TWMX Race Report: U.S. Open Night One

Strange things happen in Las Vegas, and that couldn¿t be any truer tonight. The long-awaited match-up of two of the sport’s greatest Supercross riders¿Team Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Team Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael¿didn¿t happen. With all the hype leading up to the event there was no doubt a lot of pressure for both riders, and in a sense Stewart cracked. The 19-year-old Kawasaki rider suddenly became ill right before practice, and was rushed to the hospital for evaluation; effectively handing the win to Carmichael on a silver platter. Stewart, however, didn¿t go down without a fight. After returning from the hospital Bubba’s bike was reportedly warmed up, and it wasn¿t until the final moments that Bubba decided not to compete.

After decisively taking the win in his heat race RC went on to win the main ahead of the hard-charging Michael Byrne. In the 125 class Team Honda’s Andrew Short led most of the race until going down, and reportedly having bike problems that forced him to pull out of the race. In the end, though, surprise winner Team Yamaha of Troy’s Brett Metcalfe aboard the all-new aluminum framed YZ250F.

SUPERCROSS LITES HEAT ONE

When the gate dropped for the start of the first qualifier of the 2006 U.S. Open, Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Billy Laninovich led the pack into the first-turn, while his rookie teammate Jake Weimer followed close behind. As the race approached the halfway point Laninovich lost the front-end in the final turn before the finish line. The fall gave Weimer the opportunity to take over the lead. From there the young rider led every lap, and was only challenged by Laninovich on the final lap.

“I think people make it a little more technical than it really is,” Weimer said, “it made me a little nervous. I’m just glad to get my first win out of the way.”

SUPERCROSS LITES HEAT TWO

The start saw Team Red Bull KTM’s Josh Hansen take the holeshot, and turn it into an early lead. Close behind him was the hard-charging Yamaha of Troy rider Brett Metcalfe, followed by Team Honda’s Andrew Short. A few laps later it got interesting.

After only a few laps Short made his move around Metcalfe. Then a lap later he caught and passed Hansen right before the finish line. When the trio exited the arena Hansen and Metcalfe came together, and went down, in a difficult whoop section found outside. With that Short moved into a comfortable lead, and Team Rockstar/Bill’s Pipes/Suzuki’s Mike Brown moved into third. Hansen got up in third. At the finish it was Short in first, followed by Brown and Hansen.

“The track is difficult, but it suits my style,” Short said of his win. “I didn¿t get the best start but I know my Honda is capable of it. It¿s a tight track and it make for close racing.”

SUPERCROSS HEAT TWO

Taking the holeshot was Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Kevin Windham. Team Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca, and Team Moto XXX’s Justin Buckelew followed the Honda rider closely. From there nothing changed, until halfway through the race when Fonseca moved around Windham. From there the two riders battled it out until the very end. On the last lap, Windham moved around Fonseca right as the duo entered the arena again. After that K-Dub went on to take the win, and Fonseca finished a close second. After holding off his teammate Kyle Lewis early on, Buckelew finished third.

“Fonzy has been riding good, and I started making a few mistakes,” Windham said after the race.  “Me and Ernie had a great battle with a little bumping and grinding, but I think people expect that at the MGM.”

SUPERCROSS HEAT TWO

This race was interesting¿only because someone kept Team Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael honest. The start saw Team Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne aboard the new KXF450 take the holeshot followed closely by Cmichael who was also on a four-stroke. Byrne then proceeded to lead the 13-time Champion out of the arena. It all changed, though, as the pack thundered back indoors¿RC took over the lead from Byrne.  From there Carmichael proceeded to take control of the race and build up a commanding lead. Byrne hung tough, though, in second. Meanwhile, Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Mike LaRocco sat in third. As the race neared the halfway point Carmichael had a rather sizable lead over the Australian Kawasaki rider.

When the checkered flag came out Carmichael took the win followed by Byrne and LaRocco in third. “I’m just glad to be here in Vegas and I’m here to have a good time,” Carmichael said. “I also want to try to get a win, though. This 450 is a handful but it’s exciting to ride and I’m having fun.”

SUPERCROSS LITES MAIN EVENT

Early on this race appeared to be Team Honda’s Andrew Short’s race to lose¿he did just that. After taking the holeshot Shorty went on to pull out to a commanding lead ahead of Team Red Bull KTM’s Josh Hansen and Team Yamaha of Troy’s Brett Metcalfe. At just past the halfway point though, things changed.

Short went down and was passed by both Metcalfe¿who was now in second¿and Hansen. A lap later Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Billy Laninovich took over third. From there it was all about Metcalfe. He opened up a lead over Hansen and never looked back. Aboard the all-new Yamaha YZ250F Metcalfe rode a flawless race.

At the finish Metcalfe took the win followed by Hansen with Laninovich not far behind. On the podium Metcalfe couldn¿t be happier. “It’s crazy, Metcalfe said. “I’ve been trying forever to get up on the podium and win a race,” Metcalfe said. “We have a brand new Yamaha and this is its debut. It’s awesome.”

As for the runner-up Hansen, he was just happy to have a great finish after being off the bike for so long. “I’ve been hurt all summer and didn¿t race the nationals,” Hansen said. “I went out to the test track last week for the first time and had a week to get ready. I was a little out of control trying to stay up there. But I’m glad to be up here, and I’ll take what I can get at this point.”

SUPERCROSS MAIN EVENT

The start saw Team Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael take a huge holeshot over Team Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne, Team Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca and team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Kevin Windham. From there Carmichael took off. With Byrne in hot pursuit RC clicked off consistent laps that had his competition shaking their heads. Byrne was the only rider that managed to match the blistering pace of RC; however, it was only for the first 10 laps. After that the Suzuki rider pulled away to a comfortable eight-second lead.

Behind the two leaders Fonseca quietly circulated the tight course in third, followed by Windham, and Windham’s teammate Mike LaRocco. Then, with five laps remaining, LaRocco got around Windham, and began closing on Ernie. When the white flag came out LaRocco was only a few seconds back from Fonseca. Try as he might, though, he couldn¿t close the gap. When the checkers came out RC took a well-deserved victory over Byrne and Fonseca. Windham faded back to fifth.

On the podium RC was just happy to have done as well as he did with limited preparation. “All we are doing is the best we can do and it happens to be enough,” Carmichael said. “It was a good night tonight, but the only thing is that it¿s a two night thing. It was good to see (Michael) Byrne up there tonight. At the end I was tired. I haven¿t really prepared a lot for this event, so I’m happy to have done as good as I did. I’m having fun right now and that is all that matters.”

As for third place finisher Fonseca he was proud of the outcome of his night. “After Glen Helen we started testing the 250 a little bit and I think it made a difference,” Fonseca said. “I’m just going to come back tomorrow and try to win.

Supercross Lites Heat One

  1. Jake Weimer (Hon)]
  2. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  3. Dylan Lord (Hon)
  4. Kyle Mace (Hon)
  5. Ricky Kurosky (-)

Supercross Lites Heat Two

  1. Andrew Short (Hon)
  2. Mike Brown (Suz)
  3. Josh Hansen (KTM)
  4. Brett Metcalfe (Yam)
  5. Robert Kiniry (Hon)

Supercross Heat One

  1. Kevin Windham (Hon)
  2. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  3. Justin Buckelew (Hon)
  4. Jeff Gibson (Hon)
  5. Kyle Lewis (Hon)

Supercross Heat Two

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
  2. Michael Byrne (Kaw)
  3. Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  4. Jason Thomas (Hon)
  5. Nick Wey (Hon)

Supercross Main Event

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
  2. Michael Byrne (Kaw)
  3. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  4. Mile LaRocco (Hon)
  5. Kevin Windham (Hon)
  6. Nick Wey (Hon)
  7. Jason Thomas (Hon)
  8. Kyle Lewis (Hon)
  9. Jeff Gibson (Hon)
  10. Tiger Lacey (Hon)

AMA Supercross Lites

  1. Brett Metcalfe (Yam)
  2. Josh Hansen (KTM)
  3. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  4. Robert Kiniry (Hon)
  5. Mike Brown (Suz)
  6. Dylan Lord (Hon)
  7. Jake Weimer (Hon)
  8. Logan Darien (Hon)
  9. Kyle Mace (Hon)
  10. Brad Ripple (Suz)

little bit and I think it made a difference,” Fonseca said. “I’m just going to come back tomorrow and try to win.

Supercross Lites Heat One

  1. Jake Weimer (Hon)]
  2. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  3. Dylan Lord (Hon)
  4. Kyle Mace (Hon)
  5. Ricky Kurosky (-)

Supercross Lites Heat Two

  1. Andrew Short (Hon)
  2. Mike Brown (Suz)
  3. Josh Hansen (KTM)
  4. Brett Metcalfe (Yam)
  5. Robert Kiniry (Hon)

Supercross Heat One

  1. Kevin Windham (Hon)
  2. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  3. Justin Buckelew (Hon)
  4. Jeff Gibson (Hon)
  5. Kyle Lewis (Hon)

Supercross Heat Two

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
  2. Michael Byrne (Kaw)
  3. Mike LaRocco (Hon)
  4. Jason Thomas (Hon)
  5. Nick Wey (Hon)

Supercross Main Event

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz)
  2. Michael Byrne (Kaw)
  3. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  4. Mile LaRocco (Hon)
  5. Kevin Windham (Hon)
  6. Nick Wey (Hon)
  7. Jason Thomas (Hon)
  8. Kyle Lewis (Hon)
  9. Jeff Gibson (Hon)
  10. Tiger Lacey (Hon)

AMA Supercross Lites

  1. Brett Metcalfe (Yam)
  2. Josh Hansen (KTM)
  3. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  4. Robert Kiniry (Hon)
  5. Mike Brown (Suz)
  6. Dylan Lord (Hon)
  7. Jake Weimer (Hon)
  8. Logan Darien (Hon)
  9. Kyle Mace (Hon)
  10. Brad Ripple (Suz)