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2002 Pro Awards Banquet report

Carmichael becomes first rider in 15 years to win back-to-back AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year Awards. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2002 AMA Supercross and AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 250 Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael was named...

Carmichael becomes first rider in 15 years to win back-to-back AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year Awards.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2002 AMA Supercross and AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. 250 Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael was named 2002 AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year Saturday, Nov. 23 at the AMA Pro Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. The presentation to Carmichael of the Speed Channel Athlete of the Year Award was the highlight of the evening's gala, where Carmichael was given a commemorative Rolex watch. In winning the highest honor given each year by AMA Pro Racing, Carmichael becomes the first rider to earn the award in consecutive years since co-winners Ricky Johnson and Bubba Shobert accomplished the feat in 1987. James Stewart, Jr., Chris Carr, Nicky Hayden, David Watson, along with Carmichael were the nominees for this year's Athlete of the Year.

AMA Pro Racing also awarded Motorcycle Hall of Famer Dave Despain with the Sportsman of the Year Award and the Award of Mechanical Excellence went to four-time AMA Grand National champ Chris Carr's longtime mechanic Kenny Tolbert.

The Athlete of the Year Award capped off a remarkable year for Carmichael. The Havana, Fla., native, who turns 23 this Wednesday (Nov. 27), won 11 of 16 rounds in the 2002 AMA Supercross Series en route to winning that championship for the second year in a row. RC then completed the single best season in the history of AMA Motocross. He reeled off 24-straight moto wins and 12 overalls for a perfect season in the 250 division. It was the first time that a rider had gone undefeated in AMA Motocross. In addition, Carmichael broke numerous AMA racing records along the way, including the longest winning streak in AMA professional motocross and breaking Bob Hannah's long-standing record for the most career victories in AMA 250 Motocross.

"It was a year I'll never forget," said Carmichael, who has earned an amazing eight national championships in his six seasons of pro racing. "I want to thank Honda for being 100 percent behind me. I also would like to thank AMA Pro Racing, the NPG and Clear Channel for providing us riders with a great opportunity to race in front of thousands of the best fans in all of racing." Carmichael went on to say that he hopes to make another strong run at both AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross titles again in 2003.

The AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year has been awarded annually since 1976 and prior to that had its origins in the old Rider of the Year and Most Popular Rider of the Year Awards, which date back to 1938.

Highlights from the 2002 AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet will air on Speed Channel's Bike Week, Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. and again at 12 a.m.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship and the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Ricky Carmichael , Ricky Johnson , James Stewart , Chris Carr