Carmichael is Champ!

| April 22, 2001

With two rounds remaining in the AMA EA Sports Supercross Series, Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Ricky Carmichael has clinched the 20001 Championship, completing his collection of all the major American titles.

“Now it’s all about the records,” Carmichael said.

Assuming he won (and considering the fact that he had already topped 11 of the first 13 rounds, including 10 in a row, it was a fairly safe assumption), Carmichael needed one person to finish between him and defending champion Jeremy McGrath at Dallas in order to sew up the title, and that’s exactly what happened. Team Honda’s Ezra Lusk grabbed the holeshot, and after Carmichael got by him early on lap one, he held on to finish second, challenging and even passing Carmichael several times before crashing and allowing a gap to open up. Following a mediocre start, Mazda Yamaha’s McGrath could only advance as high as third, and Carmichael and Lusk had already opened up such a gap by then that there was no hope, even when Lusk crashed (twice).

Also crashing twice, including once in the first turn, was Amsoil/Dr. Martens/Journeys/Competition Accessories rider Mike LaRocco, who nonetheless advanced to an incredible fourth place, one spot ahead of Team Yamaha’s Tim Ferry (also the victim of a crash). Posting an impressive sixth was Great Lakes Aviation privateer Heath Voss, and Team Suzuki’s Kevin Windham was seventh. Rounding out the top 10 were Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Stephane Roncada (riding with a headache from a heat-race crash), Emig Racing’s Michael Byrne and Yamaha’s Damon Huffman.

“I got an excellent start, but Lusk kept on me for most of the race,” Carmichael said. “I finally made a pass on him and pulled away. The wins are great, but this number-one plate is awesome – I am so pumped.”

“I have been here for 10 years and the only place I have to go is down,” McGrath said. “Carmichael had a great season.”

Team Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana also signed up for the 250cc class, and even pulled the holeshot in the second heat race, but after overshooting the first turn and nearly crashing, then actually crashing moments later in the whoops, he circulated the track a couple of times near the back of the pack, then pulled off for the night. According to his father, he will not ride a 125 for the remainder of the year.

In the 125cc ranks, KTM Red Bull’s Grant Langston redeemed his performance at the previous Western Regional round, where he had crashed and given away the victory while leading on the final lap. Here, Langston made no such mistake, leading all 15 laps and even throwing in a pair of waves to the crowd and a two-footed can-can on the final lap to show he wasn’t intimidated. Langston was challenged early by Team Suzuki’s Rodrig Thain, who eventually fell off the pace and finished as the runner-up. Yamaha of Troy’s Ernesto Fonseca was third on the YZ250F after a long night of scary crashes. He still leads the points, by an impressive 20 points over Thain, but he wasn’t able to wrap up the championship early as he had hoped.

Plano Honda/MSR’s Ivan Tedesco took fourth ahead of Motoworld’s Greg Schnell. Erick Vallejo, riding as a guest on the injury-depleted Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/SplitFire team, took sixth, while erstwhile second-place points holder Justin Buckelew was seventh, giving up any chance of winning the title. Fast by Ferracci Husqvarna’s Travis Preston was eighth.

“The team has worked so hard for this, and we’ve put so much into it,” Langston said. “To finally win – it was fantastic.”

Watch R.C. clinch the title on ABC Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4:00 Pacific.


125: 1. Grant Langston (KTM); 2. Rodrig Thain (Suz); 3. Ernesto Fonseca (Yam); 4. Ivan Tedesco (Hon); 5. Greg Schnell (Yam); 6. Erick Vallejo (Kaw); 7. Justin Buckelew (Yam); 8. Travis Preston (Hus); 9. Tyson Hadsell (Yam); 10. Steve Boniface (Hon); 11. Jason McCormick (Suz); 12. Johnny Marley (Hon); 13. Gio Tedesco (Hon); 14. Jeremy Chaussee (Hon); 15. Thomas Hofmaster (Yam); 16. Brian Stone (Kaw); 17. Bryan McGavran (Hus); 18. Daniel Blair (Hon); 19. Danny Carlson (Suz); 20. Keith Johnson (Yam); 21. Andy Harrington (Yam); 22. Travis Hodges (Hon).

250: 1. Ricky Carmichael (Kaw); 2. Ezra Lusk (Hon); 3. Jeremy McGrath (Yam); 4. Mike LaRocco (Hon); 5. Timmy Ferry (Yam); 6. Heath Voss (Hon); 7. Kevin Windham (Suz); 8. Stephane Roncada (Kaw); 9. Michael Byrne (Kaw); 10. Damon Huffman (Yam); 11. Nicholas Wey (Yam); 12. Kyle Lewis (Yam); 13. James Povolny Jr. (Hon); 14. Pedro Gonzalez (Kaw); 15. Robbie Skaggs (Suz); 16. Jason Thomas (Hus); 17. Brian Mason (Kaw); 18. Michael Craig (Hon); 19. Sebastien Tortelli (Hon); 20. Robbie Reynard (Yam).


125: 1. Ernesto Fonseca (143/4 wins); 2. Rodrig Thain (123); 3. Justin Buckelew (117/1 win); 4. Grant Langston (113/1 win); 5. Ivan Tedesco (106); 6. Danny Smith (92); 7. David Pingree (84); 8. Traviss Preston (75/1 win); 9. Greg Schnell (68); 10. Jiri Dostal (62).

250: 1. Ricky Carmichael (342/12 wins*); 2. Jeremy McGrath (291/2 wins); 3. Mike LaRocco (251); 4. Ezra Lusk (238); 5. Kevin Windham (231); 6. Timmy Ferry (179); 7. David Vuillemin (135); 8. Stephane Roncada (134); 9. Michael Byrne (119); 10. Damon Huffman (118).

* Clinched position

By Freelance