TWMX Race Report: Steel City ’04

For the first time in years, Steel City and the folks of Delmont, PA, did not play host to the AMA National Motocross series finale. Those honors are being held next weekend at the Glen Helen National in Southern California. Regardless, this weekend¿s ¿second to last¿ round at Steel City drew plenty of media attention as a number of exciting events were scheduled to unfold, and unfold they did¿

Ricky Carmichael captured his record 11th National title with yet another dominant 1-1 performance; James Stewart surpassed Ricky as the winningest 125cc pilot of all time (27 wins) with his own dominant 1-1 spanking; Jeremy McGrath made his National motocross return, and the youngster, Mike Alessi, whose controversial and cocky leap into professional racing has lit up motocross chat rooms and message boards across the country, backed up the ¿hype¿ at Steel City.

Here¿s how the motos went down¿

125cc Moto One

Pro Circuit Kawasaki¿s Matt Walker grabbed the holeshot and early lead, but that only lasted a little over a lap before Bubba took it over. Walker hung onto the back of Stewart for a few laps and the two pulled a nice-sized lead over third place, and hometown boy, Broc Hepler. Bubba eventually pulled away from Walker, but ¿The Stalker¿ rode a great race to hang on for second place with a comfortable margin over Hepler in third. Behind Hepler, Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda rider¿s Ryan Mills and Chris Gosselaar battled it out for almost the entire moto with Mills eventually getting the upper hand, finishing in fourth.

250cc Moto One

The holeshot in 250cc moto one went to Kyle Lewis, but the big story on lap one was a pileup that resulted from a Chad Reed, Joaquim Rodrigues tangle up just a few turns into the race. Also caught in the mess was McGrath, Alessi, and Nick Wey. After getting untangled, MC struggled to get it going in the rest of the moto after a second crash spoiled the ground he¿d already made up. Jeremy eventually ended the moto in 15th place. Alessi, on the other hand, charged through the pack like a seasoned veteran and made his way up to fifth place by motos end. Not bad! Meanwhile, up front RC took the lead over from Lewis on lap one, checked out, and never looked back. Behind RC came Kevin Windham, David Vuillemin, and Sebastian Tortelli. RC¿s moto win locked up his 11th AMA National title.

125cc Moto Two

In 125cc moto two, Chris Gosselaar continued his streak of great starts with the holeshot, but he was tracked down and passed by Bubba, who started the moto in about tenth place, at the beginning of lap number two. James rode on to another convincing moto win and subsequent overall victory, making him the winningest 125cc rider of all time. Behind Bubba when the checkers waved was Mike Brown, Troy Adams, Gosselaar, and Broc Hepler. Hepler¿s fifth place effort, which gave him second overall on the day, was one of the most impressive rides we¿ve seen in some time, as he came from nearly dead last on lap one to do it.

250cc Moto Two

RC grabbed the holeshot to start moto two with Reed close in tow. The two almost immediately pulled out a fairly sizable lead, and neither of them faced a challenge the rest of the moto. Reed hung tough for a few laps, but Ricky slowly inched away. Behind them, Mike Alessi proved that he belongs riding with the big boys as he held onto third place for a few laps before giving it up to K-Dub, but once in fourth he rode strong and finished the moto well ahead of fifth place Nick Wey. Alessi¿s 5-4 moto scores were good enough for a very impressive third place. A 250cc podium in only his second National event¿ Apparently the ¿hype¿ is for real. McGrath started moto two in much better shape than he did in moto one, but he was forced to pull of the track, ending his day early, because of a pproblem with the exhaust system on his factory Honda CRF450R. MC¿s 15th place finish in moto one, however, scored him the points needed to hold onto that big number two for another year. 

125 Overall

  1. James Stewart (Kaw)
  2. Broc Hepler (Suz)
  3. Troy Adams (Kaw)
  4. Chris Gosselaar (Hon)
  5. Matt Walker (Kaw)
  6. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw)
  7. Danny Smith (Yam)
  8. Ryan Mills (Hon)
  9. Greg Schnell (Hon)
  10. Mike Brown (Yam)

250 Overall

  1. Ricky Carmichael (Hon)
  2. Kevin Windham (Hon)
  3. Mike Alessi (Hon)
  4. Sebastien Tortelli (Suz)
  5. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon)
  6. Chad Reed (Yam)
  7. Nick Wey (Suz)
  8. Michael Byrne (Kaw)
  9. Heath Voss (Yam)
  10. Kyle Lewis (Hon)