SUPERCROSS: Phoenix preview

Facts & Statistics Take Ten: This will be the tenth supercross for the Phoenix/Tempe area. Rick Johnson won the first race staged in Tempe in 1986. The first race in Phoenix was in 1991. Jean-Michael Bayle the winner. The first race in Bank One...

Facts & Statistics

Take Ten: This will be the tenth supercross for the Phoenix/Tempe area. Rick Johnson won the first race staged in Tempe in 1986. The first race in Phoenix was in 1991. Jean-Michael Bayle the winner. The first race in Bank One Ball Park was in 1999 with Jeremy McGrath taking the win.

Diversity: In the 9 races staged in the Phoenix area there have been 8 different winners. Ricky Carmichael with back-to-back wins over the last two years is the only multiple winner. In the 125's James Stewart became the 9th different winner in the 9 Phoenix area races. (Winners since 1994: Surratt, Schmidt, Emig, Windham, Vuillemin, Ramsey, Lytle, Fonseca, and Stewart.)

250cc Class Racing:

Chad Reed: This is Chad's first look at Bank One Ballpark. He ran a 250cc for the first three races of the season leaving just before the Phoenix round to concentrate on his bid for the 125cc Eastern Regional championship. Last weeks first AMA series 250cc win for Chad came in his 5th 250 race. Ricky Carmichael's first 250 win came after 20 tries. Chad is the first rookie since Damon Bradshaw to win his first 250 race and the only 125 East champion other than Bradshaw to win his first 250 race the following year. His fastest lap last week was better than a second faster than Ricky's best. After cruising with a huge lead he stepped it up clipping off faster laps than Ricky in three of the last four laps.

Ricky Carmichael: Ricky's second place last weekend gives him 19 more points than he had after last years last place in the opener. It was here in Phoenix (then round four) that he began his turnaround with his first win of the season. RC is the only rider in Phoenix/Tempe supercross races to win more than one race with back-to-back wins in the last two years. Last weeks ride deserved a standing ovation. After running off the track & going down after clipping the rear wheel of Vuillemin, Ricky masterfully came from last place to second.

Tim Ferry: Took third place honors in Anaheim. Tim failed to qualify for last years Phoenix race. He suffered a bruised lung when hitting his chest against the handlebars in the semis. The injury put him out of action for the next four races.

Mike LaRocco: Made an unaccustomed mistake on lap five that put him down last week causing a five-bike pile up. Pastrana's bike hit him. Michael Byrne, Grant Langston, and Ivan Tedesco were also involved. Mike broke Carmichael's string of two wins at the US Open this past off-season winning the $100,000 first place prize.

David Vuillemin: After a 17th place start at Anaheim he came back to gain a fourth place. He is only one of two riders to win here in the 250's and 125's (Jeff Emig - the other) In the competition for the FIM World supercross title he still holds the lead on Chad Reed.

Ezra Lusk: Lusk won the race in Tempe back in 1998. He had to go all the way to the LCQ last week to make the main. He took 8th in the main. Travis Pastrana: Pastrana tweaked his injured knee again in the qualifying heat mishap with Carmichael. The 5 bikes "yard sale" in the main didn't help much. Travis' last podium was the second place he registered here in Phoenix last year.

Mike Brown: Brown won the $1,500 hole shot award at Anaheim.

Ivan Tedesco: Competed here in the 125 West last year. Showed just how tough he is. During practice he banged the handlebars requiring stitches to sew up his chin. He went out and won his qualifying heat then after a 17th place start charged all the way back to 6th in 15 laps. Ivan is running a 250 here this year until the 125 East begins at Minneapolis, February 15th.

125cc Class Racing:

Travis Preston: last week became the first rider since Ezra Lusk in 93' & 94' to win back to back 125 season openers. Last weeks win was his third career 125 victory, but was by far his most dominate leading all 15 laps. Last year in Phoenix he took a second place. With Carmichael's historical comeback in the 250's we tend to overlook Preston's feat. That second place in Phoenix put him 27 points behind Stewart in the title chase. Consistent performances (one win, three seconds & a fifth) allowed him to take advantage of the breaks earning him the championship in the divisions' final race.

James Stewart: last week got boxed out with a slow start but turned the fans inside out with his charge from 18th up to second. Last year here in Phoenix he dominated the race sliding out and still won. The second of his four career 125 wins that day gave him his biggest points lead (25) of the season, before the bottom dropped out.

Matt Walker: Walker was one of three first time 125 winners in last years 125 W campaign, but before that Houston win he had two races he failed to qualify. One was here in Phoenix.

Andrew Short: If a vote was taken today on the most improved supercross rider the winner might be Andrew Short. Last year's Phoenix race was one of three races for which he failed to qualify. Perhaps an 8th place finish on a 250cc in Arnhem, Holland, gave him the confidence he needed to successfully survive an up and down 125cc season opener last week. Short had to go through the Last Chance Qualifier to make the main event. He didn't let getting the final choice of gate bother him. He came back to claim his first supercross podium finish with a third place.

Christopher Gosselaar: Gosselaar opened the season with a strong fourth place race at Anaheim. In Phoenix last year he moved up from 8th, cutting through some outstanding riders, for a fourth place finish. More importantly, Chris showed a maturity that led to four podiums and an injury free season that saw him finish fourth in the points.


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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Travis Pastrana , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Chad Reed , Mike Brown , James Stewart , Jeff Emig , Mike LaRocco , Andrew Short