LaRocco Wins U.S. Open Round One

Kit Palmer | October 11, 2002

The first round of the U.S. Open supercross in Las Vegas is now over and it appears that Ricky Carmichael’s win streak will come to an end, but, in a way, it already has. Tonight at the MGM Grand Hotel Arena, Mike LaRocco came away the surprise winner after Carmichael, who was leading after the third lap, crashed and spent the rest of the 20-lap race working his way up through the pack, keeping the 5000-plus fans in attendance very entertained.

Carmichael began his comeback in dead last, but frantically fought his way up through the pack, taking out a couple of riders along the way, such as Ezra Lusk and Grant Langston. Carmichael climbed to sixth where he found a very resistant road block in the way of Chad Reed, who had also crashed early on. The two riders battled fiercely until Carmichael made a nice, inside block pass on the Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy rider to take over fifth, where he would end up finishing out the race. Reed hung right with Carmichael’s Honda for the remaining few laps to finish sixth. Even if the two-time U.S. Open Champion, Carmichael, wins round two tomorrow night, it is doubtful he’ll come away the overall winner with a 5-1 tally.

Standing a good chance to win it all, however, is tonight’s winner LaRocco and runner-up Tim Ferry. LaRocco inherited the lead when Carmichael crashed and went on to take the win relatively unchallenged.

“It was one of the easiest wins I’ve had in a long time,” LaRocco said.

Ferry, however, had to work a bit harder. The Yamaha rider had to fight his way around Michaely Byrne before settling into second and cruising to the finish. LaRocco’s Amsoil/Dr. Martens/Journeys/Honda teammate Byrne finished out the race in third, ahead of Boost Mobil/Yamaha of Troy’s Iven Tedesco, Carmichael, Reed, Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca and Team Solitaire’s Ryan Clark. Heath Voss and Lusk rounded out the top 10.

In the Four-Stroke class, Moto XXX/Yoshimura’s Kyle Lewis won the first moto and KTM’s Red Bull Brock Sellards won the second moto. Lewis crashed hard in the second moto and finished well down in the field, but there are still two motos to go. In the 125cc class, Suzuki-mounted Broc Hepler and Honda’s Ryan Mills went 1-2 both times, while Kawasaki rider Christopher Pourcel and Honda’s Mike Alessi traded moto wins in the 85cc class.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.