Chad Reed could have his best chance of halting Ricky Carmichael's perfect season this weekend, when the AMA Motocross championship heads to Kenworthy's Motocross Park in Troy, Ohio.
The Kenworthy's circuit, built on a flat flood plain, is full of artificial jumps and is essentially a long outdoor version of a Supercross track. Reed is the defending AMA Supercross champion and will be hoping to exploit his renowned indoor skills and return Yamaha to the top of the podium.
Reed has been remarkably consistent in AMA Motocross this season: He's finished on the podium at every race and was runner-up to defending 250 champ Ricky Carmichael three times. Yet despite his success Reed is not happy about playing second fiddle to Carmichael, but doesn't necessarily see the Kenworthy's circuit as a particular benefit to him.
"Obviously, since I'm Supercross champ, people are asking me about my chances at Troy," Reed said. "Maybe there will be some advantages for me, but ultimately it's still a motocross race. It's a long, gruelling pair of motos on a rough track in heat and humidity, so while the track may have man-made jumps that's about where the comparisons with supercross ends.
“I still have some work to do to be able to compete with Ricky on outdoor circuits. If I could breakthrough and earn a victory at Troy that would be great, but my goal is to be able to compete for the win every week,” he added.
Carmichael is coming off yet another win last week at Unadilla Valley Sports Center, and has now reached the mid-point of the season without a loss. Many are already asking if Carmichael thinks he can turn in another undefeated season as he did in 2002.
"That's something I don't want to worry about right now," said Carmichael, who is shooting for his fourth-straight 250 win at Kenworthy's. "I've done that once already. I think it was a pretty rare thing and there would be too much pressure to worry about that this early in the season. My goal is winning the championship. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake."
Meanwhile, Kawasaki's James Stewart rebounded from a crash a few weeks ago at Red Bud to win his fifth 125cc race this season last time out at Unadilla. Stewart won at Kenworthy's in 2002, his rookie season, and is the heavy favourite to win again on Sunday.
"I'm ready for Troy," said Stewart. "I got a win there two years ago and I'd like to get another one. If it's the last race it would be cool to go down in history as the last 125 national winner there."
Yamaha of Troy's Mike Brown is another past 125 winner at Kenworthy's. Brown will be eager to win again for his team which is based just a few miles away from the Kenworthy's track.