This Sunday’s event is round nine of the 12-event championship. Carmichael is eight for eight so far this season riding for Makita Suzuki. It’s been over two years since anyone has beaten Carmichael in AMA Motocross and if you go by the record books the chances he’ll lose at Millville are very slim. Since he entered the 250 class in 2000 Carmichael has won every Millville 250 National. Additionally, the Floridian has a pair of 125 National wins at the Minnesota track. This weekend he’ll go for the win on a third brand of motorcycle. He won the previous Millville events riding with Kawasaki and Honda.
“Many people thought that riding for a new team and racing on a brand new bike would be a lot to overcome,” Carmichael said. “Honestly, I thought it was going to be tough too, especially with the level of competition raising this year. But I just focused on training harder than ever and Suzuki really brought their best to the table and the results have been phenomenal. I always enjoy Millville. The fans there are real enthusiasts and seem to appreciate the kind of work that goes into being successful in our sport.”
Carmichael’s domination at Millville in the 250 class has lasted so long that all the past winners of the race, except one, have retired from motocross. Long-time veteran John Dowd – who Carmichael sponsors – is the only other Millville 250 winner in the field. “Dowdy”, who turns 40 on the Wednesday before Millville, won the race 11 years ago. One of the fan favorites, Dowd, from Chicopee, Mass., is retiring from full-time racing at the close of this season. Even pushing 40 Dowd is still competitive. He’s ranked seventh in the point standings and scored a popular podium finish at his home track of Southwick, Mass., in June.
Other leading 250 competitors at Millville include Honda’s Kevin Windham, Chad Reed of Yamaha and Kawasaki’s James Stewart, who is in his first year of competition in the premier 250 class after winning a record-tying three straight 125 nationals at Millville. Stewart and Reed are both hoping to return to the series this weekend after missing races due to injury. Windham is the last rider to defeat Carmichael in the nationals.
Ivan Tedesco has emerged as the rider to beat in the 125 class. The two-time AMA West Supercross champ caught fire in the second half of the season and is hoping to score his third straight 125 national win of 2005 at Millville. The Monster Energy Drink Kawasaki ace just won his first AMA Motocross race last month in Denver after five years of trying.
“It took me long enough to win my first national,” Tedesco said. “I guess it’s time for me to make up for lost time. I do seem to get on a roll after making a breakthrough. I’m hoping to keep my momentum going at Millville.”
Tedesco, a native of New Mexico, took over the series lead from veteran Mike Brown last month. Brown is coming off his worst finish of the year in Washougal, Wash., and he’s hoping to rally and get back on the right track at Millville. The race will also be a homecoming of sorts for Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi. It was a year ago at Millville where Alessi made his highly anticipated pro debut after living in Minnesota much of last summer and practicing at Millville in preparation for his first ride in the nationals. The young Californian comes to the track this year ranked third in the 125 class in his first full season and he would love nothing better than to score a win at the track where he spent so much time last year. He scored his first national win in Mt. Morris, Pa., in May.
Former Millville 125 winner Grant Langston will also be on the starting gate on Sunday. Langston led the 125 series early this year, but nagging injuries have slowed the former champ from South Africa and he’s dropped to seventh in the standings coming into this weekend’s event.
Minnesota fans will also have some home state heroes to cheer for in James Polvolny, of Mendota Heights, and Tucker Hibbert, of Goodridge. Polvolny scored national points in Buchanan, Mich., last month and is ranked nationally in the 250 class. Hibbert is a leading motocross and snowmobile racer. Hibbert scored points at two nationals this year and hopes to make it three on Sunday.
Millville has hosted AMA Motocross Championship races since 1983. The circuit even produced a World Motocross Champion in the late Donny Schmit. Schmit, who tragically died from a rare blood disease in 1996, is today enshrined as a member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio.
For additional information on the Millville National contact (507) 753-2779 or visit the website www.springcreekmx.com. The race will be nationally televised on OLN.
Info AMA – Photo copyright TFS