Looking Back on the 2006 Detroit Supercross


3/23/2020

Looking Back on the 2006 Detroit Supercross

 

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 It was Round 12 of 16 of the 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Season. Ricky Carmichael, the defending champion, started the weekend at Detroit’s Ford Field with an eight-point lead over former champ Chad Reed. Hot on their heels in third was James Stewart who–spoiler alert–took the win on that night, March 26, 2006.

 

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Stewart came into the event with just a partial 2005 season under his belt (though he won three of the last five  rounds that year) while still running his old No. 259. It was his first time running the lucky No. 7 he’s come to be so well known for. On this night, Stewart was unbeatable. He was fastest in practice by about half a second over Carmichael, and won his heat by nearly 10 seconds. His heat race time was over 6 seconds faster than Carmichael's.

 

It was to absolutely nobody’s surprise, then, when the No. 7 launched out of the gate, grabbed the holeshot and walked away with the main event win. With a 4 second gap at the checkers, Stewart was clearly putting his mark on the premier class in just his second season. It was, after all, his fifth of the season. Had it not been for his dismal showings at the Anaheim 3 and St. Louis rounds, he’d have still been in the hunt for the 2006 title.

 

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As it was, it was Chad Reed who was hot on Carmichael’s heels. His consistency and staying power at the front of the pack is what allowed the Aussie to be within 10 points of the champ at the end of the night in Detroit. With just two rounds off the podium (and not far off) and six runner-up finishes plus a win in St. Louis, Reed was a consistent, hard working and ferocious racer who never backed down from a fight.

 

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To battle with the likes of The GOAT Ricky Carmichael, though, is asking a lot. Nobody in the history of our great sport was ever quite as “on” as Carmichael was for his decade or so of dominance. Nearly unbeatable by some great names over many, many races both indoors and out, Carmichael truly lived up to his moniker: The Greatest Of All Time.

 

This night in Detroit, he wasn’t quite there. Stewart was that good–better than the defending champ at every turn, every jump. A champion knows when he must beat a rival, and when he can back it down. He knew that Stewart was fastest and probably the heir apparent to the throne. He also knew that the sophomore was a bit of a crasher and that his points gap was probably enough that he could handle giving up a few points on this night. Of course, RC went on to win the title over Stewart by a mere two points.

 

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Back in those days, the 250SX Class was called “Supercross Lites." Asthe teams rolled into Detroit, the Lites Class was lead by a fan favorite, factory Honda’s Davi Millsaps. This was when the Honda team actually had a 250 factory four-stroke under their tent, and Millsaps had it dialed in. He had a commanding lead over fellow Honda rider Josh Grant, with a full 25 points and just a single round remaining after Detroit. Millsaps didn’t need to win or even place that well, but he was able to keep Grant honest to the checkers anyway.

 

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Josh Grant was probably the fastest and most stylish racer to never win a title. This 2006 season was really his coming of age, along with Millsaps’. There was a rivalry no doubt, but with Millsaps on the factory team, Grant was somewhat of an underdog. With a DNF at the opener in Anaheim, he was also behind the eight-ball as far as the title chase went. To make up for it, he absolutely ripped to three wins in the six rounds in the Eastern regional series while also finishing second to Millsaps two of the other times. That DNF at Anaheim and it’s 25 points lost was simply too much to make up for against a rider of Millsaps’ caliber.

 

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Let’s not forget about all of the rest of the incredible talent in both classes either though. Racers like Kevin Windham, Tim Ferry, Branden Jesseman, Chris Gosselaar, Ivan Tedesco, AMA Hall of Famer Mike Larocco, Mike Brown, David Vuillemin, and even The King, AMA Hall of Famer Jeremy McGrath rode five of the first six rounds!

 

It’s great to look back on what many consider to be a golden era in AMA Supercross racing, but depending on your perspective, there have been many time frames with comparable talent and huge names in the mix. Will we look back on the late 2010’s as a golden era? Will Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen and the others stand up to the test of time against such greats as Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart and Chad Reed? After all, Chad Reed’s still out there! Check out our Facebook gallery going up today for a bunch of shots from this great night of racing in Detroit,2006.


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