AMA

High Point: Sobe Nationals preview

Vuillemin hoping for a triple in Sobe Nationals at High Point Raceway. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Yamaha's David Vuillemin comes into this Sunday's, May 26, SoBe National at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., as the two-time defending winner of...

Vuillemin hoping for a triple in Sobe Nationals at High Point Raceway.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Yamaha's David Vuillemin comes into this Sunday's, May 26, SoBe National at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., as the two-time defending winner of the event. The 24-year-old Frenchman, who makes his home in Corona, Calif., hopes to become only the second rider in the 25-year history of the race to win the 250 race at High Point three times in a row. Vuillemin is ranked fourth in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship coming into this, round three of the 12-event series.

"Mt. Morris has been good to me," said Vuillemin, who could become the first to win three straight at the track since the legendary Kent Howerton accomplished the feat 21 years ago. "It's still early in the season, but Ricky (Carmichael) is already gaining an advantage. It's important for me to have a very strong result and of course it would be nice to win three in a row at Mt. Morris."

If Vuillemin is to get his third victory at High Point, he is likely to have to go through Ricky Carmichael, the defending 250cc AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross champion from Havana, Fla. Carmichael comes into this weekend's event atop the series taking victories in the first two rounds in California. High Point remains the only event in the series that Carmichael has not won in the 250 class, although he is a two-time 125-class winner at the circuit.

Vuillemin's Yamaha teammate Tim Ferry is second in the series standings. The Largo, Florida resident is more than ready to get another victory in the series. It's been over a year since Ferry last won. Honda's Sebastien Tortelli comes into Sunday's race ranked third. Like Ferry, Tortelli is going on a year since he last won. Ferry is a former 125 winner at High Point.

Ezra Lusk joins Vuillemin as the only other former 250 High Point winner in the field Sunday. Lusk, of Acworth, Ga., won the race in 1998. The Kawasaki rider is fifth in the standings after the first two rounds.

The 125 series has been taken by storm this year by 16-year-old rookie sensation James Stewart, Jr. The young Kawasaki rider from Haines City, Fla., leads the 125 championship after winning his first two AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship events. Even though he's a rookie, Stewart does have experience on the High Point circuit, which he raced on as an amateur.

"I don't know how it is that I've been able to go so fast so far this year," said Stewart, the first prominent African-American in the sport.

"I just twist the throttle and good things happen. I'm looking forward to racing at Mt. Morris. At first I was a little worried about racing there since it always seems to turn into a mud race, but I learned a lot about racing in those conditions at Hangtown."

Stewart is speaking of his victory last Sunday at the Hangtown Classic in Sacramento, Calif., where a downpour made the track a sloppy quagmire in the second moto. He won the muddy race by over 12 seconds.

South African Grant Langston and Australian Chad Reed, both former top world championship motocross competitors, are locked in a great battle for second place in the 125 championship. Both are still trying to come to grips with the sheer speed that Stewart has shown in his debut season. Langston, who is second to Stewart in the championship, is pinning his hopes on the long and grueling season where anything can happen. "The year is made up of 24 motos so consistency is the key," Langston said.

Pennsylvania fans will be rooting for Fombell's Branden Jesseman, who rides for Team Blimpie Suzuki. Jesseman is tenth in the 125 series and is coming off a strong fifth-place performance last week in Sacramento. Mt. Morris is located in the rolling hills of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, right smack dab on the West Virginia border. One of the longest-running races on the circuit, High Point has been home to some of the more memorable races in the history of American motocross. Founded by famed promoter Dave Coombs Sr., the High Point track is one of the more fan-friendly tracks on the circuit in that from any one of several vantage points, fans can see pretty much the entire track-- a trait synonymous with the Coombs' venues (Steel City as well). The track is definitely a favorite amongst the riders, especially those who excel at the technical riding aspects of motocross.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto USMotocross.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship.

DIRECTIONS TO TRACK I-79 South toward WV Border, exit #1. Track is 5 miles North of Morgantown, WV <pre> HIGH POINT RACEWAY, MT. MORRIS, PA SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2002 2:30 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:50 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:10 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 3:30 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:50 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 4:10 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 4:45 PM Pre-Qualifiers

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2002 9:00 AM - 9:20 AM 125 National riders practice 9:20 AM - 9:40 AM 250 National riders practice 9:45 AM - 10:00 AM 125 National riders practice 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM 250 National riders practice 10:30 AM to completion Qualifiers 12:30 PM Opening Ceremonies 1:00 PM Moto 1- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 2:00 PM Moto 1- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 3:30 PM Moto 2- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 4:20 PM Moto 2- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 5:30 PM Victory Circle

-ama-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Ezra Lusk , Chad Reed , Branden Jesseman , James Stewart