SUPERCROSS: Salt Lake City press day notes

Art Eckman, Media Prof. Salt Lake City: * The premier of supercross at Rice-Eccles Stadium was April of 2001 when Ricky Carmichael, who had already clinched the 250 championship, staged an outstanding back and forth early battle with Jeremy ...

Art Eckman, Media Prof.
Salt Lake City:

* The premier of supercross at Rice-Eccles Stadium was April of 2001 when Ricky Carmichael, who had already clinched the 250 championship, staged an outstanding back and forth early battle with Jeremy McGrath. The dethroned McGrath got the hole shot and led for five laps before Tim Ferry took the point for three laps. Carmichael had slipped from second to fourth on the fifth lap. Tim had an outstanding day winning his first 250 qualifying heat and became only the sixth rider in the division to make the podium with his best 250 finish in second. (Eight riders have made the podium this season) Carmichael came back for his 13th win of the season leading the final 11 laps.

* The premier 125 race in Salt Lake City saw Ernesto Fonseca of Costa Rica become the first rider in the history of the sport to win both the 125 East and West SX championships. It was here in the final race of the 125 West season that he completed that task. He got the hole shot and took off leading all 15 laps for his fifth win in eight regular season division events. At that time Ivan Tedesco recorded his best supercross effort taking second, while Justin Buckelew who lived and died with the hole shot that season came in third.

* The only winner Salt Lake City fans have seen has been Ricky Carmichael for he came back last year in the wind and sometimes wet conditions to continue another season ending charge. This time he would lead 18 of the 20 laps, tie Jeremy McGrath's record for wins in consecutive seasons (24 - a record he would later break in Las Vegas) and be awarded the #1 plate on the podium.

* It was a double championship celebration last year. Travis Preston in the final 125 West race of the year took a second behind James Stewart. That was good enough to win the title becoming the first Honda rider to win a 125 West championship since McGrath in 1992. After three disastrous double digit finishes in a row, Stewart ran the most perfect supercross of his young career, leading all 15 laps.

* For the last four consecutive weeks the order on the podium has been exactly the same. Reed, Carmichael and Fonseca.

* For the first time ever only former 125 East champions have won all the 250 races this year.

* Ricky Carmichael could win his third consecutive supercross championship if Chad Reed has a disastrous evening. A Carmichael win and an eighth or worse for Reed and Ricky for the second straight year clinches the 250 crown in Salt Lake City.

* On the other hand if Reed wins and "RC" finishes tenth Reed would leave for the season's final in Las Vegas with a one point lead.

* The late season Reed/Carmichael rivalry has made this season one of the most competitive with the possibility of taking the championship all the way to the final round for only the third time in the last 14 seasons.

Ricky Carmichael:
* Goes for a three peat in Salt Lake City

* He is in the midst of his longest loss string since April of 2000.

* Ricky's four race loss string should not detract from his great season. He has 7 wins, 5 second places, one third place. His only non podium on the year was a fourth place at Phoenix. Ricky has 11 qualifying heat wins in 14 races. He is tops leading 46% of the laps run this season - 130 of 280.

* This will be his 68th consecutive start

* If he wins in Salt Lake he will have eight wins on the season and 34 during his supercross career. He will have tied Jeremy's record of wins in three consecutive seasons. (33 wins in '94, '95 & '96). He will be one win from tying Jeremy's record for all time combined motocross/supercross wins with 89.

Larry Ward:
* Last week's hole shot was his third of the season, the most for any rider in the 250 class in 2003. * Salt Lake will be Larry's 188th 250 race. That's only two away from the all time "Ironman" endurance record of 200 set by Mike LaRocco.

* Two fourth places and back to back seventh place finishes have moved Larry into the top ten in points after a slow start on the season.

* Larry has collected more than $14,000 in Clear Channel Privateer bonus money for making 13 main events this season.

* He had the highest finish ever for a privateer in the supercross point's standings in 1995 placing second behind Jeremy McGrath.

* Larry has three career 250 wins. The last one in Seattle in '99.

Ezra Lusk:
* Has been injured since a crash in practice at Houston.

* Won his 12th career victory at Phoenix in the second round this season.

Chad Reed:
* Has put a stop to Ricky Carmichael cruising easily to another championship.

* Openly professes that he and Ricky are a cut above and by far the fastest supercross racers in the world. His confidence and comfort level are at all time highs.

* He admits when battling the two time champion one can't afford two sixth place finishes - Chad's only non podium performances on the season. (Anaheim II & Minneapolis)

* Chad is putting together one of the finest years ever for a first year rider in American supercross. His six wins ties Bob Hannah's mark for second place on the all time "Rookie" list. He's had the biggest impact for a first year rider since Jeremy in 1993. (10 wins and a championship)

*   Another win and Chad would move up to third on Yamaha's
single season win list behind McGrath  with 10, and Bradshaw  with 9.

* Chad has six wins, five second places, one third place and one hole shot (Phoenix). He has led 115 laps, 41% of those run. Every time Chad has won a main event he's won his qualifying heat.

* During his four race win streak Chad been in the lead after the first lap twice. His worst start during the streak was a nine place at Houston where he moved into first on the ninth lap.

* He's led 77.5% of the laps during his streak.

* If he wins at Salt Lake he will have moved into a tie for sixth on the list of longest seasonal win streaks (5 consecutive wins)

Brock Sellards:
* After completing his 125 East season he got back on a 250 at Dallas and placed eighth. (His second best 250 finish this season.)

* His best 250 finish was a seventh in the fifth round of the season at Anaheim III.

* Brock was one of the three contenders for the 125 East championship taking over the points lead after a second place in the series opener at Minneapolis and a win at Atlanta, round two.

* His win at Atlanta was dominating, leading all 15 laps.

* Brock led more laps than any rider competing this year in the 125 East. (44 of 105)

* A triceps injury earlier in the week before round three at Indianapolis proved to be the downfall of his season. He led the first ten laps at Indy before dropping back to seventh.

* It wasn't till the fifth 125 East round (Houston) that he recovered winning his second race of the season and the fourth of his 125 career.

Ernesto Fonseca:
* "Ernie" has finished in third behind Reed and Carmichael in the last four consecutive races. Never in the sport's history had those on the podium finished in the exact order for four straight races.

* His two fourth place finishes, moving from a 28th place start to an 11th place finish at Daytona, plus his four straight third place finishes marked an outstanding turnaround on the season.

* With the exception of Daytona, Ernesto averaged a 3.5 place start in the last seven races while averaging a 3.3 finish.

* Before his midseason turnaround he averaged a 9.8 place start while averaging a crash filled 12.5 finish.

* In 2001 at Salt Lake City, Ernesto became the only rider to win both the 125 East and 125 West championship. He sewed up the 125 West championship here with his fifth win in eight races that season.

Nick Wey:
* In the last race Nick posted his best finish of the season with a fourth place at Dallas. He lost out in a battle for third with Fonseca but was able to finally move up one place after gaining four fifth place finishes on the season.

* Nick has climbed from nineteenth place in the points race to a tie for fourth with two races left on the season.

* A bad back prevented him from competing in Europe giving his Mach One teammate Heath Voss the big edge in winnings, but Nick has come back to get the best of that friendly rivalry in the states.

Heath Voss:
* Has posted his best results of the season in the last two races with fifth place finishes.

* Heath is in line for second place money in the THQ World Supercross GP series. That's a $30,000 payday above and beyond the $7,000 he would earn if he ends the AMA season in seventh.

Sean Hamblin:
* After a hard crash in qualifying Sean came back with a second in the semi's but the lingering effects of the hard knock prevented him from going to the gate in the main.

* Before his latest misfortune, Sean raced to his best 250 finish of the season with a fourth place at Pontiac. The week before he won his first 250 qualifying heat at Houston.

* He has five single digit finishes in seven 250 events this year.

* Starting the season as a 125 West rider Sean was asked to remain in the 250's because of the rash of injuries on Team Suzuki.

Keith Johnson:
* Keith is edging away from Ryan Clark in their battle for privateer of the year honors. Despite a bell ringing crash in qualifying at Dallas he came back to place in 12th to Clark's 14th.

* Dallas marked the third time in the last three races he has placed in front of Clark including his best finishes of the season at Houston and Pontiac. (6th places)

* Keith stands to make more than $71,000 from purse money and privateer bonuses.

Ryan Clark:
* Ryan's best career finish was a seventh in the opening round at Anaheim.

* As a runner-up rookie of the year Ryan's take could be more than $50,000.

Ivan Tedesco:
* Is finishing up the supercross season in grand style after a tough 125 East season.

* Ivan ran five 250 races before the 125 East season began. His best finish was a ninth at Phoenix.

* At Dallas he recovered from an 11th place start to finish with his best 250 race of the season - sixth.

* He concluded the 125 East season with his very first supercross win at Pontiac. That was after having to win the LCQ to make the main event.

* Prior to the win at Pontiac his second place at Houston the week before and his second place in Salt Lake City in 2001 were his best career finishes.

125cc class

James Stewart:
* James comes into Salt Lake the first rider to sew up the 125 West supercross championship before the final regular season race of the year since the current shootout format began.

* He's trying to continue a string of season ending victories after opening the season with a second place finish in Anaheim. In that race he came back from a 13th place start.

* On his way to winning his first professional supercross championship he has won six straight races leading all but five of 90 laps.

* James has won every qualifying heat this season.

* Last year James won the race here in Salt Lake with the most perfect performance (at that time)of his young supercross career.

* Another win in Salt Lake would give him seven for the season and the 11th in his 125 career. Add a win in Las Vegas and that would put him into a tie for second on the all time 125 win list. (Damon Huffman, Ernesto Fonseca and Brian Swink had 12 wins. McGrath heads the list with 13.)

Travis Preston:
* Travis recorded his third second place finish in a row two weeks ago at Dallas. He has an opening win and four second places on the season.

* It was a sixth at Anaheim II followed by an 11th at San Francisco that took him out of the 125 West championship race.

* Feels he has ridden better this year than last when he won the number one plate but didn't get the breaks he did last year.

* It was too late to recover the championship but he won a one on one battle with Matt Walker in the last race. Matt finished behind Travis in third.

* They rubbed plastic at Dallas but nothing like the put downs and paybacks at Anaheim II and San Francisco.

*   Travis adjusted to handle a monster Honda four stroke in five
250 class races.  His best finish was a fourth at Daytona.

Matt Walker:
* Had a good clean "that's racing" battle for second with Travis Preston in the last race. Matt held onto his second podium of the year - a third place finish after being passed by Preston.

* Matt's best finish on the season was a second at San Francisco.

* He got his first and so far only supercross win at Houston last year.

Christopher Gosselaar:
* Came back with a fifth place finish at Dallas after sitting out San Diego with an injury before the 125 West break.

* Has one podium on the season. A third place at San Francisco.

Andrew Short:
* Moved into a tie for third place in the 125 West with Walker after his third fourth place finish in the last four races.

* Andrews's best finish was a second at Anaheim II and a third place at Anaheim I.

Troy Adams:
* Had his best finish in the 125 West in the last race (Dallas) with a ninth place.

Josh Hansen:
* Had the best finish of his rookie 125 season in Dallas - a sixth place.

Steve Mertens:
* A seventh place at Dallas was his best of the season.

Billy Laninovich:
* Got his second hole shot of the season at Dallas but crashed to last place just after the honor. He came back from last place (22nd) to finish in 11th.

* His first hole shot of the season at Anaheim II led to his only podium of the year - a third place.

Tiger Lacy:
* Competing in both the 125 east and west divisions (allowed by the AMA if not in the top ten in his assigned region) he has three hole shots in the last four races.

* Oddly enough his best finishes of the season came after battling from behind. An eighth place start at Minneapolis led to a seven place finish while a ninth his finest result in the 125 West came off a 10th place start.

Eric Sorby:
* His best race of the season was at Anaheim III where he got the hole shot and held onto third place.


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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Ernesto Fonseca , Chad Reed , Damon Huffman , Heath Voss , James Stewart , Mike LaRocco , Andrew Short