Carmichael Does the Impossible

| February 4, 2001

Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Ricky Carmichael pulled off an amazing win in front of a sold-out Edison International Field to take over the series lead in 250cc EA Sports Supercross Presented by Speed Stick. In the last 125cc Western Regional race before the Eastern break, Yamaha of Troy’s Ernesto Fonseca took his fourth win in five tries.

A 10th-place start for Carmichael didn’t stop the 21-year-old Floridian from winning his third race of the season, the first in Anaheim, nor did a holeshot by Mazda Yamaha’s seven-time champing Jeremy McGrath, riding on his home track. Behind McGrath off the start, Team Honda’s Ezra Lusk Yamaha of Troy’s Nick Wey and Team Suzuki’s Kevin Windham battled for second place. Lusk quickly moved into second place, and with Carmichael moving up, there was soon a four-brand freight train, with McGrath (Yamaha) leading Lusk (Honda), Windham (Suzuki) and Carmichael (Kawasaki).

Carmichael zapped Windham, then Lusk crashed hard in the whoops on lap nine, putting him out of the race. That left Carmichael in second with about half the race remaining, and he steadily reeled in the champ, passing him just after a triple when McGrath made a mistake and had to double. McGrath re-passed Carmichael and momentarily held the lead again, but Carmichael bounced back to regain the lead and hold on for the win.

“I didn’t get the start I wanted,” Carmichael said. “I had my work cut out for me, but I will take a win any way. This is a great way to win here in Anaheim.”

That might well be an understatement, as many people in attendance got the feeling that they had just witnessed history. After all, it’s not every day that someone beats a strong-starting McGrath after a poor getaway. The win gives Carmichael the series points lead after five rounds with 117 points over McGrath’s 114 and Mike LaRocco’s 96.

It was business as usual for Fonseca, who won the 1999 125cc Eastern Regional Supercross championship, as he nailed down win number four this weekend. Using his fourth-place start, the Costa Rican quickly moved into second place by the second lap behind Team Suzuki’s Danny Smith. Yamaha of Troy’s Justin Buckelew – normally a great starter – sat in a lonely eighth place after turn one. Fast by Ferracci Husqvarna’s Brian McGavaran won the $500 SFX Holeshot Award. With 10 laps remaining, Fonseca powered his YZ250F four-stroke into the lead as he passed Smith in mid-flight. Fonseca held onto the lead followed by Smith and Yamaha’s Greg Schnell, who finished second and third, respectively.

“Everything is going great for me this year,” Fonseca said. “The whole team is doing great this year and we have a great crew behind us. I almost crashed out there a few times, but it made me ride smarter.”

Fonseca’s 125cc Western Regional Supercross Series lead extends to 16, with 108 points compared to Smith’s 92. Buckelew is third with 91.

Round Six of EA Sports Supercross Series (and the opening 125cc Eastern Regional round) is in Indianapolis’ RCA Dome on February 10th.

By Freelance