18 July 2005
Carmichael wins Unadilla despite Stewart take-out.
Team Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael may have lost a moto at Unadilla - following a spectacular collision with James Stewart - but the reigning AMA Motocross champion recovered to win both race two and take the overall.
Carmichael had taken the lead early in race one but fell from his RM-Z450 on lap two, dropping him back to the lower edges of the top ten. Ricky then charged hard to claw his way back up the order and was soon occupying second, behind Kawasaki's star rookie Stewart.
RC worked hard to find a way past the two-stroke rider, competing in his first 250cc season, and finally found the gap he was waiting for with two laps to go. It was a clean pass, but Bubba's efforts to retake the lead resulted in him landing on Carmichael in a downhill section – wiping them both out.
That allowed Windham to inherit victory, but Ricky remounted to take second ahead of Yamaha's Chad Reed, while Bubba recorded a DNF - and wouldn't return for race two.
In his absence, Carmichael spent the first half of the race fighting Windham for both the heat and overall victory - the #4 working his way ahead at the halfway mark before building a solid 9-second lead by the flag. Reed was again third, for third overall behind RC and K-Dub.
"I'm not sure what happened in the first moto," admitted Ricky afterwards. "I made a clean pass and then all I know is that I got landed on and that's not fun. I don't like to race that way. I was really pumped from all the encouragement the fans were giving me and the fact that I was able to come back after being 18 seconds behind.
"I felt pretty good in the second moto, though Unadilla really kicked my butt. It was so nice to have all the fans supporting me. My Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 is going good and I have to give credit to the team. There was some pressure on those guys, with me coming off of a perfect season, but they're really working hard and I've got to hand it to them for that," added Ricky, who now hold a huge 71-point lead over Windham.
In the 125 class, Carmichael's Suzuki team-mates Broc Hepler and Davi Millsaps were also on fire: Hepler rode two excellent motos, taking the win in each 30-minute heat for first overall while Millsaps also had impressive rides, getting good starts and ending the day with second overall after his 2-4 finishes.
"My team really worked their butts off this weekend," said Broc. "You've got to get a good start with these guys out here and I just tried to ride smart and not make any mistakes. In the second moto, I knew the Suzuki would get me off to another good start and I just tried to ride smart.
"It feels great to get my first overall motocross win and I'd like to thank the Makita Suzuki team for that. Before the race, everyone was telling me to stay calm because that's been a problem. So I just played it cool and picked those guys off one at a time. This win is a big confidence booster for me and hopefully we can turn this thing around and get some more wins," he concluded.
Kawasaki's Matt Walker was third in race one with his team-mate Ivan Tedesco claiming second in race two for third overall behind the Suzuki riders.
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