AMA

Glen Helen: Season opener preview

San Bernardino to host AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross season opener PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2002 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship is set to kick off on Sunday, May 12, at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. Ricky ...

San Bernardino to host AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross season opener

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The 2002 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship is set to kick off on Sunday, May 12, at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. Ricky Carmichael, 22, of Havana, Fla., returns to the 250 class in search of his third-straight AMA 250 Motocross Championship, while Tennessee's Mike Brown will attempt to defend his AMA 125 Motocross title. Glen Helen is the first of 12 rounds of the 2002 series, which will visit nine states during the summer and culminate on Sept. 1, in Delmont, Pa.

Carmichael moved from Kawasaki to Honda during the off-season, but the move to a new bike did not seem to affect him in the least. Last month Carmichael wrapped up his second-straight AMA Supercross title and he will attempt to give Honda its first AMA 250 Motocross championship since 1995. Carmichael will also be striving for another AMA record this year– he will attempt to become the second rider in the 30-year history of the series to win six AMA Motocross championship titles. Broc Glover took his factory Yamaha to three 125 and 500 AMA Motocross Championships.

Glen Helen has been an up-and-down roller-coaster ride for Carmichael. He was dominant on the track in the 125 class, winning three-straight times from 1997 to 1999. He continued his winning streak when he moved up to the 250 class in 2000. But last year his streak came to an abrupt end when he crashed hard out of the first moto. He came back to win the second moto to claim fourth overall.

"Glen Helen is a little faster than a lot of the tracks," Carmichael said. "When you put together the speed of the track with the big hills they have there, it definitely makes for a challenging combination. Everyone has to race the same track, it's a little tougher for me since I normally like the track surfaces in the East, but I'd like to think I can win there."

Carmichael joins Tim Ferry, Mike LaRocco and Sebastien Tortelli has former 250 winners at Glen Helen. Ferry is the defending winner of the race and looks forward to returning to the facility.

"I like Glen Helen a lot," said Ferry, a Florida native who rides for Yamaha. "They do a really good job with the track during the national. It's a rough and gnarly track and to me that's a good thing."

There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the 125 class this year with the addition of Chad Reed and James Stewart. Reed, 20, from Australia, was dominant in the AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series and is considered one of the favorites to win the 125 title this year. The runner-up in the FIM 250 Motocross World Championships last year, Reed has practiced at Glen Helen before, but will be seeing the pro track for the first time.

"All of the circuits will be new to me," said Reed, who rides for the Boost Mobile Yamaha of Troy squad. "It's just like it was in the supercross season– everything was new to me, but I relish the change to go out and learn new tracks. It keeps me on my toes." Stewart, a 16-year-old racing phenom from Florida, will be making his professional motocross debut at Glen Helen. The AMA's leading amateur racer a year ago, Stewart is already considered one of the elite riders in his rookie season.

And then there's the Mike Brown and Grant Langston rematch. Last year the two had some of the toughest battles in the history of the 125 series. Brown, a 29-year-old racing veteran from Tennessee, eventually came out on top, but the title was not decided until the final race. Langston, a South African who has brought Austrian motorcycle maker KTM back to prominence in American motocross, lost the title last year in a heartbreaker when the wheel on his bike blew apart in the final moto of the season. If there's any rider more than ready to get the season started its Langston.

The AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this season. The championship has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first introduced in 1972. Last year 233,148 fans attended the 12 races and millions more followed the series on ESPN2. The series will again be televised on ESPN2.

<pre> AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship May 12, 2002 Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, Ca

Schedule of Events:

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2002 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Semi Truck Parking 10:00 AM Paddock open to all National credential holders 10:00 AM - 1:30 PM Registration and Tech at track for all professional riders 2:00 PM Riders Meeting 2:30 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:50 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:10 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 3:30 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:50 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 4:10 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 4:45 PM Pre-Qualifiers

SUNDAY, MAY 12, 2002 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM Will Call 8:30 AM Riders Meeting (mandatory) 8:45 AM Chapel Service 9:00 AM - 9:20 AM 125 National riders practice 9:20 AM - 9:40 AM 250 National riders practice 9:45 AM - 10:00 AM 125 National riders practice 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM 250 National riders practice 10:30 AM to completion Qualifiers 12:30 PM Opening Ceremonies 1:00 PM Moto 1- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 2:00 PM Moto 1- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 3:30 PM Moto 2- 125 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 4:20 PM Moto 2- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 5:30 PM Victory Circle

For immediate post-race results, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto USMotocross.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Sebastien Tortelli , Chad Reed , Mike Brown , James Stewart , Mike LaRocco