AMA - Hangtown Report
November 30, -0001
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With the 2007 AMA Supercross series now at a close, the fleet of factory and privateer racers had a week off to change up the suspension and get a last minute bit of testing in, only to be thrown back into the mix at this past weekendÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s opener of the AMA Pro MX Nationals.
With the sun shining bright, few trees to be seen anywhere and colonies of race-ready spectators covering the Hangtown hills, no one could ask for a better setting for some great competition. In the Motocross Class the enthusiastic on-lookers were greeted with the pleasure of viewing Ricky CarmichaelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s last professional national before retiring his boots ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfor goodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and he definitely didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t disappoint. After leading much of the first moto, Carmichael was accompanied by the aggressive and anxious James Stewart, who was able to capitalize on a poor line selection and make the pass to sustain a first place finish. Although many thought this would be repeated in the second moto, Ricky showed the crowd that a second place finish in the first can still turn into an overall win: With a cool and relaxed attitude after the hole-shot and a few mistakes from Stewart, Carmichael was able to pull away and run his own race to victory followed by a rather distant 4th place Stewart and Tim Ferry.
The Lites Class showed a great amount of competitive potential and controversial decisions. Rooting from a collision that occurred in SaturdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s practice before qualifying, Yamaha of TroyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Jason Lawrence, a high prospect out of the Supercross season for a motocross championship, was fined $7,500 and received last gate choice in both motos in return for not being disqualified. The other rider involved, Ryan Villopoto, was given a slightly softer sentence than his counter-part, with a fine of $2,500. In the first moto everyoneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s expectations of the star Pro Circuit racer were fulfilled with a sweep and relatively unmatched speed throughout the technical and rutted course. The second moto however turned out to be one of the bigger upsets of the day and gave light to some great battles to be expected in races to come: VillopotoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s New Zealand teammate, Ben Townley, was able to show everyone his potential against the predominately American fleet of competitors, with a blaring hole-shot out of the gate. Many believed Villopoto would gain momentum and pull up to give Townley some work to do, but his drive was cut short with a minor crash and flawless ride by the fellow Pro Circuit racer. Fortunately for Ben, his sweep in the second moto sealed him the overall win and gave him the points lead into Round 2. Villopoto was able to hang onto the second place overall and accompanied on the podium by Townley and Factory SuzukiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Rookie racer Ryan Dungey finishing third overall. The notable Lawrence was able to secure an impressive Fifth place overall in the sunny hills of Hangtown, with excellent drives in both races through the raging pack of forty racers. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s on to Mt. Morris we go for round two.