AMA

Minneapolis: Event preview

AMA Supercross Series heating up coming into Minneapolis. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- While temperatures outside the Metrodome will be cool this Saturday, Feb. 15, the blistering action inside the dome should keep AMA Supercross racing fans nice and...

AMA Supercross Series heating up coming into Minneapolis.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- While temperatures outside the Metrodome will be cool this Saturday, Feb. 15, the blistering action inside the dome should keep AMA Supercross racing fans nice and toasty. Defending AMA Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael, of Honda, comes into Minneapolis with the series lead, but his supremacy is being challenged by Yamaha's Aussie sensation Chad Reed. Reed is coming off a victory last weekend in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, which broke Carmichael's three-race winning streak. Carmichael has three wins on the season against Reed's two. A slim four points separate the two riders coming into Minneapolis, the seventh round of the 16-race championship.

Adding to the drama, Carmichael and Reed were both winners last year in the Metrodome. Carmichael won the premier 250 class, while Reed was victorious in the AMA 125 East Region Supercross support race. Both riders went on to win their respective championships. Watching Reed last year, it was easy to see that he was not content to race in the 125 class. He was anxious to contest the AMA Supercross Championship. He made some bold claims last year and during the off-season, saying that he was a much better rider in the bigger class. Up to this point he's backing up his statements and proving to be the first true challenger to Carmichael in three years.

Last week in San Diego, it appeared the two points leaders would have a nip-and-tuck race to the flag, but as Carmichael tried to close the gap on leader Reed he tumbled in a set of whoops. "I made a mistake," Carmichael admitted. "It's pretty embarrassing actually. I can't make mistakes like that. I just need to race the track. You can't win when you are on the ground." The defending champ picked himself up off the ground and finished third. This Saturday he'll certainly be looking to make up for the bad weekend. Carmichael is shooting for his third-straight victory in Minneapolis.

David Vuillemin is another former Minneapolis winner. The Frenchman, who is a Yamaha teammate to Reed, has worked his way into championship contention by putting together a string of podium finishes. If Vuillemin breaks through to win this weekend it will truly turn the championship battle into one of the most exciting in years.

While the 250 riders will take center stage Saturday, Minneapolis also serves as the season opener for the AMA 125 East Supercross Series. This year's 125 East is shaping up to be a wide-open affair. A recent Cycle News poll showed that fans predict that Australian Michael Byrne will be the man to beat. Byrne, who rides for Factory Connection Honda, used the West Coast rounds as warm-up for his quest for the 125 East title and he did much better than expected, leading major portions of races and taking two top-five finishes. Byrne will attempt to become Honda's first 125 East champion in 10 years. Doug Henry was the last Honda rider to win the title back in 1993.

The 125 East field will be loaded with talent. In addition to Byrne, SoBe Suzuki's Branden Jesseman, Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown and Yamaha of Troy's Brock Sellards should all be serious contenders for the 2003 title. In a last-minute development, KTM may also field former World Motocross champ Grant Langston in the series as well. Langston got off to a poor start of the AMA Supercross season having to deal with nagging injuries. If Langston races in the 125 East series he will certainly be a top runner.

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.

<pre> AMA SUPERCROSS SERIES SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 14, 2003 1:00 pm - 1:10 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 1:13 pm - 1:23 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 1:26 pm - 1:41 pm - 250 Factory Riders Practice 1:44 pm - 1:59 pm - 125 Factory Riders Practice 2:02 pm - 2:12 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 2:15 pm - 2:25 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 2:28 pm - 2:38 pm - Break 2:40 pm - 2:50 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 2:53 pm - 3:03 pm - 250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B 3:06 pm - 3:21 pm - 250 Factory Riders Practice 3:25 pm - 3:40 pm - 125 Factory Riders Practice 3:43 pm - 3:53 pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A 3:56 pm - 4:06pm - 125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B * if less than 40 Riders, Group A & B will be combined

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 15 , 2003 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm - 125 Practice 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm - 250 Practice 2:15 pm - 2:45 pm - Track Maintenance 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - KTM Practice 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm - 125 Practice 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm - 250 Practice 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Qualifying Heats 5:30 pm - 5:45 pm - KTM Practice 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm - Track Maintenance 7:00 pm - 7:20 pm - Opening Ceremonies 7:30 pm - 7:40 pm - 125 Heat #1 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main) 7:40 pm - 7:50 pm - 125 Heat #2 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main) 7:50 pm - 8:00 pm - 250 Heat #1 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 1) 8:00 pm - 8:10 pm - 250 Heat #2 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 2) 8:10 pm - 8:25 pm - Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps - 15 riders 8:25 pm - 8:35 pm - Track Maintenance (10 minutes) 8:35 pm - 8:40 pm - 125 Last Chance Qualifier - 4 laps - 22 riders (1st - 4th to Main) 8:40 pm - 8:50 pm - 250 Semi #1 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ) 8:50 pm - 9:00 pm - 250 Semi #2 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ) 9:00 pm - 9:10 pm - Track Maintenance 9:10 pm - 9:20 pm - 250 Last Chance Qualifier - 6 laps - 22 riders 9:20 pm - 9:25 pm - 125 Rider's Parade Lap 9:25 pm - 9:45 pm - 125 Main Event - 15 laps - 22 riders 9:50 pm - 9:55 pm - 250 Rider's Parade Lap 9:55 pm - 10:15 pm - 250 Main Event - 20 laps- 20 riders

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Chad Reed , Branden Jesseman , Mike Brown , Doug Henry