SUPERCROSS: Art Eckman Minneapolis press day notes

Art Eckman, Media Prof. Minneapolis: * When Jeremy McGrath takes his good-bye parade lap at the Metrodome it will be a special moment for both the "King of Supercross" and the Minneapolis fans. This love affair started with the first ...

Art Eckman, Media Prof.

* When Jeremy McGrath takes his good-bye parade lap at the Metrodome it will be a special moment for both the "King of Supercross" and the Minneapolis fans. This love affair started with the first supercross staged here in 1994 and for six consecutive years the Minneapolis fans only knew of one winner -- Jeremy McGrath.

* "MC" dominated the first three on a Honda. It wasn't easy in '94 Jeremy taking the lead for good on lap 16, but in '95 he lapped every rider up to fifth place. '96 was his near perfect year. The Minneapolis round was his second of 13 straight wins. In '97 60,049 fans showed up wondering if there was any way he could keep the streak alive. He had switched to Suzuki only weeks before the season's opener and hadn't won a race in seven tries. The fans rocked the Metrodome, as he would capture his first of only two wins that season. (Ironically his second win came in St. Louis his only loss the year before) But the Metrodome was HIS house...His last two wins came on a Yamaha in '98 & '99.

* David Vuillemin broke Jeremy's win string here in 2000 leading every lap. It was his second win of the million-dollar Van's triple crown that year.

* Ricky Carmichael is on a mini roll here winning the last two races.

Injury list going into Minneapolis:
* Mike LaRocco (shoulder) has missed one race
* Sebastien Tortelli (knee) has missed one race
* Nathan Ramsey (broken leg) has missed six races
* Joaquim Rodrigues (scapula) out five races (moved to 125 East)
* Grant Langston (wrist/knee) out two races (moved to 125 East)
* Steve Boniface (ankle) out for four races (moved to 125 East)
* Travis Pastrana (shoulder) has missed four races
* Steve Lamson (leg) has missed all six races - 125W
* Kevin W Johnson (clavicle) missed last four races - 125W
* Christopher Gosselaar (shoulder) missed one race - 125W
* David Pingree (hand or wrist) DNF'd last race - 125W
* Joshua Woods (neck) missed last race - 125W
* Craig Anderson (jaw/wrist) missed last race - 125W

125s Minneapolis * The winner of the opening round of the 125 East has gone on to win the East title 15 times in 18 seasons. Chad Reed set the record for number of consecutive wins to start a 125 season last year with six. (Minneapolis was round two.)

* Damon Huffman and Kevin Windham each won two 125 races here on way to multiple 125 West championships. Windham's win in '96 was his very first supercross win. It was the first of six victories in eight races that year. He missed San Diego with a cracked collarbone but still won the title.

* The last three seasons the Minneapolis 125 winner has gone on to win the championship. Chad Reed '02, Travis Pastrana '01, and Shae Bentley '00.

* Chad Reed was not the first Australian to race a full 125 season in the states. In 1996 the Australian national champion Ken Ashkenazi with a borrowed bike from Robbie Reynard, a pickup truck, $120 in his pocket, and a girl friend for a mechanic opened the 125 West season here in the Metrodome. He became the first Australian to land on the podium with a second place in San Diego. He matched that finish in the season finale in Denver finishing the season in third place in the standings.

Ricky Carmichael: * Four point lead on Reed for the championship. Ricky has never lost a points lead after gaining one outright in the 250s.

* Leads with three wins on the season. Second to Reed in laps led and the two are tied for number of podiums (five). RC has four qualifying heat wins to Reed's three.

* San Diego (last week) was the third consecutive time that RC, Reed, & Vuillemin were on the podium. That hasn't happened since McGrath, RC and Vuillemin last turned the trick three straight times during the 2000 season.

* RC has been in the top five, 37 of the last 38 starts. He's the only rider this season to finish in the top five in all six races.

* Minneapolis will be his 60th consecutive start

* If he wins: fourth of the season/ career victory #30...Second on the all time 250 win list. Larry Ward:

* Had his best finish of the season last week -- an 11th.

* Is scooping up clear channel's privateer bonus money (check latest list)

* Ran in the 125 East last year finishing fifth here at Minneapolis.

* Has three career supercross wins. The last win -- Seattle '99 Ezra Lusk:

* A season of highs and lows. Everything from having to go to the LCQ to qualify to winning his 12th career victory-- from crashes out of the gate to flawless pace setting rides for 20 laps.

* Last week experienced his worst finish on the season. (10th)

* His win at Phoenix was the 12th victory of his 250 career. It was his first in almost four years.

* Hasn't challenged for the lead since he won his second consecutive qualifying heat battle against Chad Reed at Anaheim II.

* If he wins: It would be his 13th career win nudging David Bailey out of the top ten on the all time win list. David Vuillemin:

* Is coming off three consecutive podiums. His second place last week helped tighten up the points race staying between Reed and Carmichael enabling Reed to cut five points off RC's lead.

* Got his first outstanding start of the season last week after averaging mid pack starts in the first five races. Led his first laps of the season (2)

* Won here in 2000 breaking Jeremy McGrath's string of six wins in six races in the Metrodome.

* If he wins: It would be his first win in over a year ( 2/9/02 at Indy) It would be his eighth career win tying him with Ron Lechien and Jimmy Ellis for 14th on the all time list.

Tim Ferry: * Bounced back with a sixth place finish after a miserable 16th at Anaheim III. Began the season with two third place finishes, a fifth and a fourth, -- his best 250 start ever.

* Decided last week to get back on a four stroke after trying a two stroke for one race.

* If wins here: His first 250 supercross win. Would become the first rider since Nathan Ramsey (4/13/02) at Pontiac to gain his first SX win. Nathan did it the hard way becoming only the second rider to win a main event after having to go through the LCQ to qualify. It was also Honda's first four-stroke victory. A win from Tim would give Yamaha their first four stroke win in SX since Doug Henry's in Las Vegas in 1998. (the very first for a four stroke)

Stephan Roncada: * won the 125 race here in 1998 passing the eventual champion John Dowd.

* This former 125 East champion (00') is looking for his first 250 win.

* A win tonight and he would be the only rider to win a 125 and 250 here. Chad Reed:

* Coming off his second win of the year halting Carmichael's two race win streak. The win tightened the points race. Chad trails Ricky by four points.

* Chad leads RC in laps led (53 to 27) & has one hole shot. Ricky doesn't have an official hole shot yet on the season.

* If he wins: He would become the only rider to win both a 125 and 250 race at the Metrodome. Last year's 125 win was the second in a string of a record breaking six wins to start a 125 season.

Nick Wey & Heath Voss: * These teammates on the Mach 1 Motorsports team always seem to be in and around each other on the race track. Only five points separates them in the standings (Voss 10th - Wey 11th) Each rider failed to qualify for one race.

* Wey is coming off his best finish of the season (5th) Michael Byrne:

* Switches to the talent packed 125 East after establishing himself in the first six 250 races.

* He has been getting terrific starts lately. After getting the hole shot at Anaheim III he held the lead for eight laps.

* Michael is coming off two strong fourth place finishes and leaves the 250 scene sixth in points.

* After competing in the 250's last year before his 125 East series began he had one fourth place (the season's opener) and was 9th in the 250 standings when he departed. Unfortunately he ejected from the bike in mid air off a triple in his first 125 race at Indy breaking an ankle and a rib, injuring his shoulder and collapsing a lung. Need we say it finished his season?

David Pingree: * David's win here in '99 was secured on the very last lap.

* Is the only rider to win Minneapolis and not win a 125 championship.

* DNF'd at San Diego with an injury.

Mike Brown: * Started the season out west on a 250. Got banged up a bit sitting out the last three races to prepare for the 125 East season.

* Finished second in points to Chad Reed last year in the 125 East. He had three second place finishes and two fourth places before the sky fell in with a 14th and 10th in the last two regular season events.

* Has three career 125 SX wins. Pontiac '94, Charlotte '95 and Cleveland '95 Branden Jesseman:

* Had his troubles here last year in the 125 East. With a 21st place start he made his way up to 18th at the checkers. However steadily improved after that picking off his first ever supercross win at Pontiac ending Chad Reed's 125 win streak at six.

* Branden's first ever win in Pontiac last year was the fifth time in supercross history that riders in the 125 class and 250's gained their first wins in those classes on the same day. Nathan Ramsey gained his first 250 win that day. Other first time winners on the same day included: 1) Damon Bradshaw 250--Michael Craig 125 at Anaheim '90, 2) Damon Huffman 250 -- Ricky Carmichael 125 at Atlanta '97, 3) David Vuillemin 250 --Greg Schnell 125 at San Diego 2000, 4) Ricky Carmichael 250 -- Travis Pastrana 125 at Daytona 2000.

Shae Bentley: * His win here in 2000 was BIG in helping him to the 125 West championship. He was coming off his very first supercross win at Houston. He got a good start (his first hole shot) but was patient and steady taking the lead on the fourth lap. It gave him a ten point lead in the standings with one race to go.

* Shae's crash filled seventh in the final race of 2000 was just good enough to edge David Pingree by two points for the championship.

* Shae's career has been riddled with injuries. He's looking for a good comeback year.

* He would love to be the one who wins that bonus offer of a million dollars to any of the Escondido Cycle Center team riders who wins the championship.

Grant Langston: * Had a horrible start on the 250 season that was filled with crashes and injuries. He scored points in three races with a 18th, 20th and ninth.(@San Francisco.)

* Last year went into the season as a potential contender for the 125 East title but mistakes and bad luck from the outset spoiled things. In the opener he ran into the back of a bike, crashing and breaking a clutch for a DNF. He was thrown over the bars in Atlanta and crashed in St. Louis finishing the season on the injured list.

* The highlights of last years 125 East showing was a second place here in Minneapolis, a third in Daytona and a second in New Orleans. He won five out of six qualifying heats.

* Grant won KTM's first ever 125 supercross main event at Houston in '01. Ivan Tedesco:

*  Was in the top ten for the first four races opening the season in
the 250's.  His best finish was a ninth in Phoenix.

* Ran the 125 West last year finishing third in points. He had two podiums -- third places at San Diego and Anaheim II. His worst finish was an eighth recovering from a 14th place start.

Brock Sellards: * Started the season on 250's. His best day was at Anaheim III where he took second in his qualifier and seventh in the main event.

* Gained his first 125 supercross win at Pontiac in '99.

* If he wins: It would be his first win since Anaheim III last year. Riding in the 125 West region Brock got the hole shot and led all 15 laps.


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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Travis Pastrana , Kevin Windham , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Sebastien Tortelli , Chad Reed , Damon Huffman , Branden Jesseman , Joshua Woods , Heath Voss , Mike Brown , Mike LaRocco , Doug Henry