THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series, Pontiac

Bar To Bar – 3/31/03
By: Art Eckman

(Houston TX.)   It all happened so quickly.  And it interrupted decades of traditional pre-season routines.  “Go to Europe” Clear Channel Motor Sports said, “And we will reward you with financial incentives plus invite your mechanic or significant other, all on our tab.”

There were those whose factory teams who weren¿t keen on the idea of participating in the THQ World Supercross GP series.  There were others whose off season hobbies or recreational leisure meant a late start in getting ready for the traditional AMA supercross series.  Some feared the added competitive racing would further expose them to injury, endangering their seasonal obligations.  And there were those who simply felt more comfortable with their own personal routine.

Several reasons were invented for not participating in the expanded supercross schedule, but now that the 2003 supercross season is in the home stretch, what did those riders who stayed home really miss?

They didn¿t avoid injuries, and illness.  Here we are going to Pontiac with only three factory riders at the gate.  The real answer was money.

They missed the financial incentives Clear Channel instilled to encourage participation.  And it¿s apparent that the biggest financial boost will end up helping the little guy — the privateers who were essential in filling out the field.

Larry Ward inundates his off season with hunting trips. This season he didn¿t read or simply failed to understand the new rules.  In an interview he stated that it was the Nissan pickup truck he really wanted.  He was unaware that in order to be eligible to win the, “Riding to a New Frontier Nissan Privateer Program” (a new pickup) you had to have raced in Europe.  Also to be eligible for the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Pro Privateer Challenge, which awards $25,000 to the top privateer, $15,000 to second place and $10,000 to third, you had to participate in the expanded schedule.

As you¿ll see on the enclosed chart Larry has won more than $13,000 from the traditional Clear Channel Motor Sports Privateer Bonus Awards program, but those privateers like Keith Johnson and Ryan Clark who did go to Europe not only gained experience rubbing shoulders with some veterans like David Vuillemin and Jeremy McGrath but also are in line for some big money for racing only two extra events at no expense.

If the season ended with the current standings Keith Johnson would win $71,479.  Seventy-one THOUSAND bucks!  I can remember when the top privateer got a measly five grand. That¿s $31,647 more than Larry Ward despite Ward¿s lead in the AMA supercross series.

Let¿s compare a couple of support team riders.  Nick Wey¿s fifth place finish in Houston helped him to a 15 point lead over Mach One teammate Heath Voss in the AMA series standings. Wey couldn¿t open the season in Europe because of a back injury suffered in practice.  Voss went to Geneva and Arnhem and is currently in line to make $12,700 more than Wey.

It might be tip change for big contract riders like Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed but just for the curious I added up their current earnings on the season.  Reed by going to the two races in Europe would make $21,400 more than “RC” if the season ended after the race in Houston.  That¿s with Ricky leading the AMA supercross series by 19 points, winning seven races to Chad¿s five, and missing the podium only once to three missed podiums for Reed.  Reed already has the THQ World Supercross GP championship in hand if Vuillemin and Ferry don¿t return off the injury list.

  THQ World GP standings AMA standings Purse & holeshots total
Reed (1st) $100,000 + (2nd) $30,000 + $83,150/$1,500 = $214,650
“RC” DNR Europe +  (1st) $100,000 + $93,250/0 = $193,250
Name THQ Standings AMA Standings Clear Channel Privateer Bonus US Smokeless Privateer Holeshot & purse winnings Total $
Keith Johnson 5th $1,000 10th $5,500 2nd $11,929 1st $25,000 $19,000 $71,479
Ryan Clark 6th $7,500 11th $5,000 3rd $11,596 2nd $15,000 $18,590 $57,686
Damon Huffman 8th $6,500 17th $5,000 4th $5,855 3rd $10,000 $10,100 $37,455
Larry Ward DNR Europe 9th $6,000 1st $13,262 DNR Europe $3,000/$17,370 $39,632

Top Privateers

It used to be in the old days the more veteran riders would get good appearance money to run in off season races overseas.  That well has dried up.  Even the famous Paris race in Bercy has only 125cc bikes at the starting gate.

This year¿s World Supercross GP series made it apparent that it¿s not only the top riders who benefit, but also it also opened up substantial opportunity for those not getting big factory salaries. 

Next year because of the added financial boost expect fewer rejections by those on the top twenty list.  It¿s also likely Clear Channel will try and expand the international series by offering even more financial reward. 

There¿s another future value in establishing a strong European series and it has nothing to do with offering American riders extra cash.  Michael Pichon tells me that young Euros who are not on factory teams can¿t afford to participate.  Dorna just announced it was dropping the World MX GP series.  Pichon sees younger riders coming to the United States earlier just for opportunity.   Helping to build a stronger rider base in Europe can do nothing but strengthen the sport.  My dream would be to see a strong enough world supercross series to be able to have their top ten riders meet America¿s top ten in a World series of supercross.

Come to think of it why couldn¿t we have a Supercross des Nations in Yankee stadium?  Now.    

THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series 250cc Laps Led

Sebastien Tortelli: 12
David Vuillemin: 10
Chad Reed: 103
Ezra Lusk: 10
Ricky Carmichael: 122
Stephane Roncada: 5
Michael Byrne: 8
Larry Ward: 10

AMA Supercross Series 125cc Laps Led

Craig Anderson: 3
Matt Walker: 2
James Stewart: 70
Christopher Gosselaar: 2
Travis Preston: 13
Brock Sellards: 43
Branden Jesseman: 30
Mike Brown: 9
Bret Metcalf: 3
Steve Boniface: 7
Tiger Lacey: 2

250cc THQ World Supercross Series/AMA Supercross Series $1,500 SXGP.com Holeshot Award

Sebastien Tortelli (Geneva, Switzerland and Arnhem, Holland, Anaheim 2): $4,500
Mike Brown (Anaheim 1): $1,500
Chad Reed (Phoenix): $1,500
Paul Carpenter (San Francisco) $1,500
Mike LaRocco (Anaheim 3): $1,500
Michael Byrne (San Diego and Anaheim 3): $3,000
Ezra Lusk: (Minneapolis): $1,500
Larry Ward: (Atlanta and Houston): $3,000
Travis Preston (Indianapolis): $1,500
Danny Smith (St. Louis): $1,500

125cc AMA Supercross Series $1,000 SXGP.com Holeshot Award (125cc)

David Pingree (Anaheim 1) $1,000
Craig Anderson (Phoenix) $1,000
Billy Laninovich (Anaheim 2) $1,000
Eric Sorby (San Francisco and Anaheim 3) $2,000
Tiger Lacy (Anaheim 3, San Diego, and Houston): $2,000
Kelly Smith (Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Indianapolis): $3,000
Steve Boniface (St. Louis): $1,500

Last Week¿s Recap

HOUSTON (March 29, 2003) – Rookie Chad Reed, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., rode his 250cc Yamaha to his fifth THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series race of the season in front of 40,422 fans at the inaugural race at Reliant Stadium. Team Yamaha¿s Brock Sellards, of Sherrodsville, Ohio, won his second 125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series race of the season.

125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Results From Houston

  1. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha
  2. Ivan Tedesco, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha
  3. Bret Metcalfe, Australia, KTM
  4. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki
  5. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki
  6. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda
  7. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM
  8. Tiger Lacey, Wolf Creek, Ore., Yamaha
  9. Jeff Gibson, Thornville, Ohio, Suzuki
  10. Michael Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Yamaha

125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Standings

  1. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki, 135
  2. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki, 123
  3. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha, 118
  4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, KTM, 85
  5. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha, 83
  6. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM, 72
  7. Erick Vallejo, Mexico, NL, Yamaha, 71
  8. Mattieu Lalloz, France, Suzuki, 67
  9. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda, 63
  10. Michael Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Yamaha, 47

125cc Western Regional AMA Supercross Season Standings

  1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki, 147
  2. Travis Preston, Hesperia, Calif., Honda, 116
  3. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Suzuki, 92
  4. Billy Laninovich, Escondido, Calif., KTM, 91
  5. Matt Walker, McRae, ¿s top ten in a World series of supercross.

    Come to think of it why couldn¿t we have a Supercross des Nations in Yankee stadium?  Now.    

    THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series 250cc Laps Led

    Sebastien Tortelli: 12
    David Vuillemin: 10
    Chad Reed: 103
    Ezra Lusk: 10
    Ricky Carmichael: 122
    Stephane Roncada: 5
    Michael Byrne: 8
    Larry Ward: 10

    AMA Supercross Series 125cc Laps Led

    Craig Anderson: 3
    Matt Walker: 2
    James Stewart: 70
    Christopher Gosselaar: 2
    Travis Preston: 13
    Brock Sellards: 43
    Branden Jesseman: 30
    Mike Brown: 9
    Bret Metcalf: 3
    Steve Boniface: 7
    Tiger Lacey: 2

    250cc THQ World Supercross Series/AMA Supercross Series $1,500 SXGP.com Holeshot Award

    Sebastien Tortelli (Geneva, Switzerland and Arnhem, Holland, Anaheim 2): $4,500
    Mike Brown (Anaheim 1): $1,500
    Chad Reed (Phoenix): $1,500
    Paul Carpenter (San Francisco) $1,500
    Mike LaRocco (Anaheim 3): $1,500
    Michael Byrne (San Diego and Anaheim 3): $3,000
    Ezra Lusk: (Minneapolis): $1,500
    Larry Ward: (Atlanta and Houston): $3,000
    Travis Preston (Indianapolis): $1,500
    Danny Smith (St. Louis): $1,500

    125cc AMA Supercross Series $1,000 SXGP.com Holeshot Award (125cc)

    David Pingree (Anaheim 1) $1,000
    Craig Anderson (Phoenix) $1,000
    Billy Laninovich (Anaheim 2) $1,000
    Eric Sorby (San Francisco and Anaheim 3) $2,000
    Tiger Lacy (Anaheim 3, San Diego, and Houston): $2,000
    Kelly Smith (Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Indianapolis): $3,000
    Steve Boniface (St. Louis): $1,500

    Last Week¿s Recap

    HOUSTON (March 29, 2003) – Rookie Chad Reed, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., rode his 250cc Yamaha to his fifth THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series race of the season in front of 40,422 fans at the inaugural race at Reliant Stadium. Team Yamaha¿s Brock Sellards, of Sherrodsville, Ohio, won his second 125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series race of the season.

    125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Results From Houston

    1. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha
    2. Ivan Tedesco, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha
    3. Bret Metcalfe, Australia, KTM
    4. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki
    5. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki
    6. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda
    7. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM
    8. Tiger Lacey, Wolf Creek, Ore., Yamaha
    9. Jeff Gibson, Thornville, Ohio, Suzuki
    10. Michael Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Yamaha

    125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Standings

    1. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki, 135
    2. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki, 123
    3. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha, 118
    4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, KTM, 85
    5. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha, 83
    6. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM, 72
    7. Erick Vallejo, Mexico, NL, Yamaha, 71
    8. Mattieu Lalloz, France, Suzuki, 67
    9. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda, 63
    10. Michael Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Yamaha, 47

    125cc Western Regional AMA Supercross Season Standings

    1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki, 147
    2. Travis Preston, Hesperia, Calif., Honda, 116
    3. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., Suzuki, 92
    4. Billy Laninovich, Escondido, Calif., KTM, 91
    5. Matt Walker, McRae, Ga., Kawasaki, 90
    6. Danny Smith, Middleton, Idaho, Suzuki, 81
    7. Eric Sorby, France, Kawasaki, 72
    8. Christopher Gosselaar, Corona, Calif., Honda, 65
    9. Sean Hamblin, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki, 65
    10. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Yamaha, 61

    250cc AMA Supercross Series Event Results from Houston

    1. Chad Reed, Corona, Calif., Yamaha
    2. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Honda
    3. Ernesto Fonseca, Canyon Lake, Calif., Honda
    4. Larry Ward, Florence, S.C., Honda
    5. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha
    6. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha
    7. Greg Schnell, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Yamaha
    8. Clark Stiles, Athens, Ala., Honda
    9. Sean Hamblin, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki
    10. Ryan Clark, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha

    250cc AMA Supercross Series Season Standings

    1. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Honda, 279
    2. Chad Reed, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 260
    3. David Vuillemin, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 169
    4. Tim Ferry, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha, 163
    5. Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, Ga., Kawasaki, 149
    6. Ernesto Fonseca, Canyon Lake, Calif., 145
    7. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha, 138
    8. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Yamaha, 123
    9. Larry Ward, Florence, S.C. Honda, 111
    10. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 101

    250cc THQ World Supercross GP Season Standings

    1. Chad Reed, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 301
    2. David Vuillemin, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 238
    3. Tim Ferry, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha, 216
    4. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Yamaha, 181
    5. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 175
    6. Ryan Clark, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 165
    7. Mike LaRocco, South Bend, Ind., Honda, 136
    8. Damon Huffman, Canyon Country, Calif., Honda, 124
    9. Sebastien Tortelli, Temecula, Calif., Suzuki, 121
    10. Grant Langston, Lake Elsinore, Calif., KTM, 76

    Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports Privateer Bonus Awards Summary

    Ryan Clark:  $11,596.02
    Keith Johnson:  $11,929.37
    Larry Ward:  $13,262.79
    Damon Huffman:  $5,855.01
    Ted Campbell:  $1,888.98
    Erik Vallejo:  $4,111.33
    Paul Carpenter:  $2,804.40
    Casey Lytle:  $3,703.88
    Bobby Bonds:  $740.78
    Clark Stiles:  $4,706.84
    Greg Schnell:  $3,595.64
    Jason Thomas:  $1,902.45
    Brian Mason:  $1,902.47
    Marco Dube:  $606.09
    James Povolny Jr:  $606.09
    Joseph Oehlhof:  $2,458.08
    Doug Dehaan:  $555.58
    Josh Demuth:  $555.60
    Rene Tercero Reyes:  $555.60

    MMI Top Tech Award

    Skip Norfolk (Anaheim 1):  $250
    Paul Delaurier (Phoenix):  $250
    Alex Ewing (Anaheim 2):  $250
    Larry Lacey (San Francisco):  $250
    Freddy Timberlake (Anaheim 3):  $250
    Chris Loschiavo (San Diego):  $250
    John Mitchell (Minny):  $250
    Alan Brown (Atlanta):  $250
    Rob Stiwell (Indy):  $250
    James Gresham (St. Louis):  $250
    Joey Bass (Houston):  $250

    Asterisk Medical Card

    Anaheim 1: Steve Lampson
    Phoenix: Troy Adams
    Anaheim 2: Turbo Reif
    San Fran: Tim Weigand
    Anaheim 3: Logan Darien
    San Diego: David Delgli (Italy)
    Minneapolis: Shane Lusk
    Atlanta: Charlie Dagner
    Indy: Kyle Garro
    St. Louis: Matt Shue
    Houston: Ryan Abrigo

    “Riding to a New Frontier” Nissan Privateer Program:

    Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 175
    Ryan Clark, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 165
    Damon Huffman, Canyon Country, Calif., Honda, 124

    U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Adult Pro Privateer Challenge Awards:

    Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 175
    Ryan Clark, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 165
    Damon Huffman, Canyon Country, Calif., Honda, 124

    125cc Western Region AMA Supercross Series Rider Finishes

    James Stewart #259
    Anaheim 1, CA: 2