Carmichael Again in Houston

| March 23, 2002

At the last-ever supercross in the historic Reliant Astrodome (next year’s Houstson round will take place in the neighboring Reliant Stadium, currently in the finishing stages of construction), the expected winner topped the 250cc class, and a surprise victor came out on top of the 125cc division. Ricky Carmichael took the premier category after a long battle with Team Honda cohort Nathan Ramsey, and Pro Circuit/Chevy Trucks Kawasaki rider Matt Walker was the top racer in the 125cc Western Region contest.

Ramsey took control of the 250cc division on the first lap aboard his booming CRF450R four-stroke, and proceeded to hold off Carmichael for nearly half the race. Even after the champ got by, Ramsey kept him honest to the end, finishing as the runner-up for his first-ever podium in the quarter-liter class. Also making the podium was Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Ezra Lusk, despite a bad case of food poisoning earlier in the week.

Fourth place went to Team Yamaha’s David Vuillemin, posting his first non-podium (in races started) of the season. The Frenchman clashed during the main with Jeremy McGrath, coming out on the losing end and hitting the turf. As a result, Vuillemin lost seven more points on Carmichael in the points standings, and he’s currently 17 back.

Bud Light Yamaha’s McGrath rode much of the race in third, but eventually faded to fifth.

In the 125cc class, Walker was the class of the field, taking over the lead on lap three and pulling away to an easy win, the first of his career. The Georgian was helped when points leader James Stewart, suffering from a sore foot incurred in practice earlier in the night, went down on the first lap and had less luck than usual battling through the pack.

Second went to Amsoil/Dr. Martens rider Travis Preston, who closed to within 10 points of Stewart in the standings. Third was new Pro Circuit/Chevy Trucks Kawasaki recruit Eric Sorby, who just recently came over from France to try out for the Mitch Payton squad (thanks in part to a recommendation by fellow-Frenchie Vuillemin). Following a strong ride and a podium finish, it’s safe to say Sorby is on-board for the remainder of the season.

Amsoil/Dr. Martens rider Chris Gosselaar took fourth following a tumble and a strong ride, and Suzuki rider Andrew Short completed the top five. Stewart could advance no higher than 10th in the main.

250 MAIN: 1. Ricky Carmichael (Hon); 2. Nathan Ramsey (Hon); 3. Ezra Lusk (Kaw); 4. David Vuillemin (Yam); 5. Jeremy McGrath (Yam); 6. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon); 7. Heath Voss (Hon); 8. Jason Thomas (Yam); 9. Kyle Lewis (Hon); 10. Damon Huffman (Suz); 11. Nicholas Wey (Yam); 12. Stephane Roncada (Kaw); 13. Jean-Sebastien Roy (Hon); 14. Timmy Ferry (Yam); 15. Ryan Clark (Yam); 16. Isaiah Johnson (Suz); 17. Ted Campbell (Suz); 18. Jeff Gibson (Yam); 19. Brian Mason (Kaw); 20. Kris Papworth (Kaw).

250 POINTS: 1. Ricky Carmichael (234/7 wins); 2. David Vuillemin (217/3 wins); 3. Ezra Lusk (168); 4. Jeremy McGrath (160); 5. Stephane Roncada (157); 6. Nathan Ramsey (139); 7. Ernesto Fonseca (122); 8. Mike LaRocco (120); 9. Heath Voss (118); 10. Nicholas Wey (114); 11. Damon Huffman (105); 12. Travis Pastrana (96); 13. Kyle Lewis (67); 14. Jean-Sebastien Roy (64); 15. Kevin Windham (62); 16. Timmy Ferry (57); 17. Michael Byrne (56); 18. Sebastien Tortelli (49); 19. Keith Johnson (46); 20. Chad Reed (44).

125 MAIN: 1. Matt Walker (Kaw); 2. Travis Preston (Hon); 3. Eric Sorby (Kaw); 4. Ivan Tedesco (Hon); 5. Chris Gosselaar (Hon); 6. Andrew Short (Kaw); 7. Brock Sellards (KTM); 8. Travis Elliott (Hon); 9. Craig Decker (Yam); 10. James Stewart (Kaw); 11. Keith Johnson (Yam); 12. Joseph Oehlhof (Yam); 13. Danny Smith (Suz); 14. Joshua Woods (Suz); 15. David Pingree (KTM); 16. Shane Bess (Suz); 17. Erick Vallejo (Suz); 18. Turbo Reif (Suz); 19. Billy Payne (Hon); 20. Casey Lytle (Yam); 21. Isaiah Johnson (Suz); 22. Jeff Gibson (Yam).

125 POINTS: 1. James Stewart Jr. (115/2 wins); 2. Travis Preston (105/1 win); 3. Ivan Tedesco (100); 4. Christopher Gosselaar (92); 5. Brock Sellards (91/1 win); 6. Keith Johnson (69); 7. (TIE) David Pingree (68/1 win)/Travis Elliott (68); 9. Rodrig Thain (64); 10. Craig Decker (60); 11. (TIE) Erick Vallejo/Michael Brandes (46); 13. (TIE) Joseph Oehlhof/Matt Walker/Kevin Johnson (41); 16. Shane Bess (33); 17. Andrew Short (30); 18. Justin Buckelew (27); 19. (TIE) Danny Smith/Billy Laninovich (26).

By Freelance