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Anaheim II: Event preview

Lusk's revival big story coming into Anaheim II. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2003 AMA Supercross Series is only two races old and already the championship has produced three major surprises. One is that defending two-time champ Ricky Carmichael...

Lusk's revival big story coming into Anaheim II.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2003 AMA Supercross Series is only two races old and already the championship has produced three major surprises. One is that defending two-time champ Ricky Carmichael has yet to win on his No. 4 factory Honda, the second is the emergence of Yamaha's Chad Reed, and the third is the sudden and unexpected resurgence of Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk. Reed brings a seven-point lead into Anaheim II, this Saturday, Jan. 18, at Edison International Field. The Aussie scored a victory in Anaheim I and a runner-up finish in Phoenix last week to maintain his lead over Ricky Carmichael and teammate Tim Ferry, who are tied for second.

While much of the attention has focused on Reed's early success and Carmichael's woes, Ezra Lusk slipped under the radar and came out with a surprising win in Phoenix. The victory marked the first for Lusk in four years and was Kawasaki's first AMA Supercross win since Ricky Carmichael last rode for the team two years ago. Lusk knows what it takes to win in Anaheim. He scored victory twice there in 1999. The 27-year-old Lusk moved from eighth to fourth in the series standings with last week's win, adding himself as another strong candidate to the list of possible winners in round three.

Reed proved that his victory in the season opener was no fluke. He led much of the race last week in Bank One Ballpark, before Lusk took over the lead late in the race. Knowledgeable fans wonder how much longer Reed can hold off Carmichael and this weekend's race could go a long way in answering that question. More than a few people are surprised that there have been two winners in the first two rounds and Carmichael was not one of them. The astonishment is understandable especially considering Carmichael's complete domination in the second half of the 2002 AMA Supercross season that carried over to an undefeated AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross campaign.

Reed has been a breath of fresh air in the 250 Supercross division. He had always maintained that he would be better on a 250 than he was in the 125 class last year. He won the AMA 125 East Region Supercross title last season and has moved right into the big class without missing a beat. Carmichael, on the other hand, has suffered crashes in the first two rounds and finished off the podium last week in Phoenix for the first time since last year's Anaheim II. So fans have yet to see Reed and Carmichael in a race-long battle.

Yamaha's Tim Ferry has quietly made his way to a solid second-place ranking after two rounds thanks to a pair of third-place finishes. Ferry is still looking for his first AMA Supercross victory and you can be sure the steady Floridian will capitalize on any mistakes made by others.

James Stewart and Travis Preston are tied for the lead in the AMA 125 West Region Supercross Series. The rubber match is this weekend in Anaheim. Suzuki's young guns Danny Smith and Sean Hamblin seem to be gaining momentum and could be a factor in the 125 division as well on Saturday.

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. <pre> AMA SUPERCROSS SERIES SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Edison International Field, Anaheim, California

FRIDAY JANUARY 17, 2003 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-4:06pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B * if less than 40 Riders, Group A & B will be combined

SATURDAY JANUARY 18 , 2003 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 , Ezra Lusk , Chad Reed , James Stewart