If you were at Spring Creek MX Park yesterday for the ninth round of the AMA Motocross national championship, you heard each of the top three finishers speak to the crowd after their motos.
Here are some comments from those riders, from the post-race press conference, that didn't make it into print:
• GRANT LANGSTON, 2nd overall, Motocross class
On the tight national points race (Langston is third nationally with 300 points, 11 behind co-leaders Andrew Short and Timmy Ferry): "I know there are about a half-dozen guys who still have a shot. I can't control what the other guys do, I just try to make up as much ground as I can with each moto. I had a couple of good rides today and now I'm right in the points battle."
On Ricky Carmichael, who won both motos Sunday, but has competed in just six of nine rounds this year: "If Ricky had run the whole season the points race would be close to being over, in his favor."
On how he'll prepare for the final three rounds of the season: "I won't do anything different. I'll keep working hard. We have a good program going and my fitness is good. I'll keep up my same routine; it's working for me."
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MIKE ALESSI, 3rd overall, Motocross class (Alessi is now fourth in the national points standings)
On competing against Ricky Carmichael, in Carmichael's final AMA motocross race: "It was a good race for me, but Ricky was riding really well. He got by me in the second moto and I knew I wasn't going to catch him. I rode a smooth, smart race and it paid off."
On what the guys bunched at the top of the points standings can do to win it: "There's no way any of us will gain more speed between now and the end of the season. It's just not possible. We're all maxed out. We just have to keep riding hard. It'll come down to the last moto of the year, and who can handle the pressure at the end."
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RICKY CARMICHAEL, 1st overall, Motocross class. Carmichael retired after Sunday's races, and will pursue a stock car driving career with DEI Motorsports.
On staying involved in motocross: "I still have an obligation with Suzuki through 2009, so I'll do a lot of testing and working with the younger guys coming up. I think I bring a lot of fun to the team … I'll still be around, just not as much."
On his 11-year motocross career: "My goal is to be a race car driver, and that's what I'll focus on now. It will take up a lot of my time. This sport's been great to me, though. It has provided a good life for me and my family. It's funny to think that my first outdoor national event was in 1996 and now the ride is ending. I'm happy with what I've done and the decisions I've made."
On his race car driving career: "I hope to ultimately be at the (Nextel) Cup level. I want to succeed at something other than (motocross). It would be a great accomplishment for me. Times change, people change. This is what I want to do."
On his near-crash after passing Kevin Windham in the first turn of the first moto: "I thought for a second that I was flying home early today. I was a little worried, but I held on and the Karma police took care of me."
On the fans at Spring Creek: "The fans here are great. I love them, I love this part of the country. The fans have always been great to me here. They're some of the best fans around."
Any chance he'll return to motocross?: (smiling) "You guys kill me with questions like that. I'd love to come back at some point, but it is so hard to take a lot of time off then come back and go at the pace that these guys do. So, as of now, I don't plan to come back."