When talk turns to motocross it's not long before Ricky Carmichael's name dominates every conversation. Before focusing his full-time attentions to Camping World NASCAR East series stock car racing, the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) rewrote the record books with 15 championship titles and 150 motocross and supercross main event wins. And just like the promise he showed grasping a set of handlebars in his hands from the age of 5, his early showings behind the wheel of the Ken Schrader owned #4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet hint of great things to come. In the first 5 events he has captured two top 5 finishes, one top 10, and a pole position. While this may be news to some it comes as little surprise to fans who followed his motorcycle career. "After all," offered one observer, "His last name starts with the word 'CAR'."
Despite Carmichael's new job description and the fact that he's won it all on a motorcycle, he's eager to add more X Games motorcycle event medals to his trophy room, which by now is about the size of a Costco. Last year he medaled in Moto X Racing during his first X Games visit but now the 29-year-old father of twins has the STAPLES Center plugged into his GPS and Step Up event in his crosshairs. With an admission price of only $20 Friday, August 1, don't miss RC, Tommy Clowers, Brian Deegan, Mike Mason, and Ronnie Renner in the high-flying event.
"I really enjoyed X Games 13 last year. I loved the atmosphere - it was competitive by nature but relaxed and fun which is quite different from my career in motocross and supercross," said Carmichael. This year I'm concentrating on Step Up and hoping to have a better showing than I did at the recent NAVY Moto X World Championships. Hopefully the take-off and landing ramp issues that caused my crash will have been sorted out for the X Games."
Carmichael's performance at the NAVY MXWC raised the challenge level of the Step Up event exponentially. From the get-go, Carmichael's take-off's were jaw dropping but an unfortunate hard landing eliminated him from contention and effectively handed the win - at the 35-foot level - to veteran X Games medalist Matt Buyten.
To suggest that RC's pre-crash performance was impressive is a gross understatement. Once airborne, his Monster Energy Drink/Fox Racing sponsored Makita Suzuki soared so high above the scoring crossbar that he was able to read his entire Bill Center interview (posted that morning in the San Diego Union Tribune) before touching down. Critics insisted that RC only skimmed the article but that fact remains that he flew high, very high. Fans and rivals alike look forward to his next trip skyward at the STAPLES Center next Friday night, August 1st.
"Besides competing in Step Up I'm looking forward to providing commentary during the Moto X race," he continued. "There's also a slim chance that I'll ride the Best Whip contest, too, if all goes well. I may be crazy because I've never even hit a ramp, but I think I'd enjoy it."
A little known fact about Carmichael is that he's as much a student of motorcycle riding and racing as he was the sport's champion. Years of "up close and personal" rider evaluation (just ask all the riders he beat) have honed his diagnostic skill set to the Ph.D level. Charts and graphs aside, RC's pre-X Games watch list scores Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, and Ronnie Renner in high regard.
"I think Reed will take the Moto X this year but I would love to see he and Windham together. Reed is fast but K-Dub is really good on hard pack like the X Games track will be. That'd be a great battle, for sure," said Carmichael. As for his own main event "I'm hoping to do well in Step Up but there are some great, experienced riders like Renner in there to compete against and I think Renner's got the absolute best style for Step Up. Plus, after losing in San Diego he's got something to prove."