AMA

SUPERCROSS: Indianapolis press day notes

Art Eckman, Media Prof. RCA Dome * In the last six years there has been five different winners in the 250 class at Indy. ('02 David Vuillemin, '01 Ricky Carmichael, '00 Jeremy McGrath, '99 Ezra Lusk, '98 Jeremy McGrath, '97 Jeff Emig.) * ...

Art Eckman, Media Prof.
RCA Dome

*  In the last six years there has been five different winners in the 250
class at Indy. ('02 David Vuillemin,  '01 Ricky Carmichael, '00 Jeremy
McGrath,  '99 Ezra Lusk, '98 Jeremy McGrath, '97 Jeff Emig.)

* The leading winner at the RCA Dome is Jeremy McGrath (6 wins). He was the only rider to win more than one race in Indianapolis. Four of Jeremy's six wins were in consecutive seasons from 1993 to 1996.

* The first winner at the RCA Dome was Jeff Stanton on a Honda in 1992. The race was a significant part of Stanton staging one of the greatest comebacks in the sport's history. Damon Bradshaw and Stanton traded the lead almost every lap until Bradshaw, on lap 12, crashed trying to negotiate a lapped rider. Bradshaw finished 19th (2 points) while Stanton won only his second of three wins that year earning 25 points. Despite Damon breaking the record for wins in a season with nine and even winning the Silver Bullet $25,000 award for the fastest qualifying times over the entire season he would lose the championship to Stanton in the last race of the year at the LA Coliseum. Indianapolis was the crack in Bradshaw's armor.

* Ricky Carmichael is the only rider to win both a 125 and 250 supercross in Indianapolis.

* No rider has won their first 250 race at the RCA Dome.

125s

* Like the 250s, several different riders have won in Indianapolis -- ten different riders in 11 years.

* The first 125 winner at Indianapolis was Jimmy Button in '92. That was the second win of the season for Jimmy who was the only rider besides Brian Swink and Jeremy McGrath to win a 125 race that year.

* Michael Pichon is the only rider to win more than one race in the 125 division at Indy. ('95 & '96)

* Michael Brandes is the only 125 rider to win his first (and only) 125 supercross in Indianapolis ('00)

* In 1998 Ricky Carmichael won the 125 east season opener here in Indy. He went on to be the only rider to sweep (nine for nine) an entire 125 supercross season that year.

* In 1997 Ricky Carmichael made his pro supercross debut in Indianapolis. He got an atrocious start (13th) going down on the first lap. He crashed with Sellards on lap eight going from seventh to 16th and would finish in 19th. RC rebounded the very next week with his first supercross win. It was at Atlanta -- one of three wins, finishing his supercross premier season third in the standings.

* In 2000 Indy was Travis Pastrana's supercross debut. He crashed in qualifying and once again on the parade lap trying a trick. Travis would go down twice in the main (Sellards again) finishing fourth. Like Carmichael, he would finish his premier season with three wins and third in the standings.

Ricky Carmichael:

* Has won two in a row and five of the last six, pulling 17 points out in front of Chad Reed.

*  Ricky leads the field in wins (5) podiums (7) qualifying heat wins (6)
laps led  (83 of the 160 run) NO HOLE SHOTS yet.

* The only races Ricky has lost this season he's gone down but he is the only rider to finish in the top five in every race. His worst finish was a fourth at Phoenix.

* Ricky won the 250 race here in '01 leading all 20 laps, winning by 12.2 seconds over Jeremy McGrath.

* Last year wasn't Ricky's most pleasant experience in Indy getting booed for an incident on lap 11 with an aggressive Travis Pastrana. Then David Vuillemin played it like a maestro, winning on a last lap pass.

* RC is closing in on his most sought after record -- combined MX and SX career wins. His win last week gave him 85. That put him four wins away from tying Jeremy McGrath's record of 89.

* Indianapolis will be Ricky's 62nd 250 supercross consecutive start.

* If he wins Indy: It's his sixth win of the season, 32nd of his career, and 86th combined MX/SX career win.

Mike LaRocco

* Mike is riding with an extremely painful shoulder. It affects him the most in the whoops and on impact from the jumps.

* Last week at Atlanta was his first race back after missing two races. He finished a courageous eighth.

*  From South Bend, Indiana, this is Mike's home track.  He has never won
here but has raced in every supercross ever staged in the RCA Dome.  In
the 11 races he has five podiums.  His best finish here was a second
place in '97 and a second in 2000.  Last year he came in fifth.

* This will be the " Iron man" of Supercross' 191st start on a 250.

* If he wins at Indy: It will be, his first in front of family, friends and fellow Indiana natives, his 10th 250 supercross win, and his first win since last year at Anaheim 1/19/02.

* His previous best this year has been a second at Anaheim II.

Larry Ward:

* Staged the most climatic Last Chance Qualifier in recent history last week in Atlanta. The drama started at the gate waiting for his bike to arrive. His mechanic, Alan Brown, had to change a blown engine from the last semi final. He took it off the bike before it had cooled down while Ward was making the PA and Web cast interviews at the gate last as long as he could. Brown got everything back together OK as Larry got the hole shot and made the main, winning the LCQ. His magic lasted a little while longer as he led the first two laps of the main event. Brown was awarded the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute Hustlers award for his fast and effective actions.

* Ward's best finish this season was a ninth at Minneapolis but making all but one main event this year, Larry has pulled down more than $11,000 in Clear Channel privateer bonus money.

* His best ever finish in the RCA Dome was a second in '98. This is his first race in Indy in the last three years.

* Larry has three career 250 supercross victories. (Seattle twice & Tampa)

Ezra Lusk:

*  A crash on lap four ruined the Georgia native's homecoming last
week in Atlanta.  He finished in 19th, his worst of the season.

* Ezra's had a season of highs and lows -- everything from a near perfect 20 laps to crashing off the gate.

* He has two podiums this year. A win at Phoenix (his 12th career sx win) and a second place at Minneapolis two weeks ago.

* His win this year at Phoenix was his first since April of '99 right here at Indianapolis. Back then he led all but the first lap not only taking home the first place prize money but pocketing $25,000 for a special triple crown bonus. It was the last of five wins and a second place finish that year to

Jeremy McGrath.

* If he wins Indy: Ezra will become only the second multiple winner here. It would be the fourth time in his career he has won at least two races in a season. It would be his 13th career 250 SX win nudging David Bailey out of the top ten on the all time win list.

David Vuillemin

* David won here last year on a brilliant last lap move on RC for a mere three-second advantage at the flag. It was his last 250 supercross win. (Over a year ago)

*  He has been very consistent over the last five races making the podium
in four.  His best finish was a second place at San Diego.

* David is third in points (-38) and third in podiums (4)

* If he wins Indy: It will be his first win of the year. He's only the second rider to have more than one win at Indianapolis. It's the third win for Team Yamaha, and David's eighth career 250 SX win tying him with Ron Lechien and Jimmy Ellis for 14th on the all time win list.

Tim Ferry:

* A bad start last week (13th) made for a rough evening. With two laps to go he moved into fifth and finished there

* Tim has finished in the top five in all but two races this year. He has three podiums -- all third place finishes. (Anaheim I, Phoenix, & Minneapolis)

* His big problem has been averaging mid pack starts. The one time he left his four stroke for the two stroke at Anaheim III he crashed for his only bad race of the season (16th)

* If he wins Indy: He wins his first 250 SX. It is the first time the fans here in Indy have seen a rider win his first ever 250 supercross. The last first time winner was Nathan Ramsey at Pontiac last season. (4/13/02) Ramsey's win was Honda's first four-stroke victory. It would be Yamaha's first four-stroke win since the pioneering effort by Doug Henry at Las Vegas in '98.

Chad Reed:

* Chad is coming off a hard fought second place finish in Atlanta. He had to turn some blistering laps late in the race after another so-so sixth place start. It took him almost half the race to get into second by then RC was way out there. Chad was able to cut the lead to 6.2 seconds at the checkers.

* Chad is second to RC in points (-17), in wins (2) in podiums (6) in heat wins (5) and in laps led with 53. (160 laps ridden so far this year)

* Chad's rookie 250 season has been a big success. He has been able to consistently challenge the defending champion with matching speeds (many times faster marks) and similar tenacity to win. But his lack of experience is starting to show through in the last couple of races.

* Reed won here last year in the 125 east race on way to the championship. It was the season opener and Chad became the first Australian to win an American supercross. It was the first of six consecutive wins.

* If he wins at Indy: He once again halts Ricky's attempt to put together a long win streak. The kind that swept RC to the championship over the last two years. He becomes the only rider other than Ricky to win a 125 and 250 at Indy.

Ernesto Fonseca:

* Ernesto finally got a decent start last week in Atlanta. And his third place position at the end of the opening lap helped him hold onto his best finish of the year, a fourth. In the last five races before Atlanta his average start was an 11.2/

* He has crashed in all but three races this season. He is battered but hasn't lost his desire.

* He is the only rider to ever win both the 125 east and west championships during his career.

Nick Wey:

* Has put together a string of good races to show recovery from the failure to qualify in the opening round and a 19th place finish in round two. He has moved into sixth place in the standings.

* Fifth place finishes in San Diego and Minneapolis were steady rides. Last week's sixth place finish was the result of battling back from a 14th place start.

Keith R. Johnson:

* Is one of the leading candidates for the season's top privateer prize, a Nissan Frontier. He along with Larry Ward, Ryan Clark and Damon Huffman are battling it out for the honors. Nissan's "Riding to a New Frontier Program" is giving away the truck to the top finishing 250 privateer.

Sean Hamblin:

*  Was the best of five 125 west riders trying their hand at the 250
class.  He made it directly to the main out of the qualifier with a
fourth place.  Then he ran to a steady 7th place finish in the main.

* One fourth of the rides at the starting gate last week were full time 125 West riders.

125's - It's the best points race in supercross this year.

* Minneapolis: After two races, there are three riders within 11 points of the lead in the 125 east. Branden Jesseman won the opener by 7.2 seconds leading every lap. It was a dominating night for his second career win while also winning his qualifying heat.

* Brock Sellards ran a steady second. Michael Byrne, who many felt was the favorite going into the season got a bad start (13th) and after going down recovered from last to third in 15 laps.

* Atlanta: After Kelly Smith got his second straight hole shot of the season, it was Brock Sellards taking over and leading every lap for his third career 125 win. Michael Brown, who took a fourth in the opener, stepped it up with his first heat win then ran to a hard fought second place. Branden Jesseman struggled crashing in qualifying then after an 8th place start came back to make the podium with a third place finish. Byrne once again go buried at the start (17th). It took everything he had to get back to fifth.

*  Standings:   (1) Sellards  + 2pts,  (2) Jesseman  - 2pts,  (3)
Brown  -7pts, (4)  Byrne  -11pts )

Mike Brown:

* Is strong and aggressive but needs better than a fifth or sixth place start to contend for the top step.

* Mike took a second here last year, after leading 13 laps. He led the first two laps in 2001 finishing third.

*  If wins Indy:  his fourth 125 sx win ( '94 Pontiac,  '95 Charlotte &
Cleveland)  His last win was 5/20/95.

Brock Sellards:

* Was the last pick by Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy but got their first win last week in Atlanta. Leads the East by two points after leading all 15 laps at the Georgia Dome.

* Ran in the 125 west last year, winning at Anaheim III. Got the holeshot and led the entire race.

* In his last race here Brock finished in 2nd place ('01)

* If he wins Indy: it will be his fourth 125 sx win ('99 Pontiac, '02 Anaheim III, '03 Atlanta)

Branden Jesseman:

* Indianapolis has not been the kindest of venues for Branden during his learning years. He was a victim of a bad start here in last year's 125 east season's opener. He was 20th after the first lap and had a tough climb to 11th at the checkers. Two seasons ago he got a 21st place start finishing in 18th.

* The 125 east opener in Minneapolis he won his second career victory leading all 15 laps.

* Branden broke Chad Reed's six race win streak, at Pontiac last year ruining Reed's chances at a perfect season.

* That win last year was only the fifth time in supercross history that riders in both 125 and 250 classes won their first race on the same day. (Ramsey won the 250)

* If wins at Indy: 3rd career win. He has won twice in one year for the first time. And, he has become Sobe Suzuki's savior - their second win of the season, both by Jesseman.

Michael Byrne:

* It was here in Indianapolis last year where Michael ejected off his bike in full flight off a triple. Upon landing he broke an ankle, some ribs and injured his collarbone while collapsing a lung. It's been a long rehab.

* He finished 250s out west with two fourth place finishes putting him sixth in the standings when he left to ride the 125 east.

* If he wins Indy: It's his first supercross victory becoming the second Aussie in two seasons to win an American SX.

Ivan Tedesco:

* Has crashed in the first two 125 east rounds.

* Ran in the 125 West last year scoring two podiums with third places in San Diego and Anaheim II.

* Ivan's best finish in 125s was a second at Salt Lake City in 2001.

Steve Boniface:

* Got a good start (2nd) last week in Atlanta but faded to seventh.

* If wins: first American supercross win. Fourth 125 KTM victory (Langston, Sellards, and Pingree)

Kelly Smith:

* Fastest starter in the East. Got the holeshot in last year's race here in Indianapolis, and has won the holeshot in both races so far this year. Last season Kelly had five holeshots in seven 125 East races.

*  Despite quick getaways his best finish was a second place at St. Louis
in 2001.  Kelly ended up last season averaging an 11th place finish

Grant Langston:

* Won his heat race here last year but DNF'd the main with a broken clutch -- unable to get the bike into gear he placed last. (22nd)

* Didn't race last week trying to heal up. Cast a triple in practice at Minneapolis doing a job on his jaw, back, knee, and wrists.

* Langston won KTM's and his first 125 supercross in 2001 at Houston.

Shane Lusk:

*  Made his first professional supercross main event last week in
Atlanta.  Fourth in the LCQ -- 14th in the main event.

* He is Ezra's younger brother.

-cce-

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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Travis Pastrana , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Ernesto Fonseca , Chad Reed , Branden Jesseman , Mike Brown , Kelly Smith , Jeff Emig , Mike LaRocco