AMA EA Sports Supercross returns to Salt Lake City PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After a successful debut in 2001, the AMA EA Sports Supercross Series returns this Saturday, April 27, to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, for round 15 of the 16-race...
AMA EA Sports Supercross returns to Salt Lake City
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After a successful debut in 2001, the AMA EA Sports Supercross Series returns this Saturday, April 27, to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, for round 15 of the 16-race series. Ricky Carmichael, who leads the series with nine wins, has a chance to wrap up the 2002 AMA Supercross Championship with a win in Salt Lake City. The Honda rider from Havana, Fla., is on the verge of winning his second-straight AMA Supercross title. It would mark his seventh AMA national championship. At just 22, Carmichael's already won five U.S. Motocross Championships in addition to last year's AMA Supercross title.
In just his fourth season of 250 Supercross competition, Carmichael has moved into fourth on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list with 24-career victories.
"I'm going to try to nail down the championship in Salt Lake City for sure," said Carmichael, who won the race in Rice-Eccles Stadium last April. "David's (Vuillemin) made it tough for me, but I've been really focused on defending my title. I know he's going to put all on the line in Utah, but I'm going to try my best to end the championship race early."
Jeremy McGrath, who comes into Salt Lake City third in the point standings, is the all-time AMA Supercross wins leader with 72, but is still seeking his first win of 2002. McGrath has looked more and more like the McGrath of old in recent weeks, finishing on the podium in the last two rounds leading up to this Saturday's race. After his third-place finish last week in Irving, McGrath sounded hungry to get a victory.
"I'm finally getting my rhythm back," McGrath said. "I feel like I'm on the verge of winning one of these things. I'm going to give it my all in the last two rounds and hopefully things will go my way."
Another rider hoping to get back on the winning track this weekend is Vuillemin. The Frenchman, who lives in Corona, Calif., won three rounds during the first half of the season, but since missing the Daytona Beach round in March with a shoulder injury and losing the series lead, Vuillemin has not been able to stop Carmichael's momentum.
"I don't know if I can catch Ricky for the championship," Vuillemin admitted. "He's a great rider, but I've got to try to at least give myself a chance to take it to the final race"
While the 250 championship might be decided this weekend, the 125 West Supercross Championship will definitely be determined at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Saturday will be the final round of that series. Four riders still have a shot at the title with Californian Travis Preston leading the way on his Factory Connection Honda. Rookie sensation James Stewart, Ivan Tedesco who was runner-up in the 125 race in Salt Lake City last year and Preston's teammate Chris Gosselaar will all need a little luck to have a shot at the title. Preston, who has two wins to his credit this season, needs only to finish fifth or better to wrap up the 125 West title. He's only finished outside the top five once this season.
"Everybody's been paying attention to Stewart and I sort of like that," said Preston. "I've been kind of doing my own thing and came out of nowhere and am really thrilled with the way things are going."
Earlier in the year it appeared that Stewart was the rider to beat to win the championship, but a rash of crashes late in the season moved Stewart from a commanding lead in the series to second-- 10 points down. Preston meanwhile has been a model of consistency earning top-five finishes in all but one race and scoring two victories. All of the four 125 West contenders are looking for their first AMA Supercross title.
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AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series Schedule Of Events
SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2002
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Rider registration and Tech
Inspection at the Venue
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Bonus Awards Participant/Mechanic
registration at the Venue
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Rider Track Walk
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Junior Supercross Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 noon - 12:15 p.m. - Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Junior Supercross Practice
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. - 125cc Practice
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - 250cc Practice
2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - Track Maintenance
2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - 125cc Practice
3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. - 250cc Practice
3:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Qualifying Heats
5:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - Junior Supercross Practice
5:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. - Track Maintenance
7:00 p.m. - 7:20 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies
7:30 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. - 125cc Heat #1 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
@7:40 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. - 125cc Heat #2 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
7:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - 250cc Heat #1 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 1)
8:00 p.m. - 8:10 p.m. - 250cc Heat #2 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 2)
8:10 p.m. - 8:25 p.m. - Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3
laps - 15 riders
8:25 p.m. - 8:35 p.m. - Track Maintenance (10 minutes)
8:35 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. - 125cc Last Chance Qualifier - 4 laps - 22 riders (1st - 4th to Main)
8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. - 250cc Semi #1 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ)
8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - 250cc Semi #2 - 6 laps - 16 riders
(1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ)
9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. - Track Maintenance/ EA Sports Challenge Main
9:10 p.m. - 9:20 p.m. - 250cc Last Chance Qualifier - 6
laps - 22 riders- (1st & 2nd to main)
9:20 p.m. - 9:25 p.m. - 125cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:25 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. - 125cc Main Event - 15 laps - 22 riders
9:50 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. - 250cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:55 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. - 250cc Main Event - 20 laps- 20 riders