TWMX Race Report: Washougal ’05

After traveling to the thin air of Colorado last weekend, the AMA National MX series returned to the more familiar surroundings of Washington’s Washougal MX Park, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary National. While the return to near sea level brought horsepower back to normal levels, the results between the two events looked remarkably similar…

250F

Andrew Short and his Honda scored the holeshot and early lead in the first moto of the “Less powerful” four-stroke class, followed by Josh Grant and last weekend’s winner, Ivan Tedesco. Ivan went to work on Grant, getting by him on lap three, and then slipping by Short and into the lead  on lap 11 (of 15 total). Afterwards, Andrew said, “My lap times weren’t very good coming into the race, but I put myself in a good position once the gate dropped. You get the holeshot and get your adrenaline going and you have to go.”

Broc Hepler had moved into second place with two laps to go, and he recounted afterward how a major mechanical gremlin derailed his chances to catch and pass the leaders. “It took me a while to move into second and I was catching Ivan a little bit, but time was running out. When I got the two-lap board, I don’t know if it was from a rut or a rock, but the lower lug on the fork got a crack in it and it made the brake caliper come off and it was getting tangled in the wheel. I had to be real careful…I didn’t want the front wheel locking up. I just rode around to take a fifth and not end up on my head.” Luckily for Broc, the caliper finally broke free from the brake line, and didn’t get tangled in the wheel. Unfortunately, those weren’t his only woes. “I didn’t have a clutch lever, either. The last two laps I had no front brake or clutch. I was going down the hills and pulling in both levers and they weren’t doing anything.”

Tedesco took his third moto win in a row, followed by Short and Grant Langston, who put on a furious charge in the last couple laps to grab third.

Short once again grabbed the holeshot in moto two, closely pursued by Josh Grant and Hepler. Tedesco finished lap onein fifth place, which was making it look like Short’s first overall National win was a distinct possibility. However, Hepler had other ideas. “Andrew was right beside me and got the holeshot, but I still came out of it fairly good. Short pulled away, he was riding really fast and Josh Grant was holding me up a little bit. I finally got around him and I caught up to Andrew. I was following him a little close after the finish, and I bobbled and went down. But I was able to keep the bike running. After that I took a lap and regrouped and caught back up again.” Broc took over the lead on lap 10, and held it until the end. That pass, combined with Short’s 2-2 moto tally and Tedesco’s first moto win and a third in moto two, gave Tedesco the overall win for the second week in a row, and extended his points lead to 41.

Afterwards, Ivan said, “This weekend I felt really good in practice, and things were clicking for me, and I knew that I had a shot at winning. Things worked out for me. At the beginning of the season I wasn’t that great. It’s just been getting better and better every weekend. I think my confidence is there and I think I can finally run with these guys. I think it’s like that with anybody, once you get confident and know you can do it, you know you can do it the next time. I think until you win, you don’t even know that you can. Once you do, you’re going to the line, knowing that you have a chance to win.

“Leading the championship is some extra pressure, but I’ve been in this position before, and I think I can handle it well.  These guys beat me in the second moto,  I could just never get in the flow, and they were riding really well. But I came out with the overall and it worked out good for me.”

“I’d be stoked to win this outdoor title. It’d be good for my confidence and not to be considered just a Supercrossuy.  I’m excited about moving up to the 250s next year and this will definitely help my confidence going into the 250 class.”

450F (With a Couple Token Two-Strokes)

The last time Ricky Carmichael was beaten for an overall win was at Washougal, on July 22nd…2003. The guy who beat him? Kevin Windham, who commented, “I think everyone knows that this track has been good to me in the past and I ride it pretty well, so I was looking forward to having a good weekend.”

“The first moto I was sleeping on the starting gate big-time. The gate dropped and everybody went and I was still sitting there. I let it get away from me in the first seconds of the race.”

While Windham was mired outside the top ten (but working his way up rapidly), Ricky was up front with Matt Goerke, Ernesto Fonseca, and Travis Preston. By lap four, Windham had moved into second place, Also moving up was David Vuillemin, who passed Ernesto for third on lap six, and the top four stayed the same for the remainder of the moto.

Fonseca was fast on the trigger again for moto two, and he grabbed the lead aboard his potent 450. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s only in the neighborhood of 150 pounds. After racing a two-stroke last year, Fonseca said of his conversion to the 450, “It makes a big difference. The bike has a lot more traction, a lot more torque and it’s a great bike. It’s easy to ride and I think a lot of people think it’s a lot harder for me just because I’m a little guy. But I think it works good and you just have to get used to it.”

This time around Windham got a much better start, though he passed both Windham and Fonseca on lap two. Windham recounted, “Ernesto started like a bat out of hell. He was just going for it on the first lap. He was riding good and not holding me up, but I couldn’t get around him at that point. I kind of hugged a corner pretty tight…kind of the way I normally ride this track, and Ricky got a good drive in some fluff that had kind of pushed off the edge of the track and came around me first. He didn’t get by Ernie until the mechanics area, but he’d set up the pass a few turns back.”

With Carmichael and Windham entrenched in positions that matched their first moto finishes, eyes turned to the final podium spot. Vuillemin had finished third in the first moto, and Fonseca said, “Vuillemin had a little more than me in the first moto. I tried my hardest to stay with him, but with three laps to go he started pulling away and I had nothing.” This time around, however, Ernie said, “I got a good start and I tried to follow K-Dub for as long as I could. Pretty much after that I rode steady and got third place.” Steady was enough to earn Fonseca his first 250 Outdoor podium. “That was my goal. I wanted to be on the podium, and I knew I had a huge chance. I just wanted to get two good starts and ride steady and not make any big mistakes.”

For his part, Windham related, “It’s funny, I’ll look at the lap times and he (Ricky) will be 2:26 and I’ll be 2:27. Then the lap that he drops to 2:27, I’ll drop to 2:28. So it’s just one of those things where I’m constantly a second behind. So I’m doing a lot of racing with the clock and just trying to get better. Ricky’s a great competitor, but for the sake of the sport it drives me nuts to know that the last time he got beat was here, many, many years ago. I think it drives us all to get better, and I’ve got to do that regardless of who’s here and the competition.”

In the post-race press conference, Ricky had this to say about the streak, “It’s great. It’s hard to talk about because we race so much and it doesn’t really feel like two years. I take one race at a time and race with Kevin and Chad and Bubba and all those guys and they keep me preoccupied. I really don’t think about it. I take each year for each year and try to act out my goals. Most of the time I make them or exceed them, and I just try to get as many wins as I can. and as many title before this train ride’s over. This year has been good and I’ve had a great year. I cannot complain. I’m really happy.”

125 O/A Results

  1. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw, 1-3)
  2. Andrew Short (Hon, 2-2)
  3. Broc Hepler (Suz, 5-1)
  4. Davi Millsaps (Suz, 6-4)
  5. Josh Grant (Hon, 4-8)
  6. Paul Carpenter (Kaw, 9-6)
  7. Grant Langston (Kaw, 3-26)
  8. Robert Kiniry (Hon, 14-9)
  9. Jason Lawrence (Suz, 8-15)
  10. Danny Smith (Yam, 11-13)

250 O/A Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz, 1-1)
  2. Kevin Windham (Hon, 2-2)
  3. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon, 4-3)
  4. John Dowd (Suz, 8-4)
  5. Michael Byrne (Kaw, 6-5)
  6. Travis Preston (Hon, 5-8)
  7. Nick Wey (Hon, 7-7)
  8. Ryan Clark (Hon, 9-9)
  9. Matt Goerke (Suz, 10-11)

125cc National Points Standings:

  1. Ivan Tedesco 302
  2. Mike Brown 261
  3. Mike Alessi 234
  4. Josh Grant 233
  5. Andrew Short 231
  6. Broc Hepler 226
  7. Grant Langston 214
  8. Davi Millsaps 195
  9. Matt Walker 168

250cc National Points Standings:

  1. Ricky Carmichael 394
  2. Kevin Windham 311
  3. Chad Reed 258
  4. David Vuillemin 253
  5. Ernesto Fonseca 246
  6. Travis Preston 202
  7. John Dowd 198
  8. Michael Byrne 179
  9. Nick Wey 150
  10. James Stewart 118

any title before this train ride’s over. This year has been good and I’ve had a great year. I cannot complain. I’m really happy.”

125 O/A Results

  1. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw, 1-3)
  2. Andrew Short (Hon, 2-2)
  3. Broc Hepler (Suz, 5-1)
  4. Davi Millsaps (Suz, 6-4)
  5. Josh Grant (Hon, 4-8)
  6. Paul Carpenter (Kaw, 9-6)
  7. Grant Langston (Kaw, 3-26)
  8. Robert Kiniry (Hon, 14-9)
  9. Jason Lawrence (Suz, 8-15)
  10. Danny Smith (Yam, 11-13)

250 O/A Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Suz, 1-1)
  2. Kevin Windham (Hon, 2-2)
  3. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon, 4-3)
  4. John Dowd (Suz, 8-4)
  5. Michael Byrne (Kaw, 6-5)
  6. Travis Preston (Hon, 5-8)
  7. Nick Wey (Hon, 7-7)
  8. Ryan Clark (Hon, 9-9)
  9. Matt Goerke (Suz, 10-11)

125cc National Points Standings:

  1. Ivan Tedesco 302
  2. Mike Brown 261
  3. Mike Alessi 234
  4. Josh Grant 233
  5. Andrew Short 231
  6. Broc Hepler 226
  7. Grant Langston 214
  8. Davi Millsaps 195
  9. Matt Walker 168

250cc National Points Standings:

  1. Ricky Carmichael 394
  2. Kevin Windham 311
  3. Chad Reed 258
  4. David Vuillemin 253
  5. Ernesto Fonseca 246
  6. Travis Preston 202
  7. John Dowd 198
  8. Michael Byrne 179
  9. Nick Wey 150
  10. James Stewart 118