AMA

Washougal: Round eight preview

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 21, 2003) - Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Windham have a history at Washougal Motocross Park. The two AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship riders will renew their rivalry at the scenic circuit this Sunday, July 27, as...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 21, 2003) - Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Windham have a history at Washougal Motocross Park. The two AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship riders will renew their rivalry at the scenic circuit this Sunday, July 27, as the championship returns to the Pacific Northwest for round eight of the 12-round series.

Windham defeated Carmichael in the 250 class in 2001 and, amazingly, that was the last time Carmichael was beaten in an AMA Motocross until last week when Windham won in New Berlin, N.Y., to end Carmichael's AMA record winning streak at 21 (18-straight in the 250 class). Both Carmichael and Windham are looking forward to racing this weekend -- Carmichael seeking revenge for his loss to Windham two years ago and Windham hoping to confirm that his victory over the champ last week at Unadilla was not a fluke.

Carmichael comes to Washougal hoping to become the first rider to win three 250-class races at the track. The 23-year-old Floridian, who rides for Honda, is well on his way to becoming the first four-time champion in the history of AMA 250 Motocross. A victory at Washougal could almost seal the title, a loss to Windham could make for a very close battle for the championship.

"I'm looking forward to racing at Washougal," Carmichael said. "Kevin has definitely stepped it up and it should make things interesting for the fans. I'd like to get him back for beating me there a few years ago, so I have a lot of incentive to say the least."

Windham returned from semi-retirement this year and has been the only rider to consistently challenge Carmichael. He'd beaten Carmichael in a moto earlier in the season, but wasn't able to earn an overall victory until last weekend. Now Windham will go down in history as the rider to stop the longest winning streak in AMA Motocross history, but he doesn't want to stop there.

"I'd love to put a little pressure on Ricky for the championship," said Windham, who rides for Factory Connection Honda. "Realistically it's going to be tough to catch him, but I feel really good about my riding right now and at the very least we should give everybody good races to watch during the second half of the season."

Mike LaRocco is another former 250 winner at Washougal. The Hoosier native is ranked fifth coming into this Sunday's race. He's twice won the race, the last time in 1996.

Washougal fans, as always, will be rooting on favorite son Larry Ward. Ward, who was born in Everett, Wash., thrilled the Washougal faithful last year when he won the first 125 moto, before losing out to James Stewart in a great second-moto battle. Ward is riding in the 250 class this year with Honda backing. The 17-year motocross racing veteran is ranked 10th in the series standings and will be looking to move up the rankings at his home track.

Another rider to watch Sunday could be Kyle Lewis. The Moto-XXX Honda rider earned a podium finish in the 250 race at Washougal last year. The Henderson, Nevada rider finds himself ranked 13th in the series this year after finishing a very strong fifth in the standings last year, but he's had improved results in recent rounds and hopes to use Washougal as a springboard to the top 10.

Mike Brown leads the AMA 125 Motocross Championship with Pro Circuit Kawasaki, but Red Bull KTM's Grant Langston has pulled to within a single point of Brown in the championship chase. Brown admitted to riding tight while trying to preserve his series lead. "I'm going to quit worrying about the championship and start worrying about winning races again," Brown declared after last week's race in New York.

While Brown and Langston engage in a heated battle for the series lead, Kawasaki's James Stewart is rocketing up the rankings after missing the first four rounds of the series. Since returning to the championship from a collarbone break suffered in the last AMA Supercross race in May, Stewart has been perfect and moved from 17th, to 12th, to 6th in the series standings in just three races back. Even though it's a long shot, many are saying that Stewart could challenge for the championship by season's end. If he manages that feat it would go down as the greatest comeback in series history.

Suzuki's Branden Jesseman is another 125 rider looking forward to the return to Washougal. Like Stewart, he missed much of the season recovering from injury and has looked strong in his return. He finished 2-2 for third overall in last year's 125 race.

AMA Motocross racing has been coming to Washougal for 23 years. The track is considered the most picturesque in the championship and is counted as the favorite stop on the circuit by many riders. Several motorcycle manufacturers have used the facility for ad and brochure shoots due to its scenic beauty.

For additional information contact (541) 673-1671 or visit www.washougalmx.com. The race will be televised on ESPN2, Saturday, Aug. 2 beginning at 12 p.m. EST

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
WASHOUGAL MX PARK, WASHOUGAL, WA

SATURDAY JULY 26, 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 27, 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 Maintence 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

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Kevin Windham , Branden Jesseman , Mike Brown , James Stewart , Mike LaRocco