Floridian gives Suzuki its first AMA Supercross title in 24 years
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 2, 2005) — After missing an entire THQ AMA Supercross Series season Ricky Carmichael made a triumphant return by wrapping up his fourth AMA Supercross Series championship Saturday night at Reliant Field in Houston. His third-place finish in Houston clinched the title with one race remaining. The 2005 series title was the fourth for Carmichael in AMA Supercross and his 12 AMA national championship overall.
Carmichael¿s championship also marked just the second AMA Supercross Series title for Suzuki. Mark Barnett won the first for Suzuki in 1981.
¿It¿s pretty sweet, for sure,¿ said Carmichael on winning his fourth AMA Supercross championship. ¿For never being on the bike, it¿s my first year on the bike, and I¿m learning a lot. It was great. It was exciting and definitely challenging. I just thank Suzuki for believing in me ¿ they put a lot of things aside from the way they used to do things and they turned things around to where it¿s a championship team.¿
After winning three straight AMA Supercross titles Carmichael missed the entire 2004 series recovering from knee surgery. He also signed with Suzuki for 2005, a team that has had more than its share of misfortune in recent years. Carmichael helped turn all of that around.
¿They (Suzuki) hadn¿t won in a while and there¿s no Suzuki curse,¿ said Carmichael, who also won championships with Kawasaki and Honda. ¿Not to discredit any of the other riders that they¿ve had on the team. Pastrana, he won the outdoor title and a supercross 125 title, so they have what it takes. But their riders just didn¿t get it done. They have a great team, and they get all of the credit. It changed things around. I think they¿re confident in themselves and their work, and that¿s important.¿
The 25-year-old from Havana, Fla., sprinted to his best Supercross start ever winning seven of first nine rounds. In the 15 races leading up to his championship Carmichael never finished off the podium despite facing some of the toughest circumstances ever seen in the series with several rounds held in muddy conditions.
Going into the series finale in Las Vegas this weekend Carmichael has scored seven wins, more than any other rider in the series. He pushed his career AMA Supercross win total to 40, second on the all-time list to Jeremy McGrath. Carmichael¿s four titles also places him behind McGrath for number of AMA Supercross championships. McGrath was a seven-time winner of the series.
Carmichael hopes to polish off the season with a victory in Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday night after having ridden rather conservatively the last few rounds in order to protect his championship lead.
¿Next week (in Las Vegas), I don¿t have anything to lose,¿ Carmichael said. ¿I¿m not going to go out there and ride dirty or anything, but I¿m not going to think twice about what the repercussions could be of it, and I¿m not going to do anything stupid, either. I think I¿ll be a different rider, and I should have no excuses.¿
The 2005 THQ AMA Supercross Series championship is just the latest in perhaps the most impressive resume in all of AMA racing. Carmichael has won more AMA professional titles than any other rider and also has more career national wins than any other rider in the 81-year history of AMA racing. He has been named AMA Pro Racing¿s Athlete of the Year three times.
Next up for Carmichael is the 2005 AMA Motocross Championship. He will be shooting for his sixth straight title in that series.