SUPERCROSS: San Francisco pre-event notes

THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series San Francisco's Pac Bell Park Notes by Art Eckman, Media Prof. San Francisco: * This is the 38th time that supercross has expanded to a new city since the original three locations in 1974 (Daytona,...

THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series
San Francisco's Pac Bell Park
Notes by Art Eckman, Media Prof.

San Francisco:
* This is the 38th time that supercross has expanded to a new city since the original three locations in 1974 (Daytona, FL. Houston, TX. & Los Angeles, CA.)

* This is the eighth California city to stage SX. Two of the previous seven are still on the schedule. (Anaheim & San Diego)

* 1983 was the biggest year for new locations. (4) with current ESPN analyst David Bailey winning two of the four.

* There is only one rider in the current field who has won at a first time city. Ricky Carmichael in 2001. (Salt Lake City that year was the last time SX premiered a new location.)

* Jeremy McGrath is the record holder for winning in first time venues. He premiered tracks in Minneapolis (94') Cleveland (95') Denver (96') and Joliet, IL. (2000) with wins.

SX in the Bay area:
* This is the first time in SX history that we're seeing a race in San Francisco proper, but it's not the first time fans in northern California have had a race within close range. There were three races staged across the Bay in Oakland. (79' - winner Jimmy Weinert, 80' - winner Kent Howerton, and 84' winner Ron Lechien.)

* The 79' race was the controversial "Paddle tire" race. Weinert came to the track of sand with paddle tires that were later ruled illegal. He won the race with contenders complaining that they got sand blasted the closer they got to him. Weinert was allowed to keep the win his first of two on the season.

* Six races were staged to the south of the Bay area in San Jose. (90' - 95') McGrath won two of the six. The only current rider to win in the small Spartan Stadium was Mike LaRocco in 1994. (One of three wins that year for Mike)

Last week (Anaheim II)
* Ricky Carmichael became the third different winner in the season's first three races. (Chad Reed/Yamaha, Ezra Lusk/Kawasaki, & RC/Honda.) It's the eighth time this has happened. The last time was 1993 (LaRocco,Bradshaw & McGrath)

* Only three other times in supercross history including 93' were the three different riders also on three different brands winning those first three races.

* Only one time has there ever been four different winners win the first four races of the season, and they happened to be on four different brands. That was 1976. (Tony DiStefano/Suz, Jim Weinert/Kaw, Jim Ellis/Can-Am, & Marty Smith/Hon)

* Oddly enough the first rider to win two races on the season has gone on to win the title only eleven times in 29 years. Most recently -- last year David Vuillemin, and 2001, Jeremy McGrath. Both ending the season second place in points for the title.


Ricky Carmichael:
* With his 27th career SX win last week, Ricky is now tied for third on the all time 250 win list with Bob Hannah. Hannah's 27 wins were achieved over a span of nine seasons beginning with the first race ever staged in Atlanta (3/5/77) and concluding at Daytona Beach. (3/12/83) RC accomplished the feat with his 27 wins all recorded in the last 43 races. His first win coming at Daytona. (3/10/00)

* Ricky leads Chad Reed by 3 points taking over the points lead for the first time this season. Ricky has never lost a points lead once he has gained sole possession of first place.

* He has had big success in round four over the last two championship years winning both times. In 2001 he began a record tying 13 race win streak in round four. Last year it was his first win of the season on way to 13 straight podiums. (11 wins & two seconds)

* If "RC" wins tonight: He will tie Rick Johnson for second on the all time win list with twenty eight 250 victories. The next stop isn't until Jeremy's 72.

Mike LaRocco:
* Mike's second place finish last week was his 67th career podium. More impressively the "Iron Man of SX" has finished in the top five 112 times in a record 187 starts.

* He has made at least one podium in 15 consecutive years of racing 250's.

* If he wins tonight it will be his 10 career SX victory, tying him with Broc Glover on the all times win list. (13th) Sebastien Tortelli:

* His third place finish last week had him smiling from ear to ear. It was only this third podium since he was a part time AMA participant winning the 1998 season opener in Los Angeles.

Chad Reed:
* Chad has linked up with Ezra Lusk to provide some of the most exciting racing of the season. Their back and forth battle at Phoenix for 20 laps was won by Ezra. And last weeks qualifying heat might have been one of the best heat race battles of all time. (Also won by Ezra)

* Last week Chad got buried at the start then went down before placing a disappointing sixth losing the points lead to "RC". (-3)

* The opening round at Anaheim, he became the first Australian to win an AMA supercross, and the first 125 East champion since Damon Bradshaw in 1990 to come off the 125 championship and win his first 250 race in his rookie 250 season.

* The big question for San Francisco is -- can Reed prevent "RC" from stringing together another great win streak? Ricky openly questions Chad's ability to achieve his level of tenacity and skill over 16 races.

* Chad still leads the race for the THQ World SX GP title. He tops David Vuillemin by 6 points and Tim Ferry by 8 points.

Ezra Lusk:
* Is only 9 points from leading the series coming into this round. He would be only 7 points off the pace if not for a last lap crash in the whoops last week taking him off the podium. He got back up and running for a fourth place.

* Ezra's win at Phoenix was his 12 career SX victory tying him with David Bailey for 10th on the all time 250 SX win list.

Tim Ferry:
* His fifth place last week kept him in a tie for third place in the points race only nine behind "RC".

* This is his best start on a supercross season. The former 125 East SX champion opened the series with two third place finishes. Last year at this time he was 55 points behind the leader in 17th place.

* If he wins tonight it will be his first SX win (He has two 2nd place finishes in his career the last one coming at Daytona last year.)

David Vuillemin:
* Is the big question mark this season. After winning the THQ World SX GP opener on an arena cross like track in Geneva and a second place behind Reed on the larger track at Arnhem, Holland, last year's runner-up to Carmichael has been out of contention for a podium.

* His best finish this season was a fourth place in the Anaheim opener. He recovered from a horrible start (17th) to take the fourth place.

* He's coming off his worst finish, an eighth, after hitting the deck hard with seven laps to go.


James Stewart:
* Has taken command of the 125 West after his dominating win of last week. James came to within one rider of lapping the entire field. His near flawless performance was his first win in five try's at Edison International Field in Anaheim.

* His win last week gives him a 10 point lead over Travis Preston.

* He has led 30 of the 45 laps so far this season.

* It's the first time in James' young professional career that he has won two consecutive regular season races counting toward the 125 West championship. (In his first professional season last year he won the last 125 West regular season race then got some redemption for not winning the title by taking the 125 shoot-out in Las Vegas.)

* If he wins tonight: His 7th career 125 win has him passing Jeff Emig and Damon Bradshaw while tying him with six other riders for 11th on the all time 125 SX win list. ( Lusk, Pastrana, Roncada, Henry, Dowd & Ramsey)

Travis Preston:
* Won his heat race, but a bad start and a "pay back" run-in with Eric Sorby (for putting Pro Circuit teammate Matt Walker down in Phoenix) had him picking himself up off the dirt finishing in sixth place dropping him out of a tie for first place in the standings.

* Became the first rider since Ezra Lusk in 93' & 94' to win back to back 125 season openers. His win at anaheim this season was his 3rd career 125 victory and his most dominate leading 13 of the 15 laps.

* If he wins tonight: would match his win total of last year with still four races to go on the season. Andrew Short:

* Third in points (-18)

* Continues to impress with his improvement. Last week he finished 2nd, his best ever 125 result. It was his second podium of the season.

* His third in the 125 West season's opener was his first career podium. He came all the way from having to win the LCQ to make the main event.

* Andrew raced well in Phoenix. His 9th place was not representative of his racing ability. He got a horrendous start in 20th then charged moving up 11 spots in 12 laps.

Billy Laninovich:
* After having to win the LCQ to make the main event he picked off the hole shot and rode to his second career podium (third place)

* In his first professional season last year he placed third at Anaheim III for his first career podium before a big crash the next week in a qualifying heat put him on the injured list for the rest of the season.

* If he wins tonight: Would become the third different 125 West rider to win in the four races. It would be his first career win and the fourth win for the 125 KTM in three seasons.

Danny Smith: * His seventh place last week drove him from eleven points off the pace to 22 down, fourth place in the standings. * If he wins tonight: The first for him and the first for Suzuki in 125 West action since David Pingree opened the season in Anaheim on January 8th of the 2000 season.


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