American Honda’s Ricky Carmichael moved into the lead in the AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series point standings with a dominating win in the rough Daytona Supercross, his third win in a row at the Speedway.
The victory came on a day when Yamaha’s David Vuillemin, the previous points leader, sat out the race with injuries suffered in a magazine photo shoot last week. The win, coupled with Vuillemin’s absence, gives Carmichael a five-point lead, 184-179, after nine of 16 rounds.
“I guess we’re even now,” Carmichael said. “We both missed a race.”
Carmichael became the third rider in the history of the Daytona Supercross to win it three straight times. The win moved him into a tie with Jeff Ward for fourth on the all-time Supercross wins list with 20. It was Honda’s first win at Daytona since 1996.
What was also telling was that the top three riders were sons of the South. Carmichael is from Havana, Florida, second place finisher Tim Ferry, of the Yamaha team, is from Largo, Florida, and third placed Ezra Lusk, of the Chevy Trucks Kawasaki team, is from Acworth, Georgia.
Carmichael got the holeshot, lost it briefly, got it back, and led most of the way. For the first part of the race he was chased by Team SoBe Suzuki’s Travis Pastrana. That threat ended when Pastrana fell over, suffering the ill effects of the flu, just after the finish line jump on the 11th lap. Carmichael’s lead grew to about 15 seconds.
“I was inching away before he crashed,” Carmichael said. “After that came out I just put it on cruise mode after that point.”
From then on, Carmichael was home free, winning the 20-lap event by 13.776 secs.
Yamaha’s Ferry had a successful return to Supercross finishing second. It was his first podium of the year and his first Daytona Supercross podium. Ferry had been out since the Phoenix Supercross, round four of the season.
“I knew my speed was there,” said Ferry, who’d bruised his lungs at Phoenix. “I didn’t know how my endurance was going to be.”
Ferry said he’d been riding for three or four weeks and was trying to come back at 100 percent.
“A lot of people thought this was a long race to do that,” said Ferry, a native Floridian. “But to me, and these guys too, we grew up riding on tracks like this.”
Team Chevy Truck’s Kawasaki’s Lusk earned his first podium with his third, 15 seconds behind Ferry after a late-race battle with American Honda’s Sebastien Tortelli.
“Excited is a really good word for it,” Lusk said after moving into third in the points standings with 132 points. “My first podium halfway through the season.”
Lusk said the race was more difficult because the course wasn’t in proper shape.
“This is the most demanding and not so well prepped track we race on all year,” Lusk said.
Carmichael echoed his comments.
“I don’t think it was prepped as good as it was last year.”
Team Honda’s Sebastien Tortelli made up for a bad start to finish fourth, passing fifth-place finisher Jeremy McGrath of the Bud Light Yamaha team.
1.Ricky Carmichael (Hon); 2. Tim Ferry (Yam); 3. Ezra Lusk (Kaw); 4. Sebastien Tortelli (Hon); 5. Jeremy McGrath (Yam); 6. Nathan Ramsey (Hon); 7. Ernesto Fonseca (Hon); 8. Nick Wey (Yam); 9. Damon Huffman (Suz); 10. Heath Voss (Hon); 11. Kyle Lewis (Hon); 12. Stephane Roncada (Kaw); 13. Jason Thomas (Yam); 14. Keith Johnson (Yam); 15. James Povolny (Hon); 16. Barry Carsten (Suz); 17. Kevin Crine (Hon); 18. Jeremias Israel (Hon); 19. Brian Mason (Kaw); 20. James Oehlhof (Yam); 21. Brian Stone (Kaw); 22. Jean-Sebastien Roy.