Bench Racing Ammo: Viva Las VegasTuesday, May 2, 2006 | 9:56 AM
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After all, it’s all tied up. But no matter how many times we say it, it’s still hard to comprehend. The 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Championship is tied with one round left! Tied! Zero points separate the top two riders! It just doesn’t get any better than this, does it? Okay, it does! James Stewart is just five points back, so he’s waiting for the pressure, or the desperate times, to force RC and CR into an error. So in reality, we’re looking at three title contenders this Saturday night.
The race is on SPEED live (LIVE!) Saturday night, so if you cannot attend the race, you can still witness it as it happens. Expect this weekend to be a watershed moment for the sport – live TV hits at the same time as the greatest title showdown in history.
For example - and we’re just using this hypothetically because we have no idea how this weekend will work out - if the race ends like this ...
... then the points end like this:
1. Carmichael 338
2. Stewart 336
3. Reed 336
Stewart was asked in the press conference what needs to happen for someone else to finish second, and he said, “Burner has to step it up huge!” referencing his Kawasaki teammate Michael Byrne, who has one podium this year.
For real, though, if that were to happen, it would end like this ...
...and the points would look like this:
1. Stewart 338
2. Carmichael 338
Stewart would win the title because he would have eight wins to Carmichael’s six.
We can’t wait!
It’s hard to imagine it all coming down to so few points, but now that it has, you can think of a myriad of situations where the players all scratched out a few extra positions to stay in the hunt. Reed’s fifth in the mud in San Fran sticks out, but don’t forget his gritty ride in Orlando. After busting his shoulder before Daytona and then riding on it, he was in even worse shape in O-Town and dropped back to nearly 10th at one point. But he dug deep late to pass guys like Windham, Byrne, and Preston to finish fifth.
Carmichael looked down for the count two weeks ago in Dallas, but he managed to pass Preston and Windham late in the race to score two more points. And Stewart’s hard crash in Daytona could have resulted in a DNF, but he stayed out there and dug out a sixth.
And by the way, the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP Championship is on the line here, too, and Stewart holds a 12-point lead there. So we’re looking at the strong possibility of two different champions crowned on Saturday night.
Let's look back throughout the years to see if the series has even been anywhere near this close.
In 2004, Kevin Windham won Vegas to finish just nine points behind Reed on the season. But Windham was aided by a now-infamous 25-point penalty against Reed for illegal fuel.
In 2003, when Reed rallied to win the final six races of the season, Carmichael was able to hold on and win by seven points. But RC knew where he needed to finish down the stretch, and the title was never in much doubt.
In 1997, Team Kawasaki’s Jeff Emig came into Vegas with a 13-point lead over the King of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath. Emig finished fifth while McGrath, fighting a foot injury, finished seventh. Emig beat MC by 15 points.
In 1992, we witnessed one of the most dramatic chases ever: Team Honda’s Jeff Stanton toppled Yamaha’s Damon Bradshaw in one of the grandest finales to a season. Bradshaw entered the race with a six-point lead and merely needed a podium finish to win the title. But Bradshaw locked up under pressure and Stanton stepped up to win the race, emerging as the champion by three points. That’s about as good as it gets, but there were few people who didn’t expect Bradshaw to win that day. Most of the excitement came after the race.
1985: Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward edged Broc Glover by two points for his first 250cc SX championship. This was a wild one, as Ward crashed in the main, got up, and started riding backward! He managed to right himself and beat Glover by just two points – which might be the margin this year, too. And Ron Lechien was just six points back! If any season can match this year, you have to go back 20 years to find it.
1983: David Bailey beat Mark Barnett by two points for his first and only 250cc SX championship. Barnett got off to a terrible start in the final and it seemed like Bailey had it all locked up, until Barnett turned on the afterburners and nearly rallied to win the title.
There have been some good ones – but we may end up looking at Saturday night’s as the best finale ever. Enjoy it!
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