Carmichael Swinging for a Triple at the Houston Supercross

PICKERINGTON, Ohio ¿ Honda¿s Ricky Carmichael comes to Reliant Stadium this Saturday, March 29, hoping to win his third straight AMA Houston Supercross. Carmichael, 23, of Havana, Fla., leads the 2003 AMA Supercross Series point standings by 22 points over series rival Chad Reed coming into this weekend¿s round 12 of the 16-race series. While AMA Supercross has been coming to the Houston Astrodome since 1974, this Saturday¿s race will be held in the neighboring beautiful new Reliant Stadium. Reliant, home to the NFL¿s Houston Texans, is a state-of-the-art facility that features a retractable roof. The stadium operates like an open-air facility but is said to have the intimacy and comfort of an indoor arena. It promises to be an excellent venue to watch an AMA Supercross event.

Carmichael seemed to open an almost insurmountable lead in the series after winning seven of the last eight rounds. But last week in St. Louis, Reed charged back on his factory Yamaha to win his third race this year, providing hope for fans of the gritty Australian that the series will go down to the wire. Reed and Carmichael diced for the lead early in the St. Louis race before Carmichael crashed. He remounted and sliced through traffic to finish second. Reed¿s victory reduced Carmichael¿s lead from 25 to 22 points. While on the surface that doesn¿t sound like a major difference, it is important in that Reed shrank the gap to under 25 points – the points equivalent of one race win. It means that should Carmichael experience a major problem in one of the remaining five rounds Reed could have a shot of regaining the series lead he held earlier in the season.

Carmichael comes to Houston upset at himself for his mistake last week. In the past when Carmichael gets upset it has made him more even more focused and intense on the track. He¿ll be looking to make a correction this weekend.

¿I am too old to be making stupid mistakes like that,¿ Carmichael said of his St. Louis crash. ¿Every time I get behind him (Reed) I do the same thing and screw it up for myself.  It is fun to ride behind someone instead of having them ride behind me all the time.  I guess I am not used to that.¿ 

After suffering what he called an embarrassing defeat in the Daytona Supercross on March 8, Reed said he refocused his training and feels his efforts have paid off. ¿I know that the championship is far away right now so I am going to keep racing for the wins,¿ he said.

Carmichael comes to the Houston Supercross riding a two-year winning streak in the race. If he is victorious Saturday he would be only the fifth rider in the 29-year history of the race to sweep three wins in a row in Houston. Bob Hannah, Mark Barnett, Jeff Ward and Jeremy McGrath all won at least three-straight Houston Supercross events.

Houston will also host the penultimate round of the AMA 125 East Region Supercross Series. Houston is traditionally a West Region race, but with the addition of San Francisco and the elimination of New Orleans this year, Houston was made an East Region race to balance the schedule.

SoBe Suzuki¿s Branden Jesseman leads the 125 East Series coming into Houston. The Pennsylvania rider won his third race in five starts last weekend in St. Louis, to extend his points lead to 10 over veteran Michael Brown of Kawasaki. The 125 East championship looks as if it will come down to either Jesseman or Brown. Brock Sellards is still clinging to slim title hopes, but a seventh-place finish last week hurt his chances. Jesseman dedicated his victory last week to all of America¿s men and women who are serving in Iraq.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and mh more, log onto www.USMotocross.com.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
RELIANT STADIUM, HOUSTON, TEXAS
FRIDAY MARCH 28,  2003

9:00 am – 10:00 am           –     Team Paddock Parking (Factory / Independent)
10:00 am – 11:00 am         –     Privateer Paddock Parking
10:00 am – 10:00 pm         –     Paddock Gates Open
11:00 am – 2:00 pm           –     AMA Rider Check-In
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm           –     Rider Track Walk
1:00 pm – 1:10 pm             –     250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A
1:13 pm – 1:23 pm             –     250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B
1:26 pm – 1:41 pm             –     250 Factory Riders Practice
1:44 pm – 1:59 pm             –     125 Factory Riders Practice
2:02 pm – 2:12 pm             –     125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A
2:15 pm – 2:25 pm             –     125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B
2:28 pm – 2:38 pm             –     Break
2:40 pm – 2:50 pm             –     250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A
2:53 pm – 3:03 pm             –     250 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B
3:06 pm – 3:21 pm             –     250 Factory Riders Practice
3:25 pm – 3:40 pm             –     125 Factory Riders Practice
3:43 pm – 3:53 pm             –     125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group A
3:56 pm – 4:06pm              –     125 Privateer Riders, Practice Group B
                                             * if less than 40 Riders, Group A & B will be combined

SATURDAY MARCH 29 , 2003

9:00 am – 11:30 am           –     Rider registration and Tech Inspection  at the Venue
9:00 am – 12:00 noon        –     Bonus Awards Participant/Mechanic registration
11:00 am – 12:00 noon      –     Rider Track Walk
11:00 am – 12:00 noon      –     Junior Supercross Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 noon – 12:15 pm      –     Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm           –     125 Practice
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm             –     250 Practice
2:15 pm – 2:45 pm             –     Track Maintenance
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm             –     KTM Practice
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm             –     125 Practice
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm             –     250 Practice
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm             –     Qualifying Heats
5:30 pm – 5:45 pm             –     KTM Practice
5:45 pm – 6:45 pm             –     Track Maintenance
7:00 pm – 7:20 pm             –     Opening Ceremonies
7:30 pm – 7:40 pm             –     125 Heat #1 – 6 laps – 20 riders (1st – 9th to Main)
7:40 pm – 7:50 pm             –     125 Heat #2 – 6 laps – 20 riders (1st – 9th to Main)
7:50 pm – 8:00 pm             –     250 Heat #1 – 8 laps – 20 riders (1st – 4th to Main) (5th – 20th to Semi 1)
8:00 pm – 8:10 pm             –     250 Heat #2 – 8 laps – 20 riders (1st – 4th to Main) (5th – 20th to Semi 2)
8:10 pm – 8:25 pm             –     Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps – 15 riders
8:25 pm – 8:35 pm             –     Track Maintenance (10 minutes)
8:35 pm – 8:40 pm             –     125 Last Chance Qualifier – 4 laps – 22 riders (1st – 4th to Main)
8:40 pm – 8:50 pm             –     250 Semi #1 – 6 laps – 16 riders (1st – 5th to Main) (6th – 16th to LCQ)
8:50 pm – 9:00 pm             –     250 Semi #2 – 6 laps – 16 riders (1st – 5th to Main) (6th – 16th to LCQ)
9:00 pm – 9:10 pm             –     Track Maintenance
9:10 pm – 9:20 pm             –     250 Last Chance Qualifier – 6 laps – 22 riders                          
9:20 pm – 9:25 pm             –     125 Rider¿s Parade Lap
9:25 pm – 9:45 pm             –     125 Main Event – 15 laps – 22 riders
9:50 pm – 9:55 pm             –     250 Rider¿s Parade Lap
9:55 pm – 10:15 pm           nbsp;     –     125 Practice
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm             –     250 Practice
2:15 pm – 2:45 pm             –     Track Maintenance
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm             –     KTM Practice
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm             –     125 Practice
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm             –     250 Practice
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm             –     Qualifying Heats
5:30 pm – 5:45 pm             –     KTM Practice
5:45 pm – 6:45 pm             –     Track Maintenance
7:00 pm – 7:20 pm             –     Opening Ceremonies
7:30 pm – 7:40 pm             –     125 Heat #1 – 6 laps – 20 riders (1st – 9th to Main)
7:40 pm – 7:50 pm             –     125 Heat #2 – 6 laps – 20 riders (1st – 9th to Main)
7:50 pm – 8:00 pm             –     250 Heat #1 – 8 laps – 20 riders (1st – 4th to Main) (5th – 20th to Semi 1)
8:00 pm – 8:10 pm             –     250 Heat #2 – 8 laps – 20 riders (1st – 4th to Main) (5th – 20th to Semi 2)
8:10 pm – 8:25 pm             –     Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps – 15 riders
8:25 pm – 8:35 pm             –     Track Maintenance (10 minutes)
8:35 pm – 8:40 pm             –     125 Last Chance Qualifier – 4 laps – 22 riders (1st – 4th to Main)
8:40 pm – 8:50 pm             –     250 Semi #1 – 6 laps – 16 riders (1st – 5th to Main) (6th – 16th to LCQ)
8:50 pm – 9:00 pm             –     250 Semi #2 – 6 laps – 16 riders (1st – 5th to Main) (6th – 16th to LCQ)
9:00 pm – 9:10 pm             –     Track Maintenance
9:10 pm – 9:20 pm             –     250 Last Chance Qualifier – 6 laps – 22 riders                          
9:20 pm – 9:25 pm             –     125 Rider¿s Parade Lap
9:25 pm – 9:45 pm             –     125 Main Event – 15 laps – 22 riders
9:50 pm – 9:55 pm             –     250 Rider¿s Parade Lap
9:55 pm – 10:15 pm           –     250 Main Event – 20 laps- 20 riders

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, the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

sp; –     250 Main Event – 20 laps- 20 riders

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, the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.