"I've got one more ride and I want you guys to give it up."
Ricky Carmichael will be sorely missed at the Motocross of Nations, and not just by the American squad. He put on a ride from last to third that showed exactly why they call him the Goat.
Ricky Carmichael hasn't asked for a whole lot through his career, and after watching the first moto of racing at the MXoN there is no possible way the partisan crowd in Budds Creek, MD was going to deny his one request.
The MX1/MX2 face-off drowned out the final notes of the Star Spangled Banner and as the swarm of international competitors blasted through the plowed first turn it was Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto slashing to the inside for a 250F holeshot. RV did exactly the same thing as he did in Saturday's qualifier when he checked out from Turn 1 and was never seen again. What's so special about that you might ask? Where the hell was Carmichael?
That's exactly what every fan was wondering as the riders started to sort themselves on the second straight, and as the roost fell it turned out that RC was dead last. Only Australia's Andrew McFarlane was farther back as he pulled into the pits following a crash. To say Carmichael had his work cut out for him was an understatement, with the best 38 riders in the entire world trying to run away from him. By the end of the opening lap, RC had moved into 23rd.
RC was dropping riders like bread crumbs as he was 16th on Lap 2, 12th on Lap 3 and into the top-10 by Lap 4. After that it was really time to cut loose with the remaining riders of a very high caliber. He displaced the reigning world champion, Steve Ramon, for fifth place on Lap 8, and was into third two laps later. Every pass was accompanied by a frenzied roar from the capacity crowd. His charge didn't stop there, but he ran out of time before catching Australia's Chad Reed, an old nemesis of RC's. Ricky cut the gap to less than five seconds, closer to three at some points, but he had to settle for third overall and second in the MX1 class.
As for Villopoto, he fully expected to see RC knocking his door all moto, but that challenge never came from his elder teammate. Nor did the scrap between the AMA Lites champion and the World MX2 champ, Antonio Cairoli. The Italian rider had some problems and after charging from a poor start, he went down and DNFed the moto for a 37th score.
"He's a champion and he's a great rider," Carmichael said of Cairoli, "but the pace around here is different. I think everybody is going to be scared to death of him (Villopoto) until he gets into my place, and I think they should be."
Villopoto became only the third rider in history to defeat the entire MX1 division aboard a small bike. Meanwhile, the 2007 AMA Motocross champ, Grant Langston, had a terrible outing and finished in 22nd.
Race 1 Results (MX1/MX2):
1. Ryan Villopoto - USA (Kaw)
2. Chad Reed - Australia (Yam)
3. Ricky Carmichael - USA (Suz)
4. Sebastien Pourcel - France (Kaw)
5. Jonathan Barragan - Spain (KTM)
6. David Philippaerts - Italy (KTM)
7. Tanel Leok - Estonia (Kaw)
8. Steve Ramon - Belgium (Suz)
9. Tommy Searle - Great Britain (KTM)
10. Nicolas Aubin - France (Yam)
RVPark smoked the entire field of MX2 and MX1 riders, including his teammate Ricky Carmichael. He was absolutely on fire today.
One man served notice to the world that he is indeed the fastest 250F rider on the planet. Villopoto went wire-to-wire in the second moto to give him a full sweep of the world's greatest racers. Matched up against the 450F and larger machines of the MX1 and Open divisions, RV led 32-of-32 combined laps to become the first rider in MXoN history to defeat the entire field during an MX2/Open moto.
Today, Ryan Villopoto is not only the fastest 250F rider, but the fastest man on the planet.
Belgian Ken De Dycker was the biggest hope for a challenge, but the Honda rider wasn't even close to matching RV's furious pace. Tommy Searle put on a strong ride to finish on the box and score valuable points for Great Britain.
Tim Ferry found himself in the same boat as Carmichael thanks to a crash on the second straight. Ferry got tangled up when Joaquim Rodrigues crashed and was hit by several riders. Red Dog went down and remounted in 38th. His climb forward was a little slower than Carmichael's, but the KX450F pilot was into fifth on Lap 14 and made the pass for fourth on Frenchman Pierre Renet.
Race 2 Results (MX2/Open):
1. Ryan Villopoto - USA (Kaw)
2. Ken De Dycker - Belgium (Hon)
3. Tommy Searle - Great Britain (KTM)
4. Tim Ferry - USA (Kaw)
5. Pierre Renet - France (Hon)
6. Nicolas Aubin - France (Yam)
7. Carlos Campano - Spain (Yam)
8. Yoshitaka Atsuta - Japan (Hon)
9. Martin Barr - Ireland (Yam)
10. Jeremy Van Horebeek - Belgium (KTM)