SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Round 1, 2005 THQ World Supercross GP
Team Makita/Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael finally won another Supercross. It’s been awhile, if you think about it. Since skipping the entire 2004 season with a knee injury, not to mention finishing second in the final six rounds of the 2003 season to 2004 champ Chad Reed (plus two U.S. Opens in a row), Ricky was way overdue. So what’d he do? He went up to Canada, where a couple things were sure to sort themselves out. One, winning was a virtual certainty. Secondly, he could work on shaking off the funk that he’s had of never winning an opening round of Supercross, which had typically meant Anaheim. Now, Anaheim will be his round 3, which means racing in Toronto (and Vancouver next weekend) also served another purpose – to shake out any potential problems with the new team and bike.
Shake them out he did, and luckily before the checkers flew for the main event. Ricky had little trouble disposing of holeshot master Kyle Lewis after following him for about 2/3rds a lap to check out on eventual runner-up Mike LaRocco. Iron Mike held a strong but distant pace behind RC for the duration of the main, just a short distance ahead of the real battles, which were for third through fifth between Ferry, Voss and Tortelli. Those four seemed to find each other all night, but it was Ferry who finished up on top, and on the final podium position. Tortelli, who had swapped plastic with Ferry a few times in the duel, ended up going down and out of the race (uninjured), allowing Nick Wey and Voss to make their way up to take his spot. Tyler Evans on his graphics-free RM250 was next, after an inspired ride which put him in the middle of that factory rider mix for several interesting laps. In somewhat of a peculiar twist, the only Canadian to make it into the Main event was Doug Dehaan, who finished in 10th. A couple of Canada’s other top riders chose to hit a supercross in Europe instead of this one on their home turf.
In the Midweight (125) class, another predictable winner – Red Bull/KTM’s Nathan Ramsey – brought home the loons, but not before being pushed fairly hard by none other than Bobby Kiniry on his Team ECC CRF250. Ramsey had looked fast all weekend, clearly outpacing everyone else on the track, except for Kiniry. Bobby actually set fast lap time in Saturday’s first practice, and looked to maybe have a little something for Nate Dawg. Those two ripped off the line and immediately pulled a few bike lengths on a field made up primarily of Canadian racers who, when all things were considered, had never ridden on a track of this caliber before. Kiniry kept Ramsey’s pace for all 15 laps, following between 3 and 5 seconds back. Lapping up to 4th place, both riders had a lot to contend with – not the least of which was a severely rutted and fairly rocky track – but both kept their cool ahead of third place finisher Ryan Lockhart.
So, the inaugural THQ World Supercross GP in Toronto went down as a success. With a respectable crowd estimated to be around 30,000, everyone looks forward to returning next year.
- K. Johnson