AMA

Carmichael wins 2003 Supercross Championship

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Honda's Ricky Carmichael did what he needed to do Saturday night in Las Vegas, taking second to Chad Reed in the season finale and securing his third straight AMA Supercross championship. Unlike the dominating fashion with...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Honda's Ricky Carmichael did what he needed to do Saturday night in Las Vegas, taking second to Chad Reed in the season finale and securing his third straight AMA Supercross championship.

Unlike the dominating fashion with which he won his first two AMA Supercross titles, this year Carmichael had to overcome a serious challenge in the form of Yamaha's Chad Reed. In the end it was Carmichael winning seven races and the championship by seven points over Reed. The championship is the ninth AMA professional title for Carmichael, the 23-year-old rider from Havana, Fla., who is in his seventh full year of AMA Pro Racing. He now has three AMA Supercross titles to go with his three apiece in the AMA Chevy Trucks 125 U.S. Motocross and AMA Chevy Trucks 250 U.S. Motocross Championships.

"My performance dropped off a little bit this year," Carmichael admitted. "But winning the No. 1 plate is what it's all about. I know where I need to improve for next year and hopefully with Honda's help we'll come back and make it four straight."

For Carmichael the season was one of a marked contrast. Carmichael himself described the year as "strong in the first half and consistent in the second half." The champ won seven races and built up a season-high 25-point lead over Reed after dominating at Daytona. But that would prove to be the final victory of the season for Carmichael. Reed reeled off six-straight victories while Carmichael was second each time taking the battle for the championship down to the final race. It marked the first time since 1997 that the AMA Supercross championship went down to the final race. It was also the first time in 11 years that the winner of the series did not complete the season with the most race victories. Reed won a total of eight rounds and Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk earned one victory.

Carmichael simply needed to finish fifth or better to secure the championship and in Las Vegas he rode a strategic race, moving up into second in the early going and making no serious attempt to run up and challenge Reed, who led from the start.

"It feels great to win this championship," Carmichael said. "It's not necessarily the way I wanted to end the season, but I wasn't about to do anything to jeopardize the championship. I give credit to Chad. He stepped it up this year and made it interesting. Having a challenge was fun for me. Rivalries are part of what makes racing so great."

Carmichael joins an elite club of riders to win three-straight AMA Supercross championships. Legends Bob Hannah and Jeremy McGrath are the only other riders to manage the feat. Carmichael's win marks the 15th AMA Supercross championship for Honda.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USMotocross.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Chad Reed