2004 AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship Television Season Kicks Off With Hangtown Classic This Weekend

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 20, 2004) — Many questions loomed at the beginning of the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship. Perhaps the biggest was how reigning champ Ricky Carmichael would fare after taking off the last seven months to have his injured knee surgically reconstructed. Also, Hangtown would mark ¿RC¿s¿ first race on a booming four-stroke after a record-setting career winning championships on a two-stroke. Finally, Carmichael has announced this will be his last season on a Honda as he will switch to a Suzuki beginning with the 2005 AMA Supercross season in January. Considering Honda has won twice as many AMA 250 Motocross Championships as Suzuki, this surprise announcement raised plenty of eyebrows as most assumed Carmichael would finish out his illustrious career with Honda. As the first race approached, many wondered if Carmichael could quickly return to form considering the significant challenges and issues surrounding him.

In the 125 class there were also questions. Would the omnipotent James ¿Bubba¿ Stewart be able to continue his domination of the class and, with a field now comprised virtually entirely of four-stroke machinery, would his decision to remain two stroke-mounted be a wise one?

Answers to these questions and more will be revealed this weekend as the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship TV season kicks off on ESPN2.

ESPN2 will telecast 24 hours of programming, the first of which begins this Saturday at noon Eastern time. Each weekly show will feature a different round of the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship and will be hosted by Todd Harris and Cameron Steele. Jamie Little will be reporting from the pits.

The Hangtown Classic is one of the oldest events on the AMA Motocross calendar and seems to always produce tremendous racing. This year was no exception. The course was reconfigured slightly for 2004 and the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club had the historic circuit groomed to perfection. A record-setting crowd was on hand as the tens of thousands of fans surrounded the sun-drenched track and were treated to a day of incredible racing. Thanks to the ESPN2 telecast, fans across the country will have the same opportunity from the comfort of their living rooms.

Along with the questions surrounding Carmichael and Stewart, interest was running high on whether or not recently-crowned AMA Supercross Champion Chad Reed could translate his domination of the tight, technical confines of supercross to the high-speed, rough and tumble world of motocross. Likewise, the popular Kevin Windham, who finished a close second in the 2004 THQ AMA Supercross Series by winning the last two races, has momentum on his side entering the motocross season and is determined to capture a championship. Front runner David Vuillemin is always a threat, too.

Up and coming riders like Broc Hepler and Davi Millsaps will face the battles of their lives as they try to displace the mighty Stewart from the top of the podium. This will be Stewart¿s last season in the 125 class and the upstarts would like nothing more than to beat Stewart before he moves up to the premier class. Top 125 pilots Mike Brown, Ryan Hughes and Stephane Roncada figure to have something to say about the matter as well.

In addition to complete racing coverage, the ESPN2 telecasts will feature behind-the scenes looks at the riders and teams that make up the championship. Coverage will be within one week of the race and there will be at least one repeat telecast. One-hour shows featuring the 125- and 250-class will be shown back-to-back.

Tune in to ESPN2 this Saturday at noon for round one of the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship from Hangtown and see it unfold.

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

2004 Hangtown Classic ESPN2 Television Schedule

Air Date, Air Time, Class

Saturday 5/22, 12-1 p.m., 125

Saturday 5/22, 1-2 p.m., 250

Friday 5/28, 3-4 a.m., 125 (repeat)

Friday 5/28, 4-5 p.m., 250 (repeat)

Note: All times are EST.  Check local listings

About AMA Pro Racing

AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.