PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 9, 2003) - Ricky Carmichael, the three-time defending AMA U.S. 250 Motocross Champion, comes to Unadilla Valley Sports Center on Sunday, July 20, with the opportunity to become the first four-time winner of the 250 class...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 9, 2003) - Ricky Carmichael, the three-time defending AMA U.S. 250 Motocross Champion, comes to Unadilla Valley Sports Center on Sunday, July 20, with the opportunity to become the first four-time winner of the 250 class at the historic Unadilla circuit near New Berlin, N.Y. Carmichael is in the midst of the most remarkable run in the history of American motocross and is attempting to go undefeated for a second-straight season in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship. Unadilla is round seven of the 12-round series. It was originally scheduled to be round eight, but the event originally scheduled last week in Troy, Ohio, was postponed until Sept. 7, due to Midwestern flooding that left the track under two-feet of water.
Most experts considered the possibility of a rider going through an entire season undefeated in AMA Motocross competition something that would likely never happen. Carmichael shocked the pundits and etched a permanent place in the history of motocross racing by not only winning all 12 rounds last year, but also winning all 24 motos en route to the first perfect season in the history of the sport. While Carmichael will not duplicate the 24 moto wins of last year since he has been beaten by Kevin Windham and Tim Ferry in individual motos this season, his perfect overall win record is intact. Carmichael is halfway to turning in another unbeaten season, but instead of looking at that aspect he is simply focusing on the winning championship this year.
"I have nothing to prove," Carmichael said. "I've already accomplished an undefeated season. I'm not saying that I wouldn't like to do it again, but if I don't it's no big deal. It's not something I worry about. Years from now people will remember my championships and the fact that I was the first rider to go undefeated, so that's something that will always be there."
Factory Connection Honda's Kevin Windham is second in the series coming into Unadilla. Windham is hoping to earn his first victory since returning to the series after a year's absence. He is a former 125 winner at the New York circuit and finished fourth in his last appearance at the track in 2001. Windham's teammate Mike LaRocco joins Carmichael as the only other Unadilla 250-class winner in the field besides Carmichael on Sunday. The Hoosier native won the race three times in the 1990s.
Windham, LaRocco and the rest of the 250 field realize that if they can manage to beat Carmichael, they too will go down in history as the rider to stop the longest winning streak in the history of motocross.
Kawasaki's James Stewart is hoping to defend his Unadilla victory in the 125 class. It was there last year in his rookie season that Stewart inexplicably slowed during the race and allowed Chad Reed to pass, only to toy with him and pass him back in a show of supreme confidence and perhaps youthful braggadocio. Stewart has easily won both 125 rounds since returning to competition after missing the opening four rounds with a broken collarbone. In just two events Stewart has moved up to 12th in the series standings and is likely to crack the top 10 at Unadilla.
Almost overlooked because of Stewart's return is the excellent 125 series battle between Mike Brown of Pro Circuit Kawasaki and KTM factory rider Grant Langston. Brown, the 2001 AMA 125 Motocross champ, leads rival Langston by a mere 9 points. Langston is a former 125 winner at Unadilla. Brown's plan seems to be to not worry about Stewart, but instead focus on what he needs to do to preserve his title hopes, which essentially means finishing in front of Langston.
Unadilla is one of the most historic races in all of AMA Pro Racing. The circuit was one of the first motocross tracks in the U.S. and has hosted AMA Motocross and U.S. Motocross Grands Prix since the 1970s. The track is considered the most "European" of all the U.S. circuits with its natural terrain layout that harkens back to the origins of the sport. Unadilla will be taped for showing on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 26. For additional information call (607) 965-8784 or visit www.unadillamx.com.
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. <pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
UNADILLA VALLEY SPORTS CENTER, NEW BERLIN, NEW YORK
SATURDAY JULY 19, 2003 2:00 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:20 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:40 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 3:00 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:20 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:40 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 4:15 PM Pre-Qualifiers
SUNDAY JULY 20, 2003 9:00 AM - 9:20 AM 125 National riders practice 9:20 AM - 9:40 AM 250 National riders practice 9:40 AM - 9:50 AM Track Maintenance 9:50 AM - 10:10 AM 125 National riders practice 10:10 AM - 10:30 AM 250 National riders practice 10:45 AM to completion Qualifiers 12:30 PM Opening Ceremonies 1:00 PM Moto 1- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 2:00 PM Moto 1- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 3:30 PM Moto 2- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 4:10 PM 125 Victory Circle 4:20 PM Moto 2- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 5:10 PM Victory Circle