Carmichael Rolls On

Henny Ray Abrams | March 31, 2001

Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Ricky Carmichael made it nine in a row, leading from the front while the rest of the field struggled to keep up and keep upright before a Trans World Dome record crowd of 57, 782 in the 12th round of the AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series in St. Louis.

“I pulled through and got my ninth one, let’s get through next weekend and have a good week off, and hopefully get closer to that title,” Carmichael said as he stretched his points lead. After 12 of 16 rounds, Carmichael leads Mazda Yamaha’s Jeremy McGrath 292 to 253.

McGrath was running a close third when he fell on the sixth lap, losing two spots. He’d fall again, but so would others, and he ended up fourth, aware that the championship is slipping away.

“There’s not really much to think about at this point,” McGrath said. “It’s not happening at this moment and I’ve just got to do what I can do.

“RC’s riding great. You’ve got to beat him out of the start. If you don’t beat him out of the start he’s definitely got that lightning pace in the first five laps and he gets away,” McGrath added.

Carmichael had gotten the holeshot on a track which had become mostly one line by the 250cc main, and controlled the pace. Amsoil/Competition Accessories/Doc Martens/Honda’s Mike LaRocco had executed an uncharacteristically fine start, away second, and hovered about three seconds behind Carmichael for the first half of the race. Then disaster struck on the 12th lap when his front tire went flat, and LaRocco was done. At the end of that lap, Carmichael held over 13 seconds on second placed Ezra Lusk of Honda, with Suzuki’s Kevin Windham charging in third. Windham ran Lusk down on the 18th lap and pulled away to card his best finish ever on the Suzuki.

McGrath was fourth, then came Yamaha’s Tim Ferry, who made up for a horrible start-he was 12th on the first lap-by working his way up to fifth.

American Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana moved one step closer to clinching his first 125cc Eastern Regional Supercross crown with a thrilling last lap pass to win the 125cc main in the dome.

“It’s definitely going down to the wire,” Pastrana said after his fourth win, which gave him an 11 point lead over Yamaha of Troy’s Nathan Ramsey, second today, in the title chase.

The first turn was a mess, a mid-pack cluster of riders going down and slowing everyone but a chosen few. Pastrana wasn’t far from the mess, emerging in eighth place at the first lap, a much better position than his closest title pursuer, Mike Brown of the Splitfire/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team. Brown was mired deep in the pack, finishing the first lap in 14th before working his way up to sixth.

Out front KTM’s Kelly Smith held the lead for the first six laps before Yamaha of Troy’s Nathan Ramsey made his way by. Pastrana was about four seconds adrift, in third, at this point, but on the make.

The 17-year-old from Maryland chipped away until the final lap when he put himself in position to win. On the final lap, Pastrana made his move on the inside of a hairpin left, just before a tough set of 10 whoops, which Pastrana glided through to strengthen his position. From there he kept the gas on and won by 2.438 seconds.

Ramsey held on to second, with Smith third.

250cc MAIN: 1. Ricky Carmichael (Kaw); 2. Kevin Windham (Suz); 3. Ezra Lusk (Hon); 4. Jeremy McGrath (Yam); 5. Tim Ferry (Yam); 6. Damon Huffman (Yam); 7. Heath Voss (Hon); 8. Michael Byrne (Kaw); 9. Casey Johnson (Kaw); 10. Robbie Reynard (Yam); 11. James Povolny (Hon); 12. Pedro Gonzalez (Kaw); 13. Jean-Sebastien Roy (Hon); 14. Jason McCormick (Suz); 15. Kyle Lewis (Yam); 16. Doug Dehaan (Hon); 17. Brian Stone (Kaw); 18. Robbie Skaggs (Suz); 19. Mike LaRocco (Hon).

AMA/EA SPORTS SUPERCROSS SERIES C’SHIP POINT STANDINGS (After 12 of 16 rounds): 1. Ricky Carmichael (292/10 wins); 2. Jeremy McGrath (253/2); 3. Mike Larocco (213); 4. Kevin Windham (201); 5. Ezra Lusk (194); 6. Tim Ferry (148); 7. David Vuillemin (135); 8. (TIE) Sebastien Tortelli/Stephane Roncada (108); 10. Damon Huffman (96)

125cc MAIN (20 laps): 1. Travis Pastrana (Suz); 2. Nathan Ramsey (Yam); 3. Kelly Smith (KTM); 4. Tallon Vohland (Kaw); 5. Christopher Gosselaar (Hus); 6. Mike Brown (Kaw); 7. Isaiah Johnson (Yam); 8. Steve Boniface (Hon); 9. Joseph Oehlhof (Yam); 10. Ben Riddle (Suz); 11. Matt Walker (Hon); 12. Tom Hofmaster (Yam); 13. Charles Dunaway (Suz); 14. Nick Wey (Yam); 15. Jonathan Shimp (Yam); 16. Cory Keeney (Hon); 17. Danny Carlson (Suz); 18. Travis Elliott (Hon); 19. Paul Currie (Hon); 20. Marco Dube (KTM); 21. Randy Valade (Hon).

125cc EASTERN REGIONAL C’SHIP POINT STANDINGS (After 5 of 7 rounds): 1. Travis Pastrana (132/4 wins); 2. Nathan Ramsey (121/1); 3. Michael Brown (117); 4. Nicholas Wey (103); 5. Tallon Vohland (86); 6. Kelly Smith (68); 7. Brock Sellards (66); 8. Matt Walker (60); 9. Travis Elliott (59); 10. Ben Riddle (54).

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.