AMA

Anaheim II: Supercross preview

Vuillemin hoping to perform rare feat at Anaheim II PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- David Vuillemin has opened up the 2002 AMA EA Sports Supercross Series with two wins, and while impressive, it's not that uncommon. Riders have opened the AMA Supercross...

Vuillemin hoping to perform rare feat at Anaheim II

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- David Vuillemin has opened up the 2002 AMA EA Sports Supercross Series with two wins, and while impressive, it's not that uncommon. Riders have opened the AMA Supercross season with two victories a dozen times, but only three riders, Jim Ellis, Rick Johnson and Jeremy McGrath, have managed to win the opening three rounds in the 27-year history of the series -- McGrath did it three times. Vuillemin will attempt to become only the fourth rider ever to open the championship with a perfect three-for-three Saturday night, Jan. 19, as the series moves back to Anaheim, Calif.

Vuillemin has been nearly flawless in the first two races of the 16-race series and the 24-year-old Frenchman who rides for Yamaha has opened up an eight-point lead on Indiana native Mike LaRocco. Australian newcomer Chad Reed is a surprising third in the series after posting a six and fifth respectively at Anaheim I and San Diego. Reed is not expected to contest the entire 250 championship, since he's slated to run in the AMA 125 East Supercross Series later this season.

While Vuillemin's two wins weren't totally unexpected, the big surprise so far this season is the fact that the sport's biggest icons, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, are tied for 11th in the championships coming into Anaheim II. McGrath has been fighting arm pump, a condition where the muscles in a rider's arm get so pumped up that feeling is lost in the hands, and has limped home to 13th and 10th-place finishes. Defending champ Carmichael came back to finish a respectable fourth last weekend in San Diego after sustaining a concussion when he crashed out of the first race in Anaheim.

While happy with his start, Vuillemin has spoken like a realist and feels that it won't be long before McGrath and Carmichael shake their early-season woes. "This series is 16-races long," said Vuillemin. "My goal is to go out and be consistent. I've been fortunate so far, but I know that Jeremy and Ricky will be getting it together very soon. It's good to have the early advantage, but I've got to keep focused on the championship and that means I've got to keep it on two wheels."

Travis Pastrana and Mike LaRocco should be riders to watch at Anaheim. Pastrana had a breakthrough of sorts last weekend at Anaheim. The 18-year-old from Maryland, led the 250 Supercross main and finished on the podium for the first time in his young career. While he may have felt a bit awkward leading for the first time, the factory Suzuki rider said after the race that he now knows what it takes to win one these races.

LaRocco has been the picture of consistency, but still hasn't figured out a way to put his Factory Connection Honda in the number one position. It's been nearly seven years since the 30-year-old has tasted victory in Supercross; he's got to be one of the hungriest riders out there.

It was bound to be hard for James "Bubba" Stewart to live up to the hype surrounding his entry into the professional ranks. The most watched amateur rider over the last few years, Stewart proved in San Diego that he could live up to his billing. The Kawasaki rider won the 125 West Region main event on Saturday, becoming one of the youngest riders ever to win an AMA 125 Supercross final. The victory also gave the 16-year-old Floridian the early lead in the 125 West championship over Anaheim I winner Travis Preston.

Rodrig Thain and Christopher Gosselaar are hoping to make up for their faux pas at the first Anaheim race. The two were battling for the lead on the final lap when they collided and handed the victory to Preston. Thain is ranked third in the series coming into round three– Gosselaar is fourth.

AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for professional motorcycle sport in the United States. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Edison International Field- Anaheim, California

SATURDAY JANUARY 19, 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

-ama-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Travis Pastrana , Jeremy McGrath , Chad Reed , Mike LaRocco