PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 13, 2003) -- There are few records in AMA Motocross and AMA Supercross racing that Ricky Carmichael does not own. Only the legendary Jeremy McGrath's incredible career in AMA Supercross has kept Carmichael from gaining a ...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 13, 2003) -- There are few records in AMA Motocross and AMA Supercross racing that Ricky Carmichael does not own. Only the legendary Jeremy McGrath's incredible career in AMA Supercross has kept Carmichael from gaining a monopoly in the AMA record books. This Sunday, May 18, at the 35th Annual Hangtown Motocross Classic near Sacramento, Calif., Carmichael has a chance to tie McGrath's record of 89 combined AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross wins. It's one of the most remarkable records in all of AMA racing and if Carmichael goes on to break McGrath's record it will further the claims by those who say that Carmichael is the greatest rider the sport has ever produced.
Sunday at Hangtown is round two of the 12-round AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship. Carmichael is coming off a victory in the opening round last Sunday in San Bernardino, Calif. That victory ran his winning streak in the 250 class to 13-straight and a perfect 26 consecutive moto wins. While record holder McGrath won the majority of his 89 AMA victories in Supercross, Carmichael's record is biased towards motocross with 55 of his 88 wins coming in AMA Motocross. Since earning the unprecedented perfect season last year in 250 motocross, Carmichael has pointed toward the combined AMA wins as the record he most covets.
Carmichael is the defending 250 winner at Hangtown, but the Prairie City SVRA Park circuit has not always been kind to the 23-year-old Floridian. In 2000 he won the first 250 moto, but finished fourth in the second moto in sweltering heat. In 2001 Carmichael crashed in the first moto ruining his chances at an overall victory. The Honda ace erased the bad memories last year however when he won both the dry first moto and the muddy second moto to earn his first Hangtown 250 victory. "I'm just taking this series one race at a time," Carmichael said when asked if he thought he could win every round again this season. "I never thought anyone could win all 24 motos in a season, I thought it was impossible. I was fortunate to be able to do it, so I'm not going to say it can't be done again, but I'm not really even thinking beyond my next race right now to be honest."
Yamaha's Chad Reed took second in his AMA 250 Motocross debut last week. While the Australian seemed to solve the puzzle of beating Carmichael in the final half of the AMA Supercross season, he admitted he still has some learning to do if he hopes to run with the defending champ on the outdoor circuits. "I hadn't practiced much on outdoor-style tracks during the Supercross season," Reed explained. "I'm glad to get the first race out of the way. I'm satisfied with my result and now I'll move on. I need to string together 11 strong weekends and we'll see where I stand."
Reed's teammate Tim Ferry is third coming into Hangtown. He missed two months during the AMA Supercross season due to injury and said he is happy with his progress.
One of the biggest stories coming into this Sunday's race is the return of Kevin Windham after a year-and-a-half absence. Windham led portions of both 250 motos in San Bernardino, but a crash in the first moto put him fifth in the overall standings. "I've got room for improvement and the rest of the season to work on it," he said. "I'm happy to be back. Motocross is my home."
Suzuki's Travis Pastrana also returned to action after missing much of the Supercross season. Unfortunately the popular rider aggravated his injured knee and will be out indefinitely. Team SoBe Suzuki's Roger DeCoster has struggled keeping his team healthy and this is a tough blow for the five-time world champion.
The 125 class looks to be a replay of the spirited Mike Brown and Grant Langston championship battle in 2001. Brown won the opening salvo last weekend despite getting some shards of carbon fiber in his left eye while standing nearby when his mechanics were working on his bike. Brown visited a physician on Monday and was treated. The early prognosis was a scratched cornea and his vision should return to normal before Sunday.
Ryan Hughes came out of retirement and turned in a very respectable third in season opener. Hughes won the 125 race at Hangtown in 1995. Hughes should be a contender for this year's title.
Missing from the race will be 125 national champion James Stewart who is still recovering from a broken collarbone sustained in the final AMA Supercross race in Las Vegas on May 3. Suzuki's Branden Jesseman is also out with an injury.
The Hangtown Classic is one of the oldest and best-known motocross races in America. It pre-dates the formation of the AMA Motocross Championship and was one of the earliest of motocross races when the sport made its way from Europe to the U.S. in the 1960s.
The AMA 125 Motocross race from Sacramento will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 12 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 25, while the 250 motocross race will air at 11 p.m. (EST), also on May 25.
For ticket information visit www.hangtownmx.com or call (800) 426-4869.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USMotocross.com.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
HANGTOWN MX CLASSIC
SACRAMENTO, CA <pre> SATURDAY MAY 17, 2003 2:00 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:20 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 2:40 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 3:00 PM 125 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:20 PM 250 Non-Seeded riders practice 3:40 PM 125/250 Seeded riders practice 4:15 PM Pre-Qualifiers
SUNDAY MAY 18, 2003 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