South African Grant Langston captured his first AMA Chevy Trucks US Motocross Championship last week, following the cancellation of the already-rescheduled final round.

The championship success was sweet for Langston, who lost the very same title in the final moto of the 2001 season when his bike broke a wheel, but, at the same time, it was bitterly disappointing for Langston's Red Bull KTM team-mate Ryan Hughes, who had closed to within seven points of the leader and was hoping to have a shot at winning his first title.

The final round of the series was cancelled due to excessive rains and flooding at the track set to host the event, Kenworthy's Motocross Park in Ohio. The race had already been postponed from July, and extending the season even further was not possible.

"Winning the championship is awesome for me," said Langston, who also won the 2000 125 world title, "This was my last opportunity for an AMA championship on the 125, and it means so much to me after being so close two years ago.

"All the best riders in the world are here - more so than in the 125 World Motocross GPs. I think a lot of people still have the opinion that a World Motocross Championship doesn't mean all that much. Since I won that, this is really what I want - a US Motocross Championship. I wanted to be able to prove that I could do it!"

Langston has had a year of solid consistency. He finished outside of the top-five overall only once and scored three podium finishes. He becomes the first rider in the history of AMA 125 Motocross however, to win the championship without having won a national.

He and team-mate Ryan Hughes were locked into a three-way battle for the championship with Mike Brown, although the Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider was forced out of the reckoning by a shoulder injury incurred at Washougal and aggravated at Millville. Late in the year, Kawasaki's James Stewart put himself in the championship picture by winning seven straight nationals after missing the first four rounds due to a broken collarbone, but ran out of time and events to complete his turnaround. In the end, Langston took the title by seven points from Hughes, with Stewart 30 points back in third.

Langston's championship also marked an important milestone for KTM. The Austrian maker has been involved in AMA racing since the mid-1970s and has often been a leading contender, but never won the top prize. KTM also becomes the first European maker to win the AMA 125 Motocross title.

 

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