Lusk Hoping To Break Out Of Slump At Atlanta Supercross PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Ezra Lusk, the highest-ranked motocross racer from the state of Georgia, is not a happy camper these days despite being ranked fifth in the 2002 AMA EA Sports...
Lusk Hoping To Break Out Of Slump At Atlanta Supercross
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Ezra Lusk, the highest-ranked motocross racer from the state of Georgia, is not a happy camper these days despite being ranked fifth in the 2002 AMA EA Sports Supercross Series. The 26-year-old rider from Acworth, Ga., expected much more out of himself this year, but as the series moves to the halfway point this Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Georgia Dome, Lusk remains optimistic that he can get his season turned around.
While Lusk is trying to break a slump in Atlanta, Vuillemin will be trying to edge closer to breaking the bank. The native of France, who now lives in Corona, Calif., won the first leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Supercross. A grand prize of $500,000 could go to the winner of all three events - Anaheim (Jan. 5), Atlanta (Feb. 23), and Las Vegas (May 4). If Vuillemin can earn a victory in Atlanta he needs only to win the season finale in Las Vegas to take home the half-million dollars. In the event that no one wins all three rounds, the rider with the most points scored at the three races will receive $25,000.
Vuillemin, who rides for Yamaha, leads the Supercross standings coming into Atlanta by 23 points over Floridian Ricky Carmichael, the defending champ. Both riders have won three races so far this year. Hoosier Mike LaRocco is third in the series, but is likely to miss the rest of the Supercross season after sustaining a broken right wrist last Saturday in Minneapolis. Kawasaki teammates Stephane Roncada and Lusk round out the top five riders coming into mid-season.
Lusk traded places with Carmichael in a blockbuster move during the off-season. Carmichael came to Honda for a reported 4 million dollars, and Lusk took an offer from Kawasaki. Lusk and Carmichael grew up racing each other and were best of friends and riding buddies before the move, but now Lusk admits the relationship has cooled considerably.
Lusk feels that even though his results have not been what he's used to -- his best results have been a pair of fifth-place finishes -- he can feel the momentum shifting. Last week in Minneapolis he had third locked up before making a mistake on the final lap that pushed him back to sixth.
"I can't quite put my finger on it," said Lusk. "The Kawasaki is obviously capable of winning, but there's a transition period. Each week I feel a little more comfortable with the bike and I really believe that some good results are just around the corner."
Lusk, who was the second-ranked AMA Supercross rider in 1998 and 1999, would love nothing better than to get his first podium finish in front of his home fans this weekend.
Jeremy McGrath, like Lusk, would be happy to get a good result Saturday. The five-time Atlanta Supercross winner and seven-time AMA Supercross champ is having his worst season to date. McGrath has yet to crack the top five this year and stands seventh in the points. But like Lusk, McGrath has shown signs of improvement in recent rounds and could be ready to turn in a much needed podium ride.
In addition to round eight of the 16-race EA Sports Supercross Series, Atlanta will also feature the third round of the AMA 125 East Region Series. Australian rookie sensation Chad Reed has stolen the show by winning the first two rounds. To show just how tough the 19-year-old Yamaha of Troy rider is, he won last week's race in Minneapolis after pulling a groin muscle while training just a few days before. Reed leads Tennessee's Mike Brown by 10 points coming into Atlanta. Larry Ward and Steve Boniface are tied in third.
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.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23, 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