TWMX Race Report: Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross GP, Phoenix, 2006

After the usual frantic pace of the first AMA round, the teams were ready to head out from California for the somewhat mellower scene of Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. The good news is, though the first-race jitters were gone, and the racing was even better than at round one.

This week’s track featured a split start, which some riders love, and some riders hate, but it definitely kept things interesting. After one of the heat races, Team Honda’s Andrew Short mentioned, “It’s mayhem when it all comes back together.”

SX Lites Heat 1

The start saw Sobe/Samsung Mobile/Honda’s Billy Laninovich take the holeshot on one side of the split start, but then go down. While Yamaha of Troy’s Andrew McFarlane and Ryan Villopoto crashed as well. With the chaos on the start, new MotoSport.com/MSR/Honda recruit, Eric Sorby, quickly moved into the lead, followed by WBR Suzuki’s Ryan Sipes, and Star Racing/Bobby J’s/NCY Yamaha’s Sean Collier.

After that Sipes took the lead briefly, but stalled in the split, which moved Collier to the lead, with Sorby, Jesse Casillas and Paul Carpenter following closely behind. Collier’s run aat the front didn’t last, though, as Sorby moved into the lead shortly after that, with Sipes, Collier and Jesse Casillas all dicing among themselves.

At the finish, it was Eric Sorby, Sean Collier and Jesse Casillas in the top three. While Laninovich worked his way through the pack to move into a transfer spot,

After a tough race the previous week, Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Jason Lawrence transferred to the main event directly from the heat, picking up the last transfer position.

Results

  1. Eric Sorby
  2. Sean Collier
  3. Jesse Casillas
  4. Paul Carpenter
  5. Jake Weimer
  6. Justin Keeney
  7. Billy Laninovich
  8. Michael Sleeter
  9. Jason Lawrence

SX Lites Heat 2

MotoworldRacing.com/Yamaha’s Justin Brayton and Team Honda’s Andrew Short jumped out the quickest for the second heat of the SX Lites, with Red Bull KTM’s Nate Ramsey and Team Green’s Darcy Lange right behind them. Some of the other riders you’d expect to be up front, like Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Grant Langston and Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi were further back in the pack after getting tangled up in the split start mahem.

Langston quickly started moving through the field, and was aided when MotoworldRacing.com’s Richie Owens went down.

While Short stretched out a comfortable lead,, never to be heard from again, Ramsey moved by Justin Brayton and into third. Lange and Langston also moved by Brayton, and the top five finished just like that.

Results

  1. Andrew Short
  2. Nate Ramsey
  3. Darcy Lange
  4. Grant Langston
  5. Justin Brayton
  6. Jeff Dement
  7. Mike Alessi
  8. Rodrig Thain
  9. Kyle Partridge

Supercross Heat 1

Team Honda Part-Timer, Jeremy McGrath, grabbed the holeshot on one side, while Chad Reed came out best on the other side, after that Chad quickly assumed the lead. While Team Makita Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco and Subway/Coca Cola/Honda’s Jason Thomas followed close behind.

As for Tedesco’s teammate Ricky Carmichael, who was also in the heat, he unfortunately got caught in a couple incidents and was buried deep in the pack.

After a couple laps, shortly after being passed by Ivan Tedesco, McGrath washed out the front end in a corner, and went down. Effectively ending any chance he had at qualifying through the heat race.

Meanwhile, Carmichael was working his way through the pack, passing Moto XXX Honda’s Tim Ferry, BooKoo Energy/Honda’s David Vuillemin, as well as the Subway Coca-Cola/Honda duo of Thomas and Jeff Gibson. When the checkers came out it was all Reed followed by Tedesco, a hard-charging Carmichael, and JT Money took the final transfer spot.

Results

  1. Chad Reed
  2. Ivan Tedesco
  3. Jason Thomas

Supercross Heat 2

Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Mike Brown gave two-stroke fans something to cheer about with a holeshot. Mike led for over a lap before giving way to Team Kawasaki’s James Stewart. Travis Preston was third, followed by Tyler Evans. Once in the lead Stewart checked out, while everyone else scrapped for positions.

Team Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca moved by Evans and into fourth, and then both Preston and Fonzy moved by Brown to settle into second and third.

Late in the heat, LaRocco snuck into fourth spot, and grabbed the final transfer position, which prevented him from having to race the semi like last weekend.

Results

  1. James Stewart
  2. Travis Preston
  3. Ernesto Fonseca
  4. Mike LaRocco

Lites LCQ

The start of this race was all blue as Yamaha of Troy teammates and fellow Aussies Brett Metcalfe and Andrew McFarlane jumped out front. They were followed, however, by a pair of Kawasakis piloted by Billy Swapp and Ryan Villopoto. After only one lap was in the books Villopoto had moved up to second and began challenging Metcalfe for the lead. The young Kawasaki rider then made his move on the Aussi in the rhythm after the first triple. After that it was all over. Villopoto cruised across the finish line well ahead of anyone else.

Results

  1. Ryan Villopoto
  2. Brett Metcalfe
  3. Andrew McFarlane
  4. Billy Swapp

Supercross Semi 1

To the delight of the crowd, Jeremy McGrath got the best start on the right, along with Moto XXX Honda’s Tim Ferry on the left. MC went into the lead, followed by Nick Wey, Tim Ferry, and Erick Vallejo.

After only a few laps Wey began to pressure MC for first, but the seven-time Supercross Champ didn’t back down—he made a fight out of it. Once around MC, though, Wey began to steadily pull away. By the end he had a comfortable lead.

Meanwhile, behind MC and Wey, Team Subway/Coca Cola/Honda’s Jeff Gibson and Honda rider Erick Vallejo battled for fourth with team Boo Koo/Honda’s David Vuillemin back in the final transfer position in fifth.

When the checkered flag flew the running order didn’t change. Wey took the win followed by MC and Ferry in third. Gibson was fourth, while Vuillemin fought to finish fifth.

Results

  1. Nick Wey
  2. Jeremy McGrath
  3. Tim Ferry
  4. Jeff Gibson
  5. David Vuillemin

Supercross Semi 2

Team Solitaire’s Ryan Clark got the jump on the right, and Team Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne was fastest on the left. Clark jumped into the lead, with Byrne in second. It didn’t take long, though, for Byrne to take over the point position, as he did so on the second lap. After that the Kawasaki rider began to pull out to a rather sizable lead over Clark.

Behind the lead duo Clark Stiles, Mike Brown and Tyler Evans covered the other transfer spots, and stayed in the same place throughout the rest of the Semi. Basically, this race was over after the first lap. Byrne took the win followed by Clark, Stiles Brown and Evans. After the race Evans through most of his gear into the crowd to celebrate making the main after failing to at the opening round in Anaheim.

Results

  1. Michael Byrne
  2. Ryan Clark
  3. Clark Stiles
  4. Mike Brown
  5. Tyler Evans

Supercross LCQ

The start saw Erick Vallejo and Robbie Reynard move to the front quickly, while Kyle Lewis went down with Willy Browning behind them.

On lap two, Vallejo bobbled, and Reynard went by and into the lead, but on the next-to-last lap, Reynard bobbled and allowed Dostal and Vallejo to slip by, effectively dropping him back to third. Then on the last lap Dostal crashed while leading. The bobble cost him a sure transfer to the main. Perhaps it was revenge for Dostal, stuffing Reynard for third spot in the LCQ at Anaheim the week previous to this, which scored Dostal $750 for the Racer X Gas card. Doug Dehaan took home the helpful Gas Card.

Results

  1. Erick Vallejo
  2. Robbie Reynard

Supercross Lites Main

With the track getting dry and loose, the Lites riders hit the gate. As the pack exited the split start, it was Ryan Villopoto with the holeshot. Andrew Short was hot on his heels, and worked his way into the lead by the third turn. Grant Langston was among the leaders on lap one, but stalled his KX250F and dropped to the rear of the pack.

Things didn’t get any less confusing from there. On lap two, Villopoto and Short tangled and went down, moving Sean Collier into the lead with Nate Ramsey in second, followed by Darcy Lange, Mike Alessi, and Jesse Casillas. It took Short and Villopoto a few long moments to get untangled, and once they were Short was and eighth while Villopoto was in 11th.

On lap four Ramsey went into the lead, while behind him his Red Bull KTM teammate Mike Alessi tangled up with Jesse Casillas and went down in a heap.

Just past the halfway point Ramsey continued to lead, with Collier not far back, and Short, Langston and Villopoto continued to march forward through the pack. All in all, there was a four-rider duel that included Billy Laninovich, Short, Langston and Villopoto. This battle ended up lasting until the end of the main.

With two laps to go, Laninovich was working hard to get by Collier, while Langston was trying to get by Short. As they closed in on the white flag, Ramsey still led, but Laninovich went by Collier and into second spot. Short, Langston and Villopoto also moved by Collier, but as they were coming around for the checkered flag, Langston block-passed his way by Short, and Villopoto used the opportunity to move by him as well. The move dropped Short all the way down to fifth.

In the end as the fireworks blasted, and checkered flag flew as Nate Ramsey got his first win of the AMA season, followed by Billy Laninovich, who was on the podium for the second weekend in a row, and Grant Langston, who made his first podium appearance of ’06. For Laninovich the podium finish meant that he took over the points lead.

Results

  1. Nathan Ramsey (KTM)
  2. Billy Laninovich (Honda)
  3. Grant Langston (Kawasaki)
  4. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
  5. Andrew Short (Honda)
  6. Sean Collier (Yamaha)
  7. Paul Carpenter (Honda)
  8. Darcy Lange (Kawasaki)
  9. Brett Metcalfe (Yamaha)
  10. Mike Alessi (KTM)

Supercross Lites West Points (After two rounds)

  1. Billy Laninovich 42
  2. Andrew Short 41
  3. Ryan Villopoto 40
  4. Grant Langston 38
  5. Nate Ramsey 34
  6. Darcy Lange 29
  7. Paul Carpenter 29
  8. Brett Metcalfe 25
  9. Jake Weimer 24
  10. Mike Alessi 23

Supercross Main

Much to the delight of the Phoenix fans, Jeremy McGrath grabbed the holeshot while being pursued by Ernesto Fonseca and Chad Reed. Meanwhile, James Stewart was the victim of a first-turn tangle, and picked himself off the ground in 20th place.

At the end of lap one, it was McGrath, Reed, Ivan Tedesco, Ernesto Fonseca, and Ricky Carmichael.

On the next lap, Carmichael passed Fonseca to move into fourth, while Chad Reed was moving past Jeremy and into the lead.

By lap four, Ricky had slipped into third spot, after passing his teammate, with five seconds between Reed and Carmichael. James Stewart had also worked his way into the 10th spot.

On lap seven, RC got by McGrath, and began closing on Reed. By the ninth lap he had trimmed the gap to 1.3 seconds. On lap 10, Ricky stuffed his way past Chad after the first rhythm section. Stewart was also still on the move, working his way by Nick Wey, and into fifth spot. Chad kept things close, though, until he made a mistake, and had to roll a section of the track. That was all it took previous to this, which scored Dostal $750 for the Racer X Gas card. Doug Dehaan took home the helpful Gas Card.

Results

  1. Erick Vallejo
  2. Robbie Reynard

Supercross Lites Main

With the track getting dry and loose, the Lites riders hit the gate. As the pack exited the split start, it was Ryan Villopoto with the holeshot. Andrew Short was hot on his heels, and worked his way into the lead by the third turn. Grant Langston was among the leaders on lap one, but stalled his KX250F and dropped to the rear of the pack.

Things didn’t get any less confusing from there. On lap two, Villopoto and Short tangled and went down, moving Sean Collier into the lead with Nate Ramsey in second, followed by Darcy Lange, Mike Alessi, and Jesse Casillas. It took Short and Villopoto a few long moments to get untangled, and once they were Short was and eighth while Villopoto was in 11th.

On lap four Ramsey went into the lead, while behind him his Red Bull KTM teammate Mike Alessi tangled up with Jesse Casillas and went down in a heap.

Just past the halfway point Ramsey continued to lead, with Collier not far back, and Short, Langston and Villopoto continued to march forward through the pack. All in all, there was a four-rider duel that included Billy Laninovich, Short, Langston and Villopoto. This battle ended up lasting until the end of the main.

With two laps to go, Laninovich was working hard to get by Collier, while Langston was trying to get by Short. As they closed in on the white flag, Ramsey still led, but Laninovich went by Collier and into second spot. Short, Langston and Villopoto also moved by Collier, but as they were coming around for the checkered flag, Langston block-passed his way by Short, and Villopoto used the opportunity to move by him as well. The move dropped Short all the way down to fifth.

In the end as the fireworks blasted, and checkered flag flew as Nate Ramsey got his first win of the AMA season, followed by Billy Laninovich, who was on the podium for the second weekend in a row, and Grant Langston, who made his first podium appearance of ’06. For Laninovich the podium finish meant that he took over the points lead.

Results

  1. Nathan Ramsey (KTM)
  2. Billy Laninovich (Honda)
  3. Grant Langston (Kawasaki)
  4. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
  5. Andrew Short (Honda)
  6. Sean Collier (Yamaha)
  7. Paul Carpenter (Honda)
  8. Darcy Lange (Kawasaki)
  9. Brett Metcalfe (Yamaha)
  10. Mike Alessi (KTM)

Supercross Lites West Points (After two rounds)

  1. Billy Laninovich 42
  2. Andrew Short 41
  3. Ryan Villopoto 40
  4. Grant Langston 38
  5. Nate Ramsey 34
  6. Darcy Lange 29
  7. Paul Carpenter 29
  8. Brett Metcalfe 25
  9. Jake Weimer 24
  10. Mike Alessi 23

Supercross Main

Much to the delight of the Phoenix fans, Jeremy McGrath grabbed the holeshot while being pursued by Ernesto Fonseca and Chad Reed. Meanwhile, James Stewart was the victim of a first-turn tangle, and picked himself off the ground in 20th place.

At the end of lap one, it was McGrath, Reed, Ivan Tedesco, Ernesto Fonseca, and Ricky Carmichael.

On the next lap, Carmichael passed Fonseca to move into fourth, while Chad Reed was moving past Jeremy and into the lead.

By lap four, Ricky had slipped into third spot, after passing his teammate, with five seconds between Reed and Carmichael. James Stewart had also worked his way into the 10th spot.

On lap seven, RC got by McGrath, and began closing on Reed. By the ninth lap he had trimmed the gap to 1.3 seconds. On lap 10, Ricky stuffed his way past Chad after the first rhythm section. Stewart was also still on the move, working his way by Nick Wey, and into fifth spot. Chad kept things close, though, until he made a mistake, and had to roll a section of the track. That was all it took for RC to gap him.

A few laps later Stewart moved past MC and into third spot, and at the checkered flag it was all Carmichael, followed by Reed and Stewart.

After the race, James noted about his first-turn debacle, “I high-sided off of somebody’s rear wheel. I think I was in a rush trying to start the thing. The track was wide open… it was a motocross track basically, so it was hard to make up time. I was definitely pushing it getting through the pack. Being back there it was dusty and kind of hard to see, which made it hard to do some of the rhythms. I thought I rode a good race, a smart race, and made some good passes. I just made my way to third and settled there. Last year, and maybe a couple years before that, I probably would have pushed it. It just wasn’t worth it to go down. I think my strongest part was the whoop section. I made a lot of passes there tonight.”

Even though he finished second, Reed was fairly upbeat. “It was good to battle with Ricky, he made a good pass on me. I was looking forward to battling with him, but I made a mistake. I was leaps and bounds better this week, and I felt we could turn it around.”

What will it take for him to get to the top of the podium? “Just little mistakes that I need to take out of my program. (At one point) I got sideways and my helmet got stuck on my handlebars.”

“I felt like I gave that one away tonight. I think a lot of people are writing me off, but we’re going to prove them wrong. It’s my turn next week, and I’m looking forward to it.”

After the race, a hoarse-sounding Carmichael said, “I got a little sick this week. Luckily, I’m getting over it. I feel good, and I’m happy for the win. I was pretty upset after the heat I knew I was better than that. I wanted to make a turnaround. I still didn’t get a great start.”

Regarding his recent spate of poor starts, RC said, “We changed some things after the U.S. Open (to prevent bogging), and unfortunately the downfall is that it’s not as good on the starts…but it doesn’t bog.

About his pass for the lead, he said, “I had to make an aggressive move. He got me on the heat race, but I did what I had to do and it was done with. I’ve got a lot of respect for Chad as well as James. I don’t think we’re going to deliberately go out there and ruin each other.”

“I’m just trying to have patience and enjoy the moment. I’ve got a lot of respect for these guys, and may the best man win. Give the fans and the sport what they want to see.”

Carmichael and Stewart are now tied on points, with Reed one point back…almost exactly where we were three weeks ago at the start of the season.

Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki)
  2. Chad Reed (Yamaha)
  3. James Stewart (Kawasaki)
  4. Jeremy McGrath (Honda)
  5. Nick Wey (Honda)
  6. Michael Byrne (Kawasaki)
  7. Ernesto Fonseca (Honda)
  8. Mike LaRocco (Honda)
  9. Ivan Tedesco (Suzuki)
  10. David Vuillemin (Honda)
  11. Travis Preston (Honda)
  12. Jeff Gibson (Honda)
  13. Ryan Clark (Honda)
  14. Clark Stiles (Yamaha)
  15. Tim Ferry (Honda)
  16. Mike Brown (Suzuki)
  17. Jason Thomas (Honda)
  18. Erick Vallejo (Honda)
  19. Tyler Evans (Suzuki)
  20. Robbie Reynard (Honda)

Supercross Points (After two rounds)

  1. Ricky Carmichael 45
  2. James Stewart 45
  3. Chad Reed 44
  4. Mike LaRocco 31
  5. Nicholas Wey 30
  6. Ernesto Fonseca 29
  7. Jeremy McGrath 28
  8. Ivan Tedesco 28
  9. Michael Byrne 27
  10. Travis Preston 23

took for RC to gap him.

A few laps later Stewart moved past MC and into third spot, and at the checkered flag it was all Carmichael, followed by Reed and Stewart.

After the race, James noted about his first-turn debacle, “I high-sided off of somebody’s rear wheel. I think I was in a rush trying to start the thing. The track was wide open…… it was a motocross track basically, so it was hard to make up time. I was definitely pushing it getting through the pack. Being back there it was dusty and kind of hard to see, which made it hard to do some of the rhythms. I thought I rode a good race, a smart race, and made some good passes. I just made my way to third and settled there. Last year, and maybe a couple years before that, I probably would have pushed it. It just wasn’t worth it to go down. I think my strongest part was the whoop section. I made a lot of passes there tonight.”

Even though he finished second, Reed was fairly upbeat. “It was good to battle with Ricky, he made a good pass on me. I was looking forward to battling with him, but I made a mistake. I was leaps and bounds better this week, and I felt we could turn it around.”

What will it take for him to get to the top of the podium? “Just little mistakes that I need to take out of my program. (At one point) I got sideways and my helmet got stuck on my handlebars.”

“I felt like I gave that one away tonight. I think a lot of people are writing me off, but we’re going to prove them wrong. It’s my turn next week, and I’m looking forward to it.”

After the race, a hoarse-sounding Carmichael said, “I got a little sick this week. Luckily, I’m getting over it. I feel good, and I’m happy for the win. I was pretty upset after the heat I knew I was better than that. I wanted to make a turnaround. I still didn’t get a great start.”

Regarding his recent spate of poor starts, RC said, “We changed some things after the U.S. Open (to prevent bogging), and unfortunately the downfall is that it’s not as good on the starts…but it doesn’t bog.

About his pass for the lead, he said, “I had to make an aggressive move. He got me on the heat race, but I did what I had to do and it was done with. I’ve got a lot of respect for Chad as well as James. I don’t think we’re going to deliberately go out there and ruin each other.”

“I’m just trying to have patience and enjoy the moment. I’ve got a lot of respect for these guys, and may the best man win. Give the fans and the sport what they want to see.”

Carmichael and Stewart are now tied on points, with Reed one point back…almost exactly where we were three weeks ago at the start of the season.

Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki)
  2. Chad Reed (Yamaha)
  3. James Stewart (Kawasaki)
  4. Jeremy McGrath (Honda)
  5. Nick Wey (Honda)
  6. Michael Byrne (Kawasaki)
  7. Ernesto Fonseca (Honda)
  8. Mike LaRocco (Honda)
  9. Ivan Tedesco (Suzuki)
  10. David Vuillemin (Honda)
  11. Travis Preston (Honda)
  12. Jeff Gibson (Honda)
  13. Ryan Clark (Honda)
  14. Clark Stiles (Yamaha)
  15. Tim Ferry (Honda)
  16. Mike Brown (Suzuki)
  17. Jason Thomas (Honda)
  18. Erick Vallejo (Honda)
  19. Tyler Evans (Suzuki)
  20. Robbie Reynard (Honda)

Supercross Points (After two rounds)

  1. Ricky Carmichael 45
  2. James Stewart 45
  3. Chad Reed 44
  4. Mike LaRocco 31
  5. Nicholas Wey 30
  6. Ernesto Fonseca 29
  7. Jeremy McGrath 28
  8. Ivan Tedesco 28
  9. Michael Byrne 27
  10. Travis Preston 23