This Sunday (July 4) will mark the 30th anniversary of AMA Motocross at Red Bud Track 'N Trail, one of the classic tracks on the AMA calendar.
Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart come into this year's event the overwhelming favorites in the 250 and 125 classes, respectively. Both Floridians are undefeated in the previous four rounds.
Over the years legends of motocross such as Kent Howerton, David Bailey, Rick Johnson, Bob Hannah, Jeff Ward, Jeremy McGrath and many others have hoisted the winner's trophy at Red Bud.
However, Carmichael has the opportunity to do something no rider has ever accomplished and that's to win the 250 class four times. The defending champ has won three-straight 250 events at Red Bud coming into this year's race.
RC reached a major milestone at the last round in Budds Creek when he became the first rider in AMA racing history to win 100 combined events. Carmichael's victories have come in 125 and 250 Motocross as well as Supercross. Now he'll look to put the record out of reach by continuing his winning streak this year.
"I'm looking forward to racing at Red Bud," said the Honda star. "It's during the Fourth of July holiday so there's always a special atmosphere up there for that. The track is always challenging and the fans there are really strong followers of motocross."
Suzuki's Sebastien Tortelli is expected to make his return to racing at Red Bud. Tortelli is the 2000 Red Bud winner and is expected to be among the frontrunners in his comeback. Kevin Windham is another former Red Bud 250 winner. Windham was the only rider to beat Carmichael last season, but is still looking for his first win of the 2004 motocross season.
Meanwhile, local fans are excited about the possibility of watching local hero Mike LaRocco make one of his few motocross appearances this year. LaRocco retired from full-time racing to concentrate his efforts towards the AMA Supercross Series during the winter months, but Indiana native is slated to race at Red Bud.
But while Carmichael has the record for the most combined AMA Motocross and Supercross wins, James Stewart, who's only in his third season of pro racing, is charging up the list.
Stewart has already cracked the top 20 on the all-time combined wins list and the 18-year-old is now chasing Carmichael's record of 26 AMA 125 Motocross wins. Coming into Red Bud, Stewart is tied with Steve Lamson for third on the 125 wins list with 21-career victories. The AMA 125 Motocross Championship has now gone a full year with no one other than Stewart having earned a victory.
Stewart, who rides for Team Kawasaki, is one of the few riders left in the series riding the traditional two-stroke racing machine. While motocross riders are embracing the new four-stroke technology, there is a major segment of fans that are cheering on Stewart for upholding the honor of the two-stroke design.