Ricky Carmichael and James “Bubba” Stewart celebrated the holiday with their very own show of fireworks this Fourth of July weekend as the U.S. Motocross Nationals rolled into Red Bud, Michigan. Both riders swept their respective classes with relative ease, in their usual 1-1 moto-winning fashion.
In the first 125cc moto, it was the Yamaha of Troy squad that set the early pace. Buckeye boy Brock Sellards was on the gas at the start, with teammate Ivan Tedesco in tow. Behind them at the end of the first lap was James Stewart, but it didn’t take long for James to pass them both. By the end of lap two, it was bye-bye James.
Stewart gathered a ridiculous lead by the end of the moto, leaving Sellards and Tedesco to wage their own war. The two never got too close, however, and remained in their second- and third-place spots until the checkers waved. “I had a great race out there, and Red Bud was awesome!” said James, who was all smiles after the moto. “I got a pretty good start, and that’s where I needed to be. I got by Brock, and just concentrated on riding a smooth race.”
Meanwhile, series championship hopefuls Mike Brown and Grant Langston had a tough time making their way to the front, with Brown finishing the moto in the eighth position and Langston in tenth. Ironman Ryan Hughes rode with a broken leg to a painful seventh. Other notable rides came from Kelly Smith, who with his usual awesome start held on for a solid fourth, and Brett Metcalfe rounded out the top-five.
The premier 250cc class had a nasty pileup just before the first turn, and John Dowd and Stephane Roncada were the primary victims. RonRon looked like an extra from “Rocky” as he stumbled towards Asterisk medic Doc Bodnar, but luckily there were no broken bones. At the same time, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham and Ricky Carmichael led the field around the Red Bud facility.
On lap three Reed made a mistake and slipped back to third, leaving Windham to enjoy a short spell up front. Before long, RC showed them who’s boss, however, when K-Dub made a mistake of his own and allowed both riders to pass him back. Ricky stayed in front the rest of the race, and Reed dogged him for the entire first half of the moto before Windham snuck by. Lusk rode to a quiet fourth, and hometown hero Mike LaRocco stoked the locals with a fifth-place finish.
“Man, these guys are keeping me honest,” said Ricky after the race. “The racing is getting tighter and they’re keeping me on my toes, but it’s good. It’s good for the fans, and it’s good for me,” said the champ of his newfound competition.
Back to the 125cc class, it was another local favorite out front at the start. Kelly Smith has been killing it all year long with his starts, and this moto was no different. Smith’s YZ250F was pinned out front on lap one, and James Stewart was stuck in the pack. Of course it didn’t take long for James to rocket to the front, and by lap three it was once again the Bubba Stewart show. Grant Langston started in second, so once James got by the pair it was Bubba, Smith, and LL Cool G. Surprisingly, Smith was giving up nothing to series frontrunner Langston, but GL finally slipped by on lap nine to get some much-needed points. Brown, meanwhile, struggled again and finished the moto in seventh. Smith stayed close to Langston ’til the finish, leaving him with his first podium spot of the season. Sellards had another solid finish in the fourth spot, and Branden Jesseman made his series debut with a fifth-place finish.
You didn’t need a crystal ball to predict the outcome of the second 250cc moto after watching Ricky Carmichael grab a narrow holeshot over Kevin Windham, but K-Dub did keep RC honest for most of the race. Team Yamaha’s David Vuillemin was the surprise of this moto, as the Frenchman snaked his way past early frontrunner Ezra Luskk for a solid third-place position. Reed and LaRocco tried their best to chase the Cobra down, but their efforts failed. The final order at the finish line was RC, Windham, Vuillemin, Reed and Lusk.
Results: Red Bud Motocross Nationals, July 6, 2003
- James Stewart; 1-1
- Brock Sellards; 2-4
- Kelly Smith; 4-3
- Grant Langston; 10-2
- Ryan Hughes; 7-6
- Brett Metcalfe; 5-8
- Mike Brown; 8-7
- Branden Jesseman; 17-5
- Ivan Tedesco; 3-38
- Chris Gosselaar; 14-9
- Ricky Carmichael; 1-1
- Kevin Windham; 2-2
- Chad Reed; 3-4
- David Vuillemin; 7-3
- Mike LaRocco; 5-5
- Larry Ward; 6-7
- Ezra Lusk; 4-10
- Tim Ferry; 8-6
- Ernesto Fonseca; 10-9
- John Dowd; 12-8