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Buchanan: Round five preview

CARMICHAEL LOOKING FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY AT RED BUD Brown hopes to extend 125 series lead with repeat win PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2005) -- Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael is on the biggest roll in AMA Motocross history. As the 2005 ...

CARMICHAEL LOOKING FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY AT RED BUD
Brown hopes to extend 125 series lead with repeat win

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 28, 2005) -- Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael is on the biggest roll in AMA Motocross history. As the 2005 racing calendar reaches the middle of the season and the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF comes to round five at the renowned Red Bud Track 'N Trail on Independence Day Weekend, Carmichael continues an amazing winning streak that dates back to July of 2003. The five-time and defending 250 champ comes to Buchanan, Mich., this Sunday, looking to earn his fifth straight win at Red Bud.

While Carmichael's dominance this year was not totally unexpected, Mike Brown has been a somewhat surprising story in the 125 class this year. Riding for his own privateer team sponsored by a local dealership, Brown, the defending Red Bud 125 winner, finds himself leading the 125 class ahead of a horde of factory teams. Brown will try to extend his lead by defending his 2004 Red Bud win.

Many thought 2005 would mark the end of Carmichael's dominance of AMA Motocross. He was, after all, going to finally face Kawasaki's James Stewart, who bettered most of the records set by Carmichael in the 125 class. Additionally, Carmichael switched to Suzuki, a team that had a less than stellar record in AMA Motocross in recent years. But so far it's all systems go again for Carmichael. He's won the four rounds leading up to the Red Bud National and shows no signs of slowing despite reaching "middle age" in terms of a motocross riders' typical career span.

"I'm very happy with the way things have gone so far this season," said Carmichael, who has won six nationals at Red Bud counting his two wins in the 125 class in the late 1990s. "I don't think too many people would have thought I would have been undefeated this far into the season, especially considering I'm riding a brand new motorcycle. The competition has stepped up this year no question, but fortunately I've had enough in reserve to hold them off. Suzuki is continuing to improve the RMZ so I look forward to racing Red Bud and beyond."

Carmichael is racing Suzuki's new RM-Z450 four-stroke motocross bike. It's the first time Suzuki has entered the four-stroke fray in the big class, joining the already established four-stroke models from Honda, KTM and Yamaha. So far Carmichael has given the new machine the best introduction Suzuki could hope for.

"I won't be satisfied until I get the championship and that's still a long way off," Carmichael added. "If I keep working hard and the team keeps improving the bike I think everything should fall into place."

The only other past Red Bud 250 National winners in the field besides Carmichael this weekend will be Kevin Windham and John Dowd. Windham is running third in the championship, but is looking to score only his second podium finish of the season at Red Bud. Dowd has shocked a lot of motocross pundits with his strong showing in this his final full season of competition. Dowd, a New Englander who turns 40 in August, scored a podium finish at his home national of Southwick (Mass.) in June and is running a solid eighth in the series standings.

Yamaha's Chad Reed is second in the standings and will forever be remembered as the rider who actually broke Carmichael's 31-moto winning streak. Reed said while he is happy to finally score his first moto win in the 250 class, he's hungry to go a step further and take a national overall victory in the very near future. Reed scored a pair of thirds in his previous Red Bud 250 National outings.

Mike Brown scored an upset win over James Stewart, who crashed in the second 125 moto, in last year's Red Bud 125 race. Brown, of Johnson City, Tenn., is coming off his first win since last year's Red Bud, winning in Maryland two weeks ago. The victory extended the veteran's lead in the series to 27 points over Ivan Tedesco.

"I think I over-trained a bit early in the season," said Brown, who is training a lot this year with Ricky Carmichael at Carmichael's track in Florida. "Ricky just gets out there and pounds out lap after lap in the heat and at my age (32) I think I wasn't getting enough time to recover. I think I've found the right balance now in my training, so we'll see how it goes as we get into the thick of the season."

Tedesco is somewhat of a surprise running second in the standings. He's never finished better than sixth in the championship. "Hot Sauce" feels it's time to prove his chops in the outdoor series.

"I've gotten the reputation of a Supercross specialist," said Tedesco, a two-time AMA West 125 Supercross champ. "I want to show I can be successful in motocross as well. I've worked hard to get ready for the season and it's paying off."

There have been three winners in the 125 class in this season's four races. Joining Brown in the win column are KTM's young hot shot Mike Alessi and former AMA 125 champ Grant Langston. Alessi is fourth and Langston fifth coming into Red Bud. Both are riding with injuries, but the week off before Red Bud should help both.

There will be a major hole in the hearts of Red Bud fans this year. It will mark the first Red Bud National without local hero Mike LaRocco since 1987. LaRocco has retired from motocross to concentrate exclusive on AMA Supercross in his final years of racing. The famous Red Bud jump "LaRocco's Leap" will be the South Bend, Ind., native's permanent monument at the track.

For additional information on Red Bud call (269) 695-6405 or visit the website www.redbudmx.com. The Red Bud races will be televised on OLN.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Kevin Windham , Chad Reed , Mike Brown , James Stewart , Mike LaRocco