PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Last week will be a time Ricky Carmichael and motocross fans across the nation will not soon forget. The 21-year-old Carmichael, from Havana, Fla., wrapped up the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 250 Motocross Championships with a...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Last week will be a time Ricky Carmichael and motocross fans across the nation will not soon forget. The 21-year-old Carmichael, from Havana, Fla., wrapped up the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 250 Motocross Championships with a victory in Binghamton, N.Y. on Aug. 26, then entered the 125 race for the season finale at Steel City, in Delmont, Pa., on Sunday (Sept. 2) and won that race, giving him the all-time AMA 125 National Motocross record for most wins. For Carmichael it was a fitting end to perhaps the most remarkable season for any rider in the history of AMA Supercross and Motocross.
Carmichael, after scoring a 1-1 in the 250 class at Binghamton, clinched the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 250 Motocross Championship. The overall win marked his seventh of the season. No other rider at that point in the series had taken more than one victory (Suzuki's Kevin Windham closed the year with a win in the 250 class at Steel City, his second of the season). Carmichael became the first back-to-back winner of the 250 class since Jeff Emig accomplished the feat in 1997. RC also became the first rider in AMA history to win the 125 and the 250 motocross titles back to back.
After securing the 250 championship, Carmichael turned his attention to the 125 class for the final round of the series at Steel City Raceway. Carmichael wanted to break his long-standing tie with Motorcycle Hall of Fame member Mark Barnett -- each sharing the AMA record of 25-career wins in the 125 class. It was a little more complicated for Carmichael than simply trying to go out and win the race, there was a championship to consider as well. Carmichael's good friend and fellow Team Kawasaki member Mike Brown was in a fight with Grant Langston for the 125 title and it would be decided at Steel City. Carmichael promised to help Brown win the championship if it came down to that.
As it turned out Brown was the one who did Carmichael a favor. Series leader Langston was forced to retire from the second 125 moto after having a rear wheel come apart, which cleared the way for Brown to win the championship. Brown, who was running second to Carmichael, slowed to let Branden Jesseman pass insuring Carmichael the overall win. Carmichael is now the all-time wins leader in AMA 125 National Motocross history.
His 250 championship was Carmichael's sixth national title as a pro. He won the AMA 125 Motocross title three times, the Supercross title this year and now his second 250 Motocross championship.
"It's just been an awesome season no question about it," said Carmichael of his 2001 campaign. "To win the Supercross and 250 Motocross championships and then set a new 125 national win record -- I don't know if I would have even dreamed of this kind of success before this year started. I put a lot of effort into this season and I plan on coming back just as strong next year."
Carmichael now turns his attention to the 2001 Motocross des Nations in Belgium at the end of this month. He will be teamed with Brown and Windham in the team's attempt at defending last year's U.S. victory in the prestigious international competition.
-AMA Pro racing