SUPERCROSS: St. Louis press day notes

Art Eckman, Media Prof. St. Louis: * The first supercross at the Edward Jones Dome was held in 1996 and set the scene for what has always been a wild and interesting affair. In that opener Jeff Emig, a Missouri native, interrupted ...

Art Eckman, Media Prof.
St. Louis:

* The first supercross at the Edward Jones Dome was held in 1996 and set the scene for what has always been a wild and interesting affair. In that opener Jeff Emig, a Missouri native, interrupted the longest seasonal win streak in the history of supercross. Jeremy McGrath came into the race after starting the season with 13 straight wins, and Emig before family, friends, and fans came from behind to capture his second career supercross win.

* McGrath was the winingest rider here in St. Louis (3) He came back from the most important loss of his career in '97 and after an early battle with Emig led all but the first lap.

* 98' controversy reined and not with the winner. Kevin Windham got the hole shot and ran away with it. Ezra Lusk and Jeremy McGrath were fighting for second place and Lusk put the champ down. Ezra took second and McGrath unusually showing his temper settled for fourth.

* In '99 a very unusual happening - Mike LaRocco got a hole shot. He took second while MAC won. A guy named Ricky Carmichael took sixth. The wild action took place in an emotionally charged 125 race. Kelly Smith led 14 laps heading for the final turn looking like he would have his and KTM's first ever sx win when Ernesto Fonseca after recovering from 18th place made an overaggressive move from behind Smith. Smith went down, Fonseca won and Smith had to held back by track officials, his dream in shambles.

* David Vuillemin having a great rookie season (2000) got the hole shot and led early. He would be passed by Jeremy, David settling for second. Jason Thomas would qualify for both the 125 & 250 main events. One of seven times on the season he would grab iron man honors.

* The St. Louis supercross would draw its biggest crowd in 2001 - 57,872 fans. Ricky Carmichael got the hole shot and dominated leading all 20 laps. The ninth straight win in a string of 13 tying Jeremy McGrath's consecutive wins in a season.

* Last year, Chad Reed won his sixth straight race of the season taking the 125 East #1 plate. A first for a lad from down under. RC took his second St. Louis 250 win.

* No 250 rider has won his first race in St. Louis. Stephan Roncada took his first American 125 supercross victory here in '97. RC came in 10th.

* David Vuillemin's injury at Daytona added to the long list of factory riders on the injured list. Eight factory riders are sidelined. Only five factory riders -- RC, Lusk, Ferry, Reed, and Fonseca have run in every race.

Ricky Carmichael:

* Gave Honda their first win in St. Louis last year.

* Ricky's win at Daytona was his 87th SX/MX combined career victory. Only three away from breaking the all time record set by Jeremy McGrath.

* Has only missed one podium this year. (Phoenix - 4th)

* RC is third on the all time Honda SX win list. (18) He just passed Jeff Stanton and is 7 wins away from tying Rick Johnson (25)

* Ricky has led 60% of the laps this year. (120 of the 200 run)

* The Daytona win was Ricky's four in a row and his seventh on the season. He lapped all but Ferry, Reed and himself winning by 14.5 seconds. He tied the "King of Daytona" Jeff Stanton's record of four consecutive win at the legendary track

* St. Louis is his 64th consecutive start. Besides his two 250 wins here he won the 125 race here in '98. Number six of a perfect nine win season.

* Has eliminated from championship contention all but the top eight riders.

Larry Ward:

* Had his best finish of the year at Daytona (8th)

* Larry's best at St. Louis was a fourth in '97

* Making the main event in nine of the ten races this season has brought Larry to within seven 250 starts of the all time record for races in the class set by Mike LaRocco.

* The 32 year old (turns 33 in a month) and LaRocco are the only two riders in the sport to gain points in the 250's in three decades. They entered the class on the same day, 2/18/89 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.

* Larry has three career supercross wins. His last win was in Seattle in '99.

* Has earned more than $12,000 in clear channel privateer bonus money.

* Finished the highest of any non factory rider when he took second place behind Jeremy McGrath for the '95 season.

Ezra Lusk

* Coming off a fifth place at Daytona.

* Highlights of the season include a hole shot and finishing second at Minneapolis and his 12th career 250 SX win at Phoenix (his first since'99)

* If he wins another it would be number 13 nudging David Bailey from the top ten.

* Has one second place and two third place finishes at St. Louis.

David Vuillemin:

* Cased a double at Daytona in qualifying injuring his T5. (likely out for the season)

* Had five podiums. Only race out of the top five was an eighth at Anaheim II.

* Has seven career 250SX wins.

* His best at St. Louis - a second in 2000

Tim Ferry:

* Picked up his fourth third place on the season at Daytona, holding onto fourth place in the points race.

* Got off to his best start ever in supercross with two third places, a fifth and a fourth

* His best at St. Louis was a fifth in 2001.

* Looking for his first 250 supercross win. Would be the season's first 250 first time winner. First time a rider has won his first supercross since last year when Nathan Ramsey handed Honda their first four stroke victory. (Pontiac)

* A win would give Yamaha their first four stroke win since the very first thumper victory at Las Vegas (Doug Henry) in '98.

Damon Huffman:

*       Twice Damon has run his best race of the season here in St.
Louis.  A fourth in 1999 and a sixth in 2001.

* His lone win was in Atlanta in '97.

* His best finish this season a seventh at Minneapolis.

Chad Reed:

* Battled early at Daytona with RC posting the fastest and third fastest laps of the race but couldn't stay with the two time champion.

* Has only missed the podium twice this year - a seventh at Anaheim II and a sixth at Minneapolis.

* Has led 53 laps this season, second to RC's 120 laps led.

* Not out of the points race 25 points behind Carmichael, Reed needs something spectacular to happen to prevent a RC runaway.

* Has had a banner rookie season with two wins (Anaheim I, & San Diego) five second place finishes and one third place.

* His worst race this season a sixth place at Anaheim II and Minneapolis.

Ernesto Fonseca:

* Has had trouble with poor starts and crashes all season but has toughed it out refusing to sit out making every main event (one of only five factory riders to do so)

* Before an 11th at Daytona he had two promising fourth place finishes.

* won the 125 race here in '99 by crashing into Kelly Smith.

* Is the only rider to have won a 125 East and 125 West supercross title.

Nick Wey:

* Leads Mach One teammate and rival Heath Voss by five points in the standings. Got a 15th place start at Daytona and came back to seventh place, climbing back into sixth place.

* His best finishes this season - back to back fifth place finishes at San Deigo and Minneapolis.

* In the only race Nick hasn't qualified for this season he was stuffed by teammate Voss for the final transfer spot in the LCQ.

Danny Smith:

* Danny might be slight of frame but he is definitely in shape after a sixth place finish at Daytona. (His best of three 250 races this year.)

Joaquim Rodrigues:

* Made the extended field at Daytona for his first main event of the year (29th)

* Hasn't been healthy all season. It started with an off season operation on his knee that didn't have time to heal.

Keith R Johnson:

* Is a leading candidate for privateer of the year honors. He's ninth in the standings

Sean Hamblin:

* A 125 West rider on a 250 for the East races.

* In the last three races he's qualified directly from the qualifying heats.

* His best 250 finishes: a fifth at Indy, and a seventh at Atlanta.

Travis Preston:

* Posted the best finish of any of the 125 West riders participating in the 250's at Daytona with a fourth place finish. Got a hole shot at Indy after capturing a second place in his qualifying heat.

* Was the defending 125 West champion who trails James Stewart by 31 points with two races left on the schedule.

Andrew Short:

* Has made the 250 main event in the last four races. His best finish was a sixth at Indy.

* Is third in the 125 West getting his very first 125 podium with a third at Anaheim I. His best finish on the season was a second at Anaheim II.

125 East - it's the best point's race in supercross. Thirteen points separates the leader Branden Jesseman and third place Brock Sellards. Mike Brown in second is only five points out of first place.

Michael Brown:

* Mike is just coming off one of the biggest wins of his career. Winning Daytona, a race he's always done well in but never won, was a dream come true and to be able to tighten the current 125 points race at the same time to just five points is even better.

* Mike was pressuring Branden Jesseman in a close race for the lead when the point's leader slipped out. Mike not only made the pass but pulled out a big enough lead that when his front wheel washed out he still had a big enough lead to hold onto first place and take the checkers.

* Ever since coming back for the GP's in Europe he has been known for tightening up the championship points races.

* It was Mike's first win since 5/20/95. It was Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's first win of the season. It was the first time he's led a race this year (10 laps)

* He has raced aggressively and well all season. The only non podium in the first four races was when Michael Byrne made a pass on him with four laps remaining at Minneapolis to knock him into fourth.

* If he wins St. Louis it will be his fifth career 125 win, Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's first in St. Louis since '98.

Brock Sellards:

* Brock had a good steady ride at Daytona to stay within striking distance of the championship with three races left on the 125 East regular season. He moved into fourth on lap three and stayed there for the 12 remaining laps.

* Was almost to the point of breaking down after a seventh at Indianapolis. Racing with an injured triceps he won his heat race and took the early lead but the injury obviously affected his later in the race.

* Won his third career victory at Atlanta leading every lap after a second in the opening round. Was the last pick of the Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy support team but got their first win in either 125 region.

* A win at St. Louis would really make this race interesting. Brock has two second places in a three race stretch here in St. Louis.

Branden Jesseman:

* Left Daytona mad at himself after surrendering the lead to Brown when his front wheel washed out. Couldn't catch back up with Brownie in the last eight laps.

* He had the fastest lap of the 125's at Daytona (1:27:45) on lap two.

* His second place helped him hold onto second in the points shaving his eight point lead to five.

* Has the most wins in the 125 East (2) and has hit the podium in all four rounds. His wins came at Minneapolis, a relaxed and fast run away (7.2 seconds) and Indianapolis where he came from behind to win a great battle with Sellards. He made a pass that Ricky Carmichael showed him in 250 qualifying passing Lusk in the over/under tunnel.

* Even though he had his problems at Atlanta staying upright he came from an eighth place start to finish third.

* Posted SoBe Suzuki's first win of the year.

* St. Louis has meant mixed results in the past. His fifth place in 2000 was his best finish that year. Last season he posted a sixth place. In '01 he didn't race because of breaking a thumb crashing with Travis Pastrana in Atlanta.

* Branden broke Chad Reed's six race win streak last year in Pontiac 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. (Nathan Ramsey won his first 250 race after Jesseman's first 125 win)

Ivan Tedesco:

*       After a sixth place finish in the opener has seen his season go
down the drain.  In round two at Atlanta he crashed while in fourth for
no points in last place.  The concussion has kept him out of the last two
races.  He failed to qualify at Daytona.

Steve Boniface:

* His best finish in a difficult year was a seventh at Atlanta.

* St. Louis was his first race in the U.S. (2001) He took an eighth.

Kelly Smith:

*       Got hole shots in the first three races.  Last year he had five
hole shots in seven races.  (including St. Louis)

* His average finish is better this year. Last year it was an 11th place average. This season after coming back from a seventh place start at Daytona and finishing fifth for the third time, he's averaging a sixth place finish.

* He's moved up to fourth in points in the 125 East (-31)

* St. Louis has good and horrible memories for Kelly. The crash while in first robbing him of potentially his first supercross win in '99, then his best finish ever in a 125 supercross came here in 2001. ( 2nd)

Jeff Gibson:

* Best finish of the season was a ninth in the opener at Minneapolis,

*       Best career finish was right here in St. Louis.  A fourth last
year.  He races from 16th to fourth in 11 laps.

Troy Adams:

* Posted his best finish of the season at Daytona - a seventh place. He had a ninth at Atlanta but didn't run Minneapolis or Indianapolis.

Tyson Hadsell:

* Was great out of the gate at Daytona helping him to his best finish of the year in eighth.

Ryan Mills:

* He didn't post his best finish of the year at Daytona (16th) but after starting the race in last place he had the second fastest lap of the race on the second lap (1:28:01)

* Two top ten finishes are his best on the season. He's ninth in the point standings

Shae Bently

* His third place at Indy was one thing but the third place at Daytona is evidence that his endurance after sitting out two seasons with injuries might be back.

* Shae won the 125 West in 2000. He has two career 125 wins.

Brett Metcalf:

* Got a great start at Daytona leading the first two laps. He went down but then fought back for a sixth place finish.

* His best finish on the season was the week before at Indianapolis where he crossed the line in fourth.

* His improvement has him in line for a top five placement in the standings.

Eric Vallejo:

* Posted his career best at Atlanta when he finished in fourth.


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About this article
Series AMA , Other bike
Drivers Jason Thom , Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Travis Pastrana , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Ernesto Fonseca , Chad Reed , Damon Huffman , Branden Jesseman , Heath Voss , Jeff Gibson , Mike Brown , Kelly Smith , James Stewart , Ed Jones , Jeff Emig , Mike LaRocco , Doug Henry , Andrew Short