992. Ward moved to fourth in the series standings. He rides a Yamaha YZ250F for Team Moto XXX.
For immediate post-race results, rider information, AMA Pro Racing notes and news, log on to www.amaproracing.com. <pre> UNADILLA VALLEY SPORTS CENTER NEW BERLIN, NY SCHEDULE OF EVENT JULY 15, 2001
DIRECTIONS TO TRACK - State Route 90 towards Utica, then South on Route 8 toward New Berlin.
RACE AND TICKET INFO - 607-847-8186
8:00 am - 1:30 pm Will Call 8:30 am Riders Meeting (Mandatory) 8:45 am Chapel Service 9:00 am - 9:20 am Practice 125 class 9:20 am - 9:40 am Practice 250 class 9:45 am - 10:00 am Practice 125 class 10:00 am - 10:15 am Practice 250 class 10:30 am to completion Qualifiers 12:30 pm Opening Ceremonies 1:00 pm Moto 1 - 125 class - 30 minutes, plus 2 laps 2:00 pm Moto 1 - 250 class - 30 minutes, plus 2 laps 3:30 pm Moto 2 - 125 class - 30 minutes, plus 2 laps 4:20 pm Moto 2 - 250 class - 30 minutes, plus 2 laps 5:30 pm Victory Circle