Carmichael in Driver's Seat Coming into New Orleans Supercross PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After Ricky Carmichael suffered an opening round crash in Anaheim, Calif., in January, and David Vuillemin streaked off to his best-ever start in AMA EA Sports...
Carmichael in Driver's Seat Coming into New Orleans Supercross
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After Ricky Carmichael suffered an opening round crash in Anaheim, Calif., in January, and David Vuillemin streaked off to his best-ever start in AMA EA Sports Supercross, it looked as if it might be a season-long game of catch up for RC. But after Vuillemin sat out of last week's race in Daytona Beach, Fla., the tables are turned and it's the Frenchman who has the formidable task of catching the on-fire defending champion. Going from a 20-point lead Vuillemin now finds himself with a five-point deficit. The big question is whether or not Vuillemin can mount a comeback with seven races remaining. The drama will unfold Saturday night, March 16, at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Vuillemin has probably never faced a more critical race in his career. After injuring his shoulder while riding for a magazine photo shoot two weeks ago he tried to ride at Daytona last week, but wasn't able to hold on to his factory Yamaha on the rugged circuit. Vuillemin said that he hoped to return this week in New Orleans. In order to have a realistic chance at wresting the title away from Carmichael, Vuillemin is going to have to hope he can ride with the injury and score enough points to make a drive in the latter stages of the series.
For Carmichael, he seemed almost as disappointed at Vuillemin's predicament as did his rival. The 22-year-old Floridian, who rides for Honda, conveyed a real eagerness to have strong competition through the rest of the Supercross season.
"While I'm glad that I'm back in the points lead, it's not the way I would have liked to do it," Carmichael said. "You always want to win against the best and David's had a really strong year. I hope he can come back in New Orleans and we can keep our battle going to the final race in Vegas."
With Carmichael and Vuillemin (both former winners at New Orleans) clearly the class of the field, an interesting three-rider battle has developed for third place in the championship between Kawasaki teammates Ezra Lusk, Stephane Roncada and Bud Light Yamaha' Jeremy McGrath. The trio are separated by only six points and are poised to jump into the championship battle should something happen to RC or Vuillemin.
Another exciting development in the series is the return of Yamaha's Tim Ferry. Ferry, from Largo, Fla., missed most of the season due to injury, but made a strong second-place showing at Daytona last week and could be a factor at the Superdome.
The 125 East championship has been all Chad Reed. The Aussie who rides for Boost Mobile Yamaha is a perfect four-for-four wins coming into the New Orleans round. Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown is still within shooting distance of Reed after a finishing as runner-up in three of the four rounds leading up to Saturday's race.
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for professional motorcycle sport in the United States. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
SATURDAY MARCH 16, 2002
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Rider registration and Tech Inspection at the Venue
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Bonus Awards Participant/Mechanic registration at the Venue
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Rider Track Walk
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Junior Supercross Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 noon - 12:15 p.m. - Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Junior Supercross Practice
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. - 125cc Practice
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. - 250cc Practice
2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - Track Maintenance
2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - 125cc Practice
3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. - 250cc Practice
3:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Qualifying Heats
5:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - Junior Supercross Practice
5:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. - Track Maintenance
7:00 p.m. - 7:20 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies
7:30 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. - 125cc Heat #1 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
7:40 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. - 125cc Heat #2 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
7:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - 250cc Heat #1 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 1)
8:00 p.m. - 8:10 p.m. - 250cc Heat #2 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main) (5th - 20th to Semi 2)
8:10 p.m. - 8:25 p.m. - Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps - 15 riders
8:25 p.m. - 8:35 p.m. - Track Maintenance (10 minutes)
8:35 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. - 125cc Last Chance Qualifier - 4 laps - 22 riders (1st - 4th to Main)
8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. - 250cc Semi #1 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ)
8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - 250cc Semi #2 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main) (6th - 16th to LCQ)
9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. - Track Maintenance/ EA Sports Challenge Main
9:10 p.m. - 9:20 p.m. - 250cc Last Chance Qualifier - 6 laps - 22 riders- (1st & 2nd to main)
9:20 p.m. - 9:25 p.m. - 125cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:25 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. - 125cc Main Event - 15 laps - 22 riders
9:50 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. - 250cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:55 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. - 250cc Main Event - 20 laps- 20 riders