Carmichael brings momentum into Anaheim II PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 19, 2005) - Ricky Carmichael comes into Anaheim II on Saturday, Jan. 22, carrying a great deal of momentum. Carmichael, of Havana, Fla., is fresh off a victory last week at...
Carmichael brings momentum into Anaheim II
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Jan. 19, 2005) - Ricky Carmichael comes into Anaheim II on Saturday, Jan. 22, carrying a great deal of momentum.
Carmichael, of Havana, Fla., is fresh off a victory last week at round two of the 16-race series in Phoenix. The win, Suzuki's first in AMA Supercross since 1999, moves Carmichael to within two points of Honda's Kevin Windham, who won the muddy opener at Anaheim on Jan. 8.
For Carmichael it was his first AMA Supercross win with Suzuki. "Around lap 13 or 14 I knew I had it if I didn't make any mistakes," Carmichael said of his Phoenix race. "The last few laps seemed to take an eternity. I'm happy for myself, but I'm most happy for Suzuki. They deserve it. We'll take this momentum with us going into next weekend."
Carmichael and Suzuki are using innovative approaches to set up the team's RM250 and find additional speed on the technical supercross tracks.
"We've taken some things from MotoGP," Carmichael said referring to world championship Motorcycle Grand Prix road racing. "They're a little more specific with their timing and finding out where you're losing time and that's what we have to do since all the riders are pretty close in talent."
Even though he was largely overlooked in pre-season predictions, Honda-mounted Kevin Windham has emerged as a serious championship contender. The 12-year racing veteran from Centreville, Miss., is looking to win his first AMA Supercross title in his eighth season in the series. He finds himself leading the series for the first time in his career, but instead of being overly excited about that fact he's being realistic.
"This is a long series with a lot of races," Windham said. "I'm happy about leading the series, but we have 14 rounds left and so many things can happen. I never really got comfortable at Phoenix and didn't feel I could push it for 20 laps. Hopefully I'll learn a few things from video of the race and can be stronger in Anaheim this weekend."
Carmichael's teammate Sebastien Tortelli comes into Anaheim II ranked third in the standings. The two-time FIM World Motocross Champion is trying to win his first AMA Supercross race since he came over from world motocross to win in his debut in 1998.
Defending THQ AMA Supercross champion Chad Reed finished third to Carmichael and Windham last Saturday and as a result leapt from 16th to ninth in the series standings. Reed is anxious to put his Yamaha atop the podium in an effort to gain on Windham and Carmichael in the points chase.
Seven-time AMA Supercross champ Jeremy McGrath proved he still has plenty of speed left by earning a top-10 finish at Phoenix despite sitting out of the series for two years. McGrath will again be a fan favorite at his home supercross of Anaheim.
AMA Supercross Series fans will have to wait for some weeks to see if James Stewart can realize the potential of his enormous talent. The young Kawasaki ace broke his left arm in a practice crash at Phoenix and will miss at least the next few rounds of the series. Stewart's shown great speed in the first two rounds and is certain to be a leading contender when he returns. The injury is a monumental disappointment for both Stewart and Kawasaki.
Travis Pastrana, one of the sport's most popular and well known faces, is also a question mark for Anaheim II. The X-Games Gold Medalist, who has been riding with an injured wrist, may have injured himself further in Phoenix.
In the 125 class, Suzuki's Broc Hepler won his very first AMA Supercross race in Phoenix. It marked the first time that Suzuki riders won both the premier AMA Supercross and 125 support class on the same weekend. The win moved Hepler from 18th to fifth in the 125 West standings. Defending champion Ivan Tedesco is tied atop the 125 West standings with outstanding newcomer Ryan Sipes, of Vine Grove, Ky., who finished a surprising third last weekend in Phoenix.
Anaheim I 125 West winner Nathan Ramsey had problems with his bike at Phoenix and finished 22nd dropping him to sixth in the point standings.
Anaheim II will receive next-day primetime coverage on ESPN2 starting with the AMA 125 West Supercross race at 7 pm and the main 250 race at 8:00 pm Eastern. Tickets are available at the Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, all participating Yamaha Dealers or charge by phone at 213-480-3232 or 714-740-2000.