AMA Supercross Preview/Review

Sean Alexander
by Sean Alexander

PICKERINGTON, Ohio ~ 2003 is Chad Reed's first full season in the premier class of AMA Supercross, but he's not racing like a class rookie. The 20-year-old Australian comes into this Saturday's (Jan. 11) AMA Supercross at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, the leader of the pack after winning the season opener last week in Anaheim, Calif. Reed's victory last Saturday night was his first AMA Supercross Series 250-class win and pegs him as a serious challenger to defending series champion and two-time Phoenix winner Ricky Carmichael.

Carmichael, the winningest active rider in AMA Supercross, is shooting for his third-straight AMA Supercross Championship this year. He's also hoping to earn his third straight at Bank One Ballpark. Carmichael won there last year over Suzuki's Travis Pastrana and Yamaha's David Vuillemin and is anxious to get to the second round after a tough night in Anaheim. Despite crashing twice in the series opener, Carmichael salvaged second place and didn't sound too worried about having his 15-race AMA Supercross/Motocross winning streak snapped.
"I know where I want to be in Las Vegas and I know what it takes to win," Carmichael said referring to the season-long points chase and the finale in May. "This week will be a long one for me. It's always a long week after I lose, so I'm looking forward to Phoenix and we'll see how it goes there." Reed is also looking for the opportunity to race Carmichael head to head. "I'm just looking forward to next weekend," Reed said talking about Phoenix after winning last week. "There's been so much talk that maybe I'll be the one who'll finally beat Ricky. Tonight I beat him, but he was on the ground so maybe it wasn't fair. I really want to beat him fair and square."

Reed's Yamaha teammate Tim Ferry comes into this weekend's race a quiet third and is hoping to get his first victory in Phoenix. Yet a third Yamaha rider, Frenchman David Vuillemin, should be a top contender in the Ballpark. Vuillemin won the race in Phoenix in 2000. He's ranked fourth coming into the second round of the series. Suzuki's star Travis Pastrana got caught up in a four-bike pileup last week and finished a disappointing 19th. Last year's Phoenix runner-up will be looking to rebound Saturday evening. An aggravated knee injury may keep him sidelined but he's vowing to race. Teammate, Sebastien Tortelli, made the move from Honda to Suzuki this year and comes into Phoenix ranked fifth.

Jeremy McGrath, the winner of the very first AMA Supercross race held in Bank One Ballpark in 1999, retired a few days before the opening round, but he will be at Phoenix to make a special lap of honor prior to the main event.

The AMA 125 West Supercross event will support the 250 main event Saturday.Defending champ Travis Preston, of Amsoil Chaparral Honda, was impressive in winning the opener and is aiming to hold off rival James Stewart again in Phoenix. Stewart won the 125 race in Phoenix last year and the 17-year-old Kawasaki rider likes his chances this week. "I like Phoenix," said Stewart, lastyear's AMA Rookie of the Year. "I'll be practicing everyday leading up to therace to be ready."

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About AMA Pro Racing:
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship and the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship.

Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit
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