AMA

Southwick round four preview

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 3, 2003) -- Ricky Carmichael continues to rewrite the AMA record books almost on a weekly basis. After winning on May 25 in Mt. Morris, Pa., the 23-year-old Floridian became the all-time combined AMA Motocross/Supercross...

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 3, 2003) -- Ricky Carmichael continues to rewrite the AMA record books almost on a weekly basis. After winning on May 25 in Mt. Morris, Pa., the 23-year-old Floridian became the all-time combined AMA Motocross/Supercross wins leader with 90-career wins, eclipsing the old mark of 89 held by future Hall of Famer Jeremy McGrath.

Carmichael comes into round four of the 12-round AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship this Sunday, June 8, in Southwick, Mass., with an opportunity to match yet another record. With a victory on the Motocross 338 circuit Carmichael could match the record of four-straight AMA 250 Motocross wins at Southwick, set by Jeff Stanton from 1989 to 1992. Earlier this season Carmichael tied Stanton's record of four consecutive wins in the prestigious Daytona Supercross.

Like Daytona in Supercross, Southwick presents unique challenges to riders on the AMA Chevy Trucks Motocross tour -- it is the one track in the series that is a true sand track. The soft racing surface always becomes littered with large ruts and it saps the power of the bikes and the riders. It's perhaps the most physically demanding race in the series and favors not only the fittest riders, but also the ones who have sand racing experience. Growing up in Florida, provided Carmichael ample opportunities to race in sand (as Stanton did in Michigan). Carmichael has proven to be unstoppable at the rugged track in three years. Last year he swept both motos riding his No. 4 Honda en route to the only undefeated season ever turned in by a rider in the history of the series.

"Southwick is definitely one of the toughest tracks out there," said Carmichael, who also won two 125 Motocross races at the Massachusetts circuit in the late 1990s. "It's a true test of how hard you train. I know Jeff (Stanton) was probably the hardest working rider in his day and I'd like to think that I've been successful at Southwick because of my training as well."

Carmichael is aiming for his 16th-straight overall win in the 250 class. He's remained undefeated since starting his winning streak at the beginning of the 2002 season.

Other former winners expected to compete in the 250 class at Southwick are Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk, Mike LaRocco of Factory Connection Honda and local aces John Dowd and Doug Henry.

Lusk, the last rider to win before Carmichael began his Southwick streak, is still dealing with the recovery from a broken wrist suffered during the AMA Supercross season. The week off between races should give the Georgian some time to recuperate and he hopes to move up from his current ranking of sixth. LaRocco is in the same boat as Lusk, still trying to get to 100 percent after injury. The 1994 Southwick winner from Indiana is ranked fifth in the standings.

Dowd, at 37, is one of the oldest regulars in the series. The Chicopee, Mass., native won the 250 class at his home track in 1997 and won the 125 class in 1998. The local hero comes into this year's race ranked 12th in the standings. The other local favorite is Doug Henry. The 33-year-old Torrington, Conn., racer hasn't been a regular in the series since 1999, but No. 19 usually can be counted on to make his annual popular appearance at Southwick. He last won there in 1998.

Chad Reed is ranked second to Carmichael in the championship coming into this Sunday's race. Reed is looking to earn redemption at Southwick. It was at the track last June where Reed injured his shoulder racing in the 125 class, an injury that would bother him the rest of the season. Yamaha teammate Tim Ferry was runner-up to Carmichael at Southwick last year. He's third in the series and will be trying to hold off the surging Kevin Windham, who has moved to within a point of Ferry in the championship.

The 125 class will likely see a new winner this year. The only former 125 winner in the field will be former champ Steve Lamson, but "Lammy" is not expected to be among the frontrunners this year. He's ranked 25th coming into the race. Last year's winner Danny Smith is sidelined with a knee injury. He's part of the decimated Suzuki squad that has lost 250-class stars Travis Pastrana and Sebastien Tortelli, as well as Smith and Branden Jesseman in the 125 ranks, all to injury.

Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Mike Brown leads the 125 series by a single point over returning KTM ace Ryan Hughes. The Brown/Hughes battle is making the 125 class one of the most hotly contested in years. Brown's teammate Eric Sorby is third in the series and is having his best season to date.

The 125 class is still awaiting the return of defending champ James Stewart. Stewart broke his collarbone in the last AMA Supercross event of the season and is hoping to return to action possibly as soon as this weekend at Southwick. The 17-year-old Floridian is waiting for the go ahead from his doctor to get back on a bike.

For ticket information contact Motocross 338 at (413) 786-3221 or visit

www.moto338.com. The race will be taped and is scheduled to broadcast on ESPN2, Sunday, June 15 beginning at 2 p.m. EST.

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
MOTOCROSS 338, SOUTHWICK, MA
JUNE 8, 2003

<pre> SATURDAY JUNE 7, 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 JUNE 8, 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 4:10 PM 125 Victory Circle 4:20 PM Moto 2- 250 National- 30 mins, plus 2 laps 5:10 PM Victory Circle

-ama-

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Travis Pastrana , Kevin Windham , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Sebastien Tortelli , Chad Reed , Branden Jesseman , Mike Brown , Mike LaRocco , Doug Henry