AMA

Jesseman claims 2003 125cc East Region title

Jesseman hangs on at Pontiac to claim 2003 AMA 125 East Region Supercross Title. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- In a single moment it looked as if Branden Jesseman's entire season was going down the drain. A crash five laps into the season finale of the...

Jesseman hangs on at Pontiac to claim 2003 AMA 125 East Region Supercross Title.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- In a single moment it looked as if Branden Jesseman's entire season was going down the drain. A crash five laps into the season finale of the AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series in the Pontiac Silverdome left the 20-year-old SoBe Suzuki rider in 12th place. He needed 8th or better to ensure the title. Showing incredible poise under pressure, Jesseman hopped back on his Suzuki and charged like he'd never charged before. The final result was a strong rally and a sixth-place finish. That was good enough to clinch the first AMA championship of the 2003 season.

"That put a good scare in me," admitted Jesseman talking about his crash. "All week I've been thinking 'Just don't go out there and do something stupid' and wouldn't you know it I did. Fortunately I was able to get up and finish the job. That was a little too much excitement for my taste."

Jesseman broke down in tears when accepting the No. 1 plate on the podium after the race. "This feels awesome," he said as his voice cracked. "I've been working so hard for this, I don't know what to say." As Jesseman choked up the Pontiac crowd erupted in cheers showing its appreciation in his moment of emotion.

For the likeable rider from Fombell, Pa., the championship was the culmination of an incredible comeback just six months out from major knee surgery. It also marked a bright spot for Team Suzuki, which has been rocked this year by injuries by several of the team's top riders.

Jesseman's sixth-place finish at Pontiac was his worst of the season, but the rest of the series was filled with highlights. The sixth-year pro finished on the podium in five of the seven 125 East rounds and won three races en route to his first AMA championship. The 125 East points chase came down to the final event and three riders, Jesseman, Mike Brown and Brock Sellards, all had a shot at the title coming into the final race. Sellards, Brown and Ivan Tedesco joined Jesseman as winners during the 2003 AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series.

The championship marks the eighth 125 East title for Suzuki. It last won the regional championship with Travis Pastrana in 2001.

Jesseman now turns his attention to the Dave Coombs 125 East/West Shootout in Las Vegas on May 3, where he will face the likes of 125 West leader James Stewart. Then it's on to the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 125 Motocross Championship, where he finished second to Stewart last year.

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 Travis Pastrana , Mike Brown , James Stewart