AMA

Phoenix preview

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 5, 2004) -- Any questions about the health of Yamaha's Australian ace Chad Reed were answered last week at the opening round of the THQ AMA Supercross Series in Anaheim, Calif. Reed, who is coming off shoulder surgery, ...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 5, 2004) -- Any questions about the health of Yamaha's Australian ace Chad Reed were answered last week at the opening round of the THQ AMA Supercross Series in Anaheim, Calif. Reed, who is coming off shoulder surgery, dominated the race and instantly became the heavy favorite to win round two this Saturday, Jan.10, at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.

Reed opened the 2004 season in the same dominating fashion he closed the 2003 THQ AMA Supercross campaign. He ran his AMA Supercross win record to seven straight, dating back to March of last year despite having surgery on his shoulder - which was prone to dislocation - only a month before the opening round. The bad news for Reed's competitors was that Reed said he felt a little rusty last week, this after winning the main event by 20 seconds!

Reed is looking to earn his 10th-career AMA Supercross victory in Phoenix. Last week he moved into a tie with Mike LaRocco for 14th on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list. This year is only his second full season in the premier 250 class. He won the AMA 125 East Supercross title in 2002.

Ezra Lusk is the defending winner of the Phoenix round. The Georgian was the only rider other than Reed and Ricky Carmichael (who will miss the entire 2004 series recovering from knee surgery) to win an AMA Supercross race last season and he is aiming to prove a point this year after losing his factory ride with Kawasaki. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to go out and win the championship," said Lusk before the season. "I don't want to be in the top three or in the top two. This is it. I want to be number one on a 250 before I stop racing."

Lusk ran near the front last weekend on his Mach 1 Yamaha before crashing and finishing eighth. He's hoping to come back and defend his Phoenix victory Saturday night.

The other defending winner at Bank One Ballpark is Yamaha's David Vuillemin. The Frenchman won the race at the Ballpark four years ago. Vuillemin is eager to finally fulfill the promise he showed in 2000, his first full season in America, when he stormed in and won four rounds during the legendary Jeremy McGrath's final championship season. Vuillemin comes into Phoenix ranked second in the series after taking the runner-up spot in Anaheim.

Yamaha is loaded this year. In addition to Reed and Vuillemin, the squad features veteran Tim Ferry. Ferry finished a solid third in the series opener and is hoping to earn a breakthrough win in AMA Supercross.

Another rider to watch for at Phoenix is Amsoil Chaparral Honda's Mike LaRocco. The 16-year veteran of the series shows no signs of slowing down even though he'll turn 33 next month. LaRocco is ranked fourth coming into Phoenix. Kawasaki's Michael Byrne and Honda's Ernesto Fonseca could also make some noise this weekend. Byrne rode his factory Kawasaki to fifth last Saturday and Fonseca led the race early before suffering a crash. One surprise at Anaheim was Hansen Suzuki's Tyler Evans, who came out of nowhere to take a strong sixth last week. Evans is looking to make a name for himself by proving his Anaheim result was not a fluke.

Albuquerque native Ivan Tedesco finds himself leading the AMA 125 West SX Series after taking his second-career 125 Supercross victory last weekend. Tedesco, who rides for the powerful Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, will face a deep field that includes Honda's Nathan Ramsey, who stepped back to the 125 class this year. Ramsey is a former 125 winner at Phoenix.

Arizona racing fans will be rooting for Ted Campbell, of Mesa, in the 250 class and Phoenix's own Michael Blose in the 125 ranks.

For additional information on the race call (630) 566-6100. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster. The race will receive next-day coverage on ESPN2.

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix, AZ

FRIDAY JANUARY 9, 2004 8:00 am - 10:00 am - Team Paddock Parking (Factory / Independent) 10:00 am - 11:00 am - Privateer Paddock Parking 10:00 am - 10:00 pm - Paddock Gates Open 11:00 am - 2:00 pm - AMA Rider Check-In 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Rider Track Walk 1:00 pm - 1:10 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 1:13 pm - 1:23 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 1:26 pm - 1:41 pm - 250 Factory Riders Practice 1:44 pm - 1:59 pm - 125 Factory Riders Practice 2:02 pm - 2:12 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 2:15 pm - 2:25 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 2:28 pm - 2:38 pm - Break 2:40 pm - 2:50 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 2:53 pm - 3:03 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 3:06 pm - 3:21 pm - 250 Factory Riders Practice 3:25 pm - 3:40 pm - 125 Factory Riders Practice 3:43 pm - 3:53 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 3:56 pm - 4:06 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B * if less than 40 Riders, Group A & B will be combined

SATURDAY JANUARY 10 , 2004 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm - 125 Practice 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm - 250 Practice 2:15 pm - 2:45 pm - Track Maintenance 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - KTM Practice 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm - 125 Practice 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm - 250 Practice 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Qualifying Heats 5:30 pm - 5:45 pm - KTM Practice 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm - Track Maintenance 7:00 pm - 7:20 pm - Opening Ceremonies 7:30 pm - 7:40 pm - 125 Heat #1 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main) 7:40 pm - 7:50 pm - 125 Heat #2 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main) 7:50 pm - 8:00 pm - 250 Heat #1 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 1) 8:00 pm - 8:10 pm - 250 Heat #2 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 2) 8:10 pm - 8:25 pm - Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps - 15 riders 8:25 pm - 8:35 pm - Track Maintenance (10 minutes) 8:35 pm - 8:40 pm - 125 Last Chance Qualifier - 4 laps - 22 riders (1st - 4th to Main) 8:40 pm - 8:50 pm - 250 Semi #1 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ) 8:50 pm - 9:00 pm - 250 Semi #2 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ) 9:00 pm - 9:10 pm - Track Maintenance 9:10 pm - 9:20 pm - 250 Last Chance Qualifier - 6 laps - 22 riders 9:20 pm - 9:25 pm - 125 Rider's Parade Lap 9:25 pm - 9:45 pm - 125 Main Event - 15 laps - 22 riders 9:50 pm - 9:55 pm - 250 Rider's Parade Lap 9:55 pm - 10:15 pm - 250 Main Event - 20 laps- 20 riders

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Ernesto Fonseca , Chad Reed , Ted Campbell , Mike LaRocco