New Orleans: Event report

Carmichael wins fourth straight, extends points lead Reed remains perfect in 125 East racing NEW ORLEANS -- Honda's Ricky Carmichael avoided downed riders and pulled away to victory in the Superdome to extend his winning streak to four straight...

Carmichael wins fourth straight, extends points lead
Reed remains perfect in 125 East racing

NEW ORLEANS -- Honda's Ricky Carmichael avoided downed riders and pulled away to victory in the Superdome to extend his winning streak to four straight and expand his points lead over Yamaha's David Vuillemin. Kawasaki's Stephane Roncada came through to finish second on his birthday. It matched his best finish of the season. Vuillemin courageously rode in New Orleans despite a painful shoulder injury and turned in an excellent third-place finish keeping himself in the points chase. Jeremy McGrath was fourth, followed by Ezra Lusk. In 125 East Chad Reed had his toughest challenge of the season, but still managed to stay perfect on the season, winning his fifth straight.

Tim Ferry looked strong in his return to racing last week in Daytona, but no one expected the Yamaha rider to break out of the gate with such a strong start in the Big Easy. Ferry took the Power Aid holeshot on the powerful YZ426F. Nathan Ramsey was second early on riding the Honda CRF450 making it a four-stroke one-two in the early going. By the second lap it was Carmichael moving up to second just 2.4-seconds behind Ferry.

Ferry held the lead until he washed out the front end of his bike going into turn five on the fifth lap. Carmichael was still in the air and headed right for Ferry coming off a jump.

"That scared me to death," Carmichael said. "I caught up to him and I almost ran right over him, but I was able to get on the brakes quick enough and miss him."

Avoiding trouble Carmichael took the lead with Vuillemin running second a few seconds back, and then came Roncada and McGrath.

Once in the lead RC monitored his margin on Vuillemin via pit signals and kept it around four seconds. Vuillemin was wooing the crowd with his performance. Riding in pain he ran steady and made only one bobble about halfway through the race, which cost him second. Roncada moved up to take the position, but could not close the gap on Carmichael.

In the closing laps it was Carmichael holding about a five-second margin on Roncada, who in turn pulled away from Vuillemin. McGrath closed to within four seconds of Vuillemin, but didn't seem too eager to try to pass his fellow Yamaha rider. Perhaps to Yamaha team strategy came into play. Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk rounded out the top five. The only pass in the top ten in the late going was Ramsey getting by Heath Voss for sixth.

Both Carmichael and Vuillemin did what they needed to do in New Orleans -- Carmichael taking yet another victory and Vuillemin minimizing the damage by bravely riding to third. After the finish the Yamaha crew had to help Vuillemin off the bike. He was wincing in obvious pain.

"Tonight the start was everything," explained Carmichael. "I got a terrible start in my heat race and I needed to do something in the main event. My hats off to David for not even racing last weekend and then finishing up here on the box. He's making it tough on me. I'm ready to go down to the last race. I'm going to try to put myself up here as much as I can for the rest of the year."

In 125 East action Reed experienced his toughest battle to date, but still came through to win his fifth straight to stay perfect on the season.

Kelly Smith got the $1000 Power Aid holeshot award, but found himself going too fast into turn one and went down. Reed then took over the lead and it appeared he would breeze to yet another easy win. But Langston was on the move. He passed Larry Ward and then Steve Boniface to take over second by lap four. On the next lap Langston put his KTM in the lead by passing Reed coming out of turn one. It was one of the few times Reed had been passed all season.

Reed didn't panic and seemed to settle in and let Langston set the pace. It was a fast one since the two leaders pulled clear of the rest of the field. Mid-race saw Boniface and Ward in a good scrap for third.

In the closing laps Langston did all he could to hold off Reed, taking inside lines to force Reed to take the long way around the corners. Try as he might, Langston couldn't hold off the Yamaha of Troy YZF250-mounted Reed. On lap 14 Langston made just a slight bobble exiting the whoops heading into turn three and Reed took back first place. On the last lap Reed stretched it out to win by a margin of 3.8 seconds over Langston. Returning veteran Ward came through to take third. It was his first podium of the year.

"For some reason tonight I didn't feel that fast," said Reed, who turned 20 the day before the race. "I felt a little off this week, but I knew that coming into the race. To win the race when I didn't feel all that comfortable is really good. I had a really good line in the whoops and he (Langston) was struggling pretty much every lap, so I knew I just had to be close to make the pass."

Race Notes

Tortelli misses New Orleans
Just when it looked as if Honda's Sebastien Tortelli's had turned the corner after coming back from injury, he fell in practice at New Orleans and was forced to miss the race. Tortelli reportedly hurt his back after falling in a whoops section.

No one wants to win the 250 LCQ
Kyle Lewis and Damon Huffman have to be kicking themselves after both crashed while leading the 250 Last Chance Qualifier and missing the main. Lewis led early before Huffman came up to challenge. The two came together when Huffman went for the lead resulting in Lewis ending up on the ground. Less than a lap later Huffman crashed out of the lead. The benefactors were Jason Thomas and Keith Johnson who finished one-two and made the final as a result of Lewis' and Huffman's misfortune.

RC moves from ninth to fourth in all-time AMA Supercross wins this year
In the course of this year's AMA/EA Sports Supercross season Ricky Carmichael has moved from ninth to fourth on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list. His victory in New Orleans marked his sixth of the season and 21st of his career. RC would have to win out the rest of the season to catch Bob Hannah's third-place 27-career SX win mark.


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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Jason Thom , Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Sebastien Tortelli , Chad Reed , Damon Huffman , Heath Voss , Stephane Roncada , Kelly Smith