ATLANTA SUPERCROSS IS ONE TO WATCH Carmichael to race, Lites East Series kicks off PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 20, 2007) -- If you had to choose only one Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series race to watch this year the Atlanta round this...
ATLANTA SUPERCROSS IS ONE TO WATCH
Carmichael to race, Lites East Series kicks off
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 20, 2007) -- If you had to choose only one Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series race to watch this year the Atlanta round this Saturday, Feb. 24, would not be a bad pick. A victory for L&M Yamaha's Chad Reed this past Saturday in San Diego has considerably tightened his championship battle with Kawasaki's James Stewart coming into the Georgia Dome. In addition to a heated points battle, Atlanta can also boast to being one of the venues where Makita Suzuki's part-timer Ricky Carmichael will race. As if all that weren't enough the Atlanta Supercross also marks the season opener for the AMA Supercross Lites East Series.
Reed, with his first AMA Supercross win of the season last week in San Diego, took full advantage of a crash by series leader Stewart to close up the points gap between the two. Before his victory Reed was 21 points behind. Coming into Atlanta Reed has whittled the difference to almost half of what it was before. He's now 12 points down to Stewart.
"I was super excited to get the win," said Reed, who won the Atlanta Supercross in 2004. "It was more of a relief than anything else. I knew I could win, I just had to keep putting myself in a position to do so."
Reed has hung tough in the championship chase in spite of starting the AMA season with an injured shoulder.
"The start of this year was so disappointing," Reed said. "It's hard to be hurt and miss all that testing in the first month of the season. I feel like everything is coming together now. My team has worked so hard. They left no stone unturned in trying to give me the best bike possible."
Stewart will be eager to bounce back in Atlanta after suffering a hard crash in San Diego. Stewart's Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Tim Ferry comes into Atlanta full of confidence after taking second in San Diego, his best result of the year. Kevin Windham is also gaining momentum. The Honda ace scored third last week and is expected to be among the leading riders again this weekend.
Georgia's own Davi Millsaps is slated to return to action for the first time this season after suffering a broken leg while practicing during the off season. Millsaps said he hopes to finish top-five in his first race back and then progress from there. The factory Honda rider from Cairo, Ga., is always a crowd favorite in Atlanta.
Perhaps the biggest story in Atlanta is Ricky Carmichael making the Georgia Dome one of the venues he chose to ride in his semi-retirement. Carmichael still has what it takes to win, one needs to look no further than his victory in San Francisco last month to know that. The defending champ has just a little more than the normal incentive to win this weekend. A victory Saturday would make him the all-time Atlanta Supercross wins leader. He's tied with Jeremy McGrath with five Atlanta Supercross victories apiece. Carmichael would love nothing better than to leave Atlanta with one more record added to his already impressive list.
The 2007 AMA Supercross Lites East Series takes the green flag in Atlanta. There's always a great deal of anticipation when it comes to the opening round of a series and this is no exception.
A slew of top riders are hoping to earn the East crown this year. Mike Alessi, of Red Bull KTM, is one of the pre-season favorites. Alessi moved over to the East series after being a leading contender in the West last year. Others to watch for in the East include Thomas Hahn of the factory Honda squad. He is the top-ranked rider left over from last year's East series. Sobe/NoFear/Samsung Honda's Billy Laninovich, Yamaha's Broc Hepler, Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Ben Townley and Branden Jesseman, of Motoworldracing.com, are just a few of the other top-name riders lining up for the Supercross Lites East opener.