TransWorld Motocross Race Report: Hangtown Rules

RC, Hughes and Windham win in Norcal

Over 25,000 fans showed up for the 35th running of the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, California, and all on hand were treated to some of the best racing of the year.


In the premier 250cc division, defending champ Ricky Carmichael came home the overall winner and scored his 89th AMA Pro Racing win to tie Jeremy McGrath’s all-time win record. The bigger news, however, was that Factory Connection Honda’s Kevin Windham scored the first moto win in runaway fashion and put an end to RC’s 27-moto win streak. Ironically enough, Windham was the last rider to beat Carmichael in 250cc National competition, doing so at Washougal way back in 2001.


Windham grabbed the holeshot in the opening 250cc moto aboard his Honda CRF450R and never looked back, winning by over 15 seconds when the checkered flag flew at the end of the moto. RC started around sixth and found himself faced with a seven-second deficit once he worked into second place. Windham, however, was on fire and steadily pulled away from RC, who shook his head in disbelief as he rolled past his mechanic Mike Gosselaar just before taking the checkered flag.

“Windham is the kind of guy who you can’t let get away,” said RC, who handled his defeat graciously and with style. “I had nothing for him, period. It’s nice to see someone out here going that fast. Heck, he’s been gone for a year-and-a-half and here he is now, hauling butt and beating all of us! I can’t give him enough credit.”

Windham was ecstatic following his moto win, and had all of the fans on hand cheering him throughout the moto. “Man, I could hear everyone cheering for me, every single lap,” said Windham. “It feels just great to come back and know that the fans are still behind me. I can’t say enough about the Honda CRF450R — that bike feels like it was tailor-made, just for me.”


Yamaha’s Tim Ferry and Chad Reed followed Windham and Carmichael home, while Factory Connection Honda’s Mike LaRocco had his best showing of the still young season, in fifth. “I’m still not even close to being 100%, but I felt a lot better this week than last,” said LaRocco, who is still recovering from a Supercross shoulder injury.

Sadly, Windham’s fairytale day came to an end on the first lap of the second moto. After grabbing another holeshot, K-Dub traded the lead with Reed twice on the first lap before losing his front end and dropping out of the top 10. A second crash in a loamy, rutted corner dropped him even further behind, but this week he was able to restart his bike quickly and make a charge back through the field. In the end, Windham finished sixth in the moto and fourth overall.


After starting third, RC found himself in second behind Reed following Windham’s spill. RC was too much for Reed to handle, and the champ blitzed past his arch rival with relative ease and pulled away with the moto and overall wins. Reed held on for second and second overall, while Ferry came home third and third overall. “I’m trying to ride these outdoor tracks like a Supercross course,” said Reed. “I need to alter my style to match Ricky’s pace.”


In the 125cc class, both motos were jam-packed with great racing action. When the dust settled, though, it was Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Hughes who emerged the victor in both motos. The last time Ryno raced Hangtown on a 125 was way back in 1995, a race that he also won in convincing fashion.


For Hughes, his double-moto sweep was filled with emotion. “No one can understand the emotions that are running through my head right now,” said a tearful Hughes. “I’ve been training for my comeback for nine months now, and it has been a long, hard road for me to try and change my riding style. In the past, I’ve ridden out of contl and over my head, but I am trying to be a more patient, mature rider and it is paying off. There was a point in the second moto when I told myself, ‘There is no way I am not going to win this moto.'”


Team Pro Circuit Kawasaki riders Mike Brown and Eric Sorby did all they could to prevent Hughes from winning both motos: former 125cc National Champ Brown battling with Ryno in moto one and fast Frenchman Sorby doing the deed in moto two. For Sorby, his 3-2 moto finishes for second overall marked his best-ever 125cc National performance. “I did everything I could to beat him,” said the likable import. “I tried in the jumps, I tried in the corners. I try everything.”

Sorby charged hard late in the second moto and actually closed in on Hughes after trailing by as much as four seconds. The two battled side-by-side in the last two corners, but at the checkered flag it was the number 105 KTM of Hughes by one-and-a-half bike lengths.


Brown was third overall with 2-3 scores. “I made some changes to my bike in between motos,” said Brown. “I rode solid, but Ryno just rode better. It was fun to battle with my teammate Sorby out there, and it is good to see him have a great race like this.”


But what of last weekend’s opening round runner-up Grant Langston? The Red Bull KTM rider struggled in the first moto with a smashed pipe and had to come from behind from a second-lap crash in moto two. Still, the South African secured fifth overall behind Boost Mobile/Troy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco, who turned in one of his best-ever 125cc National showings.

125 Hangtown Overall

  1. Ryan Hughes 1/1
  2. Eric Sorby 3/2
  3. Mike Brown 2/3
  4. Ivan Tedesco 4/6
  5. Grant Langston 8/4
  6. Brock Sellards 9/5
  7. Steve Boniface 5/10
  8. Brian Gray 14/7
  9. Brett Metcalfe 12/9
  10. Chris Gosselaar 6/17
  11. Steve Mertens 11/13
  12. Craig Anderson 10/14
  13. Josh Hansen 7/36
  14. Michael Brandes 39/8
  15. Tim Weigand 15/16
  16. Kelly Smith 21/11
  17. Andrew Short 20/12
  18. Daryl Hurley 13/35
  19. Ryan Mills 16/19
  20. Michael Byrne 40/15

125 Overall Point (After Two Rounds)

  1. Mike Brown 89
  2. Ryan Hughes 88
  3. Eric Sorby 76
  4. Grant Langston 76
  5. Brock Sellards 57
  6. Brett Metcalfe 51
  7. Steve Boniface 50
  8. Michael Brandes 43
  9. Ivan Tedesco 42
  10. Chris Gosselaar 42
  11. Stephane Roncada 30
  12. Steve Mertens 26
  13. Brian Gray 21
  14. Andrew Short 20
  15. Michael Byrne 20
  16. Billy Laninovich 18
  17. Craig Anderson 18
  18. Tim Weigand 15
  19. Daryl Hurley 15
  20. Josh Hansen 14

250 Hangtown Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael 2/1
  2. Chad Reed 4/2
  3. Tim Ferry 3/3
  4. Kevin Windham 1/6
  5. Mike Larocco 5/4
  6. Sean Hamblin 7/8
  7. Robbie Reynard 10/7
  8. Larry Ward 17/5
  9. Ezra Lusk 11/11
  10. Nate Ramsey 12/13
  11. Sebastien Tortelli 6/32
  12. Bobby Bonds 19/10
  13. Nick Wey 8/33
  14. David Vuillemin 37/9
  15. Kyle Lewis 18/12
  16. John Dowd 9/38
  17. Akira Narita 14/17
  18. Ernesto Fonseca 13/39
  19. Evan Laughridge 24/14
  20. Jason Thomas 20/15

250 Overall Points (After Two Rounds)

  1. Ricky Carmichael 97
  2. Chad Reed 82
  3. Tim Ferry 76
  4. Kevin Windham 69
  5. Mike LaRocco 61
  6. Ezra Lusk 54
  7. Larry Ward 47
  8. Sean Hamblin 37
  9. John Dowd 35
  10. Sebastien Tortelli 33
  11. David Vuillemin 32
  12. Nick Wey 30
  13. Robbie Reynard 29
  14. Kyle Lewis 28
  15. Ernesto Fonseca 27
  16. Greg Albertyn 25
  17. Nate Ramsey 17
  18. Bobby Bonds 16
  19. J. Rodrigues 15
  20. Craig Decker 13

nard 29

  • Kyle Lewis 28
  • Ernesto Fonseca 27
  • Greg Albertyn 25
  • Nate Ramsey 17
  • Bobby Bonds 16
  • J. Rodrigues 15
  • Craig Decker 13