PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 29, 2005) — Ricky Carmichael is set to put the finishing touches on what has been another record-setting season in the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF when the series moves to Delmont, Pennsylvania’s Steel City Raceway on Sept. 4, for round 11 of the 12-event championship.
Carmichael, the five-time series champ only needs to score a 16th or better finish in one of the motos at Steel City to wrap up his sixth consecutive 250 national title. Amsoil Chaparral Honda’s Kevin Windham is the only rider with even a remote chance of winning the 250 championship this season, but that is virtually impossible, especially considering Carmichael’s record this season, a perfect 10 for 10 national victories coming into the traditional Labor Day weekend race.
Monster Energy Drink Kawasaki’s Ivan Tedesco is closing in on his first AMA national championship. It’s possible, but unlikely that Tedesco could wrap up the AMA 125 Motocross Championship. Young Mike Alessi, the second-ranked 125 rider with Red Bull KTM, is trying desperately to close the 43-point gap. Alessi chopped 13 points from Tedesco’s lead by winning the most recent round in Binghamton, N.Y.
Steel City would be an appropriate setting for Carmichael to win his sixth consecutive AMA 250 Motocross Championship. It was at the track, 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, where Carmichael made his professional racing debut in 1996. It was his one and only pro appearance that season, but he still scored enough points to be named rookie of the year. If Carmichael wins at Steel City it would put him one win away from a third undefeated season.
“I’m looking forward to going to Steel City and trying to win the title,” said Carmichael, who has won a motocross championship every year since he began racing full time in 1997. “I think the main strategy is to stay 100 percent healthy until I get to Steel City. Once I’m there it’s important to get good starts. Steel City is a track where a lot of riders go fast and a quick start allows you to ride with some clear laps early on so you can keep out of trouble.”
Windham is the only other 250 rider with a mathematical chance to win the 250 title going into Steel City. Windham won the Steel City 250 National in 2001 and he still holds out hope that he can get a win this season.
“I’m doing everything I can to win one of these things,” said Windham, the last rider to beat Carmichael in an AMA Motocross race over two years ago. “The way Ricky’s been riding there’s no doubt that it will be tough to get a victory, but that’s the goal.”
Kawasaki’s James Stewart has shown the speed to compete with Carmichael this eason, but not the consistency. Stewart has missed major portions of the season due to injuries from crashes. The three-time Steel City 125 winner crashed yet again in the most recent round in Binghamton, N.Y., and his status for this weekend is unclear. If he does race at Steel City you can be sure that the first year 250 rider will provide a lot of excitement for the fans.
While the 250 championship is almost certain to be decided at Steel City, the 125 class battle is likely to go down to the final event in San Bernardino, Calif., on Sept. 11. In his fifth season of racing Ivan Tedesco has finally shed the title of Supercross specialist. The New Mexico native is zeroing in on his first motocross championship, after winning a pair of AMA 125 West Supercross titles. Tedesco still has four motos to go however, and his competition is hoping that Tedesco’s string of consistent high finishes comes to an end.
“Everyone else near the top of the 125 standings has suffered a DNF,” mentioned second-ranked Alessi. “I’m not wishing him bad luck or anything, but Ivan hasn’t had any major problems so far this year and it’s pretty unusual to go an entire season without at least some bike issues or some sort of bigg crash. If his luck holds he’ll win the championship, but my goal is to try to win the rest of the races to give myself the best chance possible to catch him if anything should happen.”
Local fans will be rooting for Suzuki’s Broc Hepler, from nearby Kittanning. Hepler earned his first AMA 125 Motocross victory in July at Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, N.Y. Hepler is hot right now, having won the most recent moto at Binghamton. He’s hoping to carry that momentum into his home track and score his second-career national victory.
The event will be telecast on OLN. Visit www.olntv.com for airtimes. For additional information on the Monster Energy/Kawasaki Pro Motocross National at Steel City Raceway contact (304) 284-0084 or visit the website www.racerproductions.com.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.