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SUPERCROSS: San Diego - Art Eckman press day notes

Press Day Notes - San Diego Art Eckman, Media Prof. San Diego: * This is the 20th supercross in San Diego. * This is the fourth week in a row that supercross has followed either a World Series game or Super Bowl game into the stadium. *...

Press Day Notes - San Diego
Art Eckman, Media Prof.

San Diego:

* This is the 20th supercross in San Diego.

* This is the fourth week in a row that supercross has followed either a World Series game or Super Bowl game into the stadium.

* The first race (1980) was won by Mike Bell. It was the last race of the '80 season. Bell not only won the championship but registered his seventh win of the year breaking Bob Hannah's record for number of wins in a season. "Hurricane won six races out of only 10 during the 1977 season and tied his own record the following two seasons. Bell's record tied by Rick Johnson in 87' and 88' wasn't broken until 1991 when Frenchman Jean -Michel Bayle took the checkers nine times.

* Wins by brands in San Diego: Honda 11, Yamaha -- 7, Kawasaki -- 1, Suzuki - 0.

* Top San Diego winners: Jeremy McGrath -- 5, Rick Johnson -- 3, Broc Glover -- 2, David Vuillemin -- 2 (in the last three years.), Ricky Carmichael is one of six riders with a single victory here. (2001)

* In contrast to the 125's there is only one rider to win his first 250 race in San Diego and that is David Vuillemin in 2000.

125's - San Diego

* This was the sight of the very first 125 supercross. (1985)  Todd
Campbell was the winner.  It was his one and only supercross win.

* San Diego is a popular place for first time winners in the 125 ranks. Nine riders won their first supercross in the 15 San Diego 125 races. Last year James Stewart won his very first SX here. Others include Campbell ('85), Donnie Schmidt ('86), Kyle Lewis ('87), Michael Pichon ('93), Ryan Hughes ('94), Jeff Willoh ('96), Greg Schnell (00') & Justin Buckelew ('01)

Last year:

* San Diego was the second race of the year. David Vuillemin had to go to the semi's to qualify but once in the main he followed Travis Pastrana for three laps before taking over the lead for the final 17 laps. Vuillemin was awesome in the whoops on way to his second consecutive win. Pastrana held onto second for his very first 250 podium. Mike LaRocco passed Ricky Carmichael for third. Carmichael was still on the mend from his opening round crash. He rode through the pain of a broken bone in his clutch hand.

Jeremy McGrath sighting:

* Was as excited as we've ever seen him riding at Glen Helen Raceway on Tuesday at the Dirt Bike 24 hour Torture Test. He was giving his KTM a great workout but what had the industry folk mesmerized was his getting air on doubles at night. "It's the first time I've ever ridden at night. It's a gas."

Ricky Carmichael:

* With last weeks win at Anaheim, Ricky is now all alone in second place on the 250 supercross win list. (29) Jeremy holds the record with 72 wins.

* He claimed at last weeks press conference that McGrath's career combined wins record of 89 (combining national motocross and supercross wins) is the most important record for him to break. RC is only six behind Jeremy with 83 career combined wins. The AMA does not recognize 125 supercross wins as a national series win.

* RC has been in the top five, 36 of his last 37 starts.

* Tonight will be Ricky's 59th consecutive start

* He is the only rider this year to finish in the top five in all five rounds.

* Ricky has led the most laps this season (47 laps out of the 100 run)

* If he wins tonight: It will be career win #30 and his 4th consecutive of the season. It would be his third year in a row he's won at least four in a row.

Mike LaRocco:

* The "Ironman" of supercross is zeroing in on the sports answer to Cal Ripkin Jr's mark in baseball. Considering the dangers of SX, Mike's efforts could be equally commendable. LaRocco will likely start his 189th 250 supercross tonight, already the sports endurance record.

* Is coming off his worst weekend of the year. A crash with Reed in qualifying and a 17th in the main had him shaking his head.

* His second place at Phoenix was his 67th podium. His 5th at San Francisco was the 115th time he has finished in the top five.

* If he wins tonight: He would tie Broc Glover with his 10th , 250cc SX win.

Larry Ward:

* It's not been a very lucky year for the veteran. He's finished in 13th place in the last three races.

* Larry has three career supercross wins. Ezra Lusk:

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

*  His fast, great win over Reed in Phoenix was his first SX victory
in almost four years.  It was his 12th career win .

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

David Vuillemin:

* Has won two of the last three races in San Diego, and is the only rider to win his very first 250 race here.

* His third place last weekend at Anaheim was his second consecutive podium. In both races he's gotten a mid pack start. Last week he staged a good five lap battle to pass Lusk.

* If he wins tonight: It would be his first win in a year. (Last win -- 2/9/02 at Indy) His career win #8 would tie him with Ron Lechien and Jimmy Ellis. (14th)

Tim Ferry:

* Was having his greatest supercross season until crashing on lap 10 last week. It was his first race of the season on a two stroke. A 16th place finish took him from 3rd to 5th in the standings.

Stephan Roncada:

* Is getting stronger as the season continues. Recovering from a virus Stephan has gone from a low point 13th in Phoenix to his best finish a sixth place last week.

* He's gotten good starts in the last two races. He even led five laps two weeks ago in San Francisco.

Chad Reed:

* Put the heat on Ricky Carmichael last week. So much so it had the two time champion extra excited to see the checkers. RC winning by only 59 hundreds of a second.

* With a second last week Chad is hanging around only 9 points behind Ricky in the standings.

* He now has four podiums (one win & three seconds) in five races of his rookie 250 season.

* Chad hasn't led a full lap since the second round in Phoenix.

* Winning Anaheim I, Chad became the first Australian to win a 250 SX in America. He also became the first 125 East champion since Damon Bradshaw in 1990 to win the 125 East and take the first race of his rookie 250 season.

Sebastien Tortelli:

* Has had a miserable time of it since winning his qualifying heat, getting the hole shot and finishing on the podium in 3rd at Anaheim II. He hasn't given himself a chance with crashes and double digit starts for back to back 15th place finishes.

* Question to be answered this week -- will he appear bald for San Diego? The bet with trainer Rick Johnson was that he had to shave his head if he finished outside the top ten. He hedged a bit last week taking it down to a skin head fuzz when it wasn't decided whether his problems were directly related to a mechanical problem.

* If Tortelli should get his second career win, Johnson has to get the clippers out.

Grant Langston:

* Limited by injuries, he failed to qualify last week at Anaheim III.

* He won KTM's first ever 250 qualifying heat at Phoenix but his best in a main event was a ninth at San Francisco.

Michael Byrne:

* Another Australian starting to make his mark in American supercross.

* Won top privateer honors last week. Michael got a great start leading the first eight laps. Vuillemin passed him taking away what would have been his first podium.

* His is eighth in the 250 standings. But will be competing for Amsoil/Chaparral/ Honda for the 125 East title when the series moves to the midwest.

Mickael Pichon:

* Has come back to the U.S. to train for the defense of his 250 World MX GP title. He's taking advantage of the California sunshine after taking three months after winning his second consecutive title in Europe.

* This will be his final race here before heading back to Europe.

* Last week he surprised many with a third place finish in his qualifying heat. Not being in shape for a 20 lap main he pulled out after a slow start.

* He's hyper careful about getting an injury before opening his season the first week of March in England.

125's

James Stewart:

* Last weeks dominating win at Anaheim was his fourth in a row. This is the first year he's won more than two in a row. (the last two races of the 2002 season)

* He revealed in last week's post race press conference that this will be his final year in 125's. It gathered Ricky's attention despite "RC's" laid back mood.

* Has led every lap of the last three races, and 55 of the possible 75 laps on the season.

* Has not lost a qualifying heat race this year.

* Has won the last two races by a 22.5 second average.

* His only loss this year was Anaheim I when a bad start saw him come from as far back as 18th to finish in second place.

* If he wins # 5 on the season it will be his 9th career 125 win, moving past Keith Turpin and Denny Stephenson into 9th all alone on the all time 125 SX win list. Should he win out, including the Dave Coombs Memorial 125 shoot-out he would tie Jeremy McGrath with the most career 125 wins (13).

Travis Preston:

* It appears the hard block passing, bike blasting pay backs with Eric Sorby and Matt Walker of Pro Circuit is over but Travis said at last weeks post race press conference that he's still keeping his eyes open for Walker.

* At Anaheim III Preston got a bad start finishing the first lap in 11th. He was in 6th by the second lap. Travis passed Walker early (lap four) Then Sorby on lap 11 for second place.

* Despite his problems at Anaheim II and San Francisco Travis has finished first or second eight times in the last 14 races.

* Travis became the first 125 rider since Ezra Lusk (93'-94') to win season openers two years in a row.

* If he wins tonight he would match his win total from last years championship season. (2 wins)

Matt Walker:

* Led two laps at Phoenix after making the pass on Craig Anderson on lap four. Was in second place when Preston put him down on a block pass. Walker finished in 14th.

* He got his first podium in four races this year at San Francisco. His second place was his first podium since his lone 125 win at Houston last year. It was softened by the news of a $1,000 fine for a pay back move on Preston.

* Last week finished in fourth moving him from sixth into a tie for fourth in the 125 East standings.

* Walkers second place at San

Andrew Short:

* A third at Anaheim I (his first SX podium) and a 2nd (his best finish ever) at Anaheim II helped put the up start into second place in the standings going into last weeks race.

* The bad luck last week started with a clutch problem leading to a DNF in qualifying . A 15th place start and a 19th place finish dropped him into a tie for 4th in the standings.

Josh Hansen:

* He came from as far back as 15th for his best supercross finish -- eighth.

Billy Laninovich:

* Has shown good speed moving into third place in the standings.

* Started in 20th last week cutting through the field for a fifth place finish.

* His best outing was at Anaheim III. He had to go through the Last Chance Qualifier to make the main. Then he won the hole shot and held on for a third place.

Eric Sorby:

* Has been getting great starts in the last three races. A third at Anaheim II. A hole shot and second place start at the end of the first lap and a second place start at Anaheim III.

* Last week he held on to second for ten laps before Preston passed him. Eric got on the podium for the first time this season finishing in third.

-cce-

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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Sebastien Tortelli , Chad Reed , Mike Bell , Mickael Pichon , James Stewart , Mike LaRocco , Andrew Short