American Motocross legend Ricky Carmichael ended his career on a high note by taking his Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 to yet another victory and his third team success in the Motocross of Nations.
The 27 year old raced to third and first positions in two hot and fast appearances at a sell-out Budds Creek circuit to assist the United States to their 18th victory in the historic competition that has been running since 1947.
The AMA record-breaker in both Supercross and Motocross disciplines appeared in front of passionate fans numbering 74,000 in his last competitive motocross event. Carmichael was honoured with a lifetime career award prior to race day and demonstrated his phenomenal talent and speed by coming back from the rear of the pack to take third position in the first moto despite a crash on the second corner.The Floridian has been competing part-time in his swansong season and although he had not raced since mid-August he blew the competition away in the second sprint by taking the holeshot and earning his final chequered flag in convincing and dominant fashion.
The triumph was added to his tally of 150 wins taken in AMA competition and 15 titles (ten motocross and five supercross) five of those championships with the RM-Z450. "I did not make it easy for myself today but I came back and rode pretty good," he remarked. "I would like to have been more prepared coming into this race but I cannot have many complaints and my team-mates more than stepped up to the plate today.
"I am really excited about this result and the performances of Ryan and Tim," said the rider who steered his Suzuki to a perfect unbeaten season in 2004. "For me this was my last race so I am proud of what we achieved. I would like to give a big thanks to the American fans that supported us and also the Europeans so well. The Nations is a very big deal for me and I'm happy to see the status of the event back where it belongs."
MX1 World Champion Steve Ramon was part of the Belgian team that earned the third step of the podium. The 27 year old Team Suzuki rider went 8-4 in both outings across the rough and technical track to finish as the second best rider in the MX1 class and give Suzuki a 1-2 result. In the second moto Ramon - who struggled with fatigue and was not feeling 100% fit - held second position at one stage to a disappearing Carmichael and gave Suzuki an excellent sight of two RM-Z450s leading the world's elite.