An Open Letter From Ricky Carmichael

August 25th 2005

I wish that I could write one of these when everything was perfect. Maybe next time?

I am writing this to hopefully shed a little light on this mess with Brownie and the MXDN. I want to begin by letting you know that Mike and I have not had any falling out at all. Mike has been a guest of mine for weeks at a time this season and is always welcome at my house. I have always been there for Mike and consider him a valued friend. This has not changed.

I am a little upset about the press release that Dan Dilkey wrote this week. I understand that he is upset for Mike and he wants to make his opinion known, but he doesn’t seem to have his facts straight. For instance, Dan wrote about a meeting that did not include Mike, implying that he was not invited. The fact is that Mike had already left the track and was to be included in the brief meeting that Kevin and I attended with Steve Whitelock on Sunday after the race. This meeting covered several topics ranging from approving our helmet designs for the team to the hotel information for the trip to a possible film crew following us to document our trip and of course our concern for Mike with his struggles these past few weeks.

Regarding Mike, Kevin and I made it clear that as riders we should NOT be put in a position to pick the team. We are totally committed to the MXDN and don’t just want to go, we want to win. However, we should not be put in a position to pick the team or in this case to determine if a chosen rider should be removed from the team. I suggested at this meeting that in the future we should send the 125 Outdoor National Champion, the 250 Outdoor National Champ and the next best available rider. (If an American rider does not win the Championship then the highest ranking American rider would be chosen.) My hope would be that every rider would start the outdoor season hoping to do well enough to be chosen for the team. When we left the meeting we were told by Steve that he would be speaking to Mike and that he would follow up with us.

Let me remind you that Mike and I have spent a lot of time together lately. We have ridden together, trained together and even traveled together on a private jet that I had arranged for the East Coast events. Mike attended dinner at my Mom and Dad’s house for “Family Night” every Tuesday–he is family. We have discussed the issues that Mike has been having with his equipment and the difficulty of racing at the top level as a privateer. I have seen how frustrated that Mike has become these past few weeks; he even packed up his stuff after Millville and left my house without saying anything because he was so frustrated. When asked by my mechanic where he was going, Mike told him that he was going home and that maybe they should pick someone else to ride on the MXDN team. I knew that he was just frustrated and didn’t take his leaving as anything other than that. I’m also sure that being at home with his wife and son would also help his spirits.

Like me, Mike is super-competitive. He wears his heart on his sleeve and kills himself to win. I think that his struggles over the past several rounds of the series are bothering him more than this MXDN trip. I try to remind myself that Mike did not write the press release and I understand that people around him are very upset about this decision. I spoke to Mike on Tuesday night before the press release went out and he and I are fine; that’s why I was so surprised to see the message online the next day.

I feel bad for Steve Whitelock too. The MXDN venture is extremely expensive and packed with pressure for everyone. The manufacturers are absorbing a huge expense to send over a full staff with parts and equipment with the expectation of winning. I’m sure that Steve has been pulled in all directions and will take the blame for most of this decision even though I’m sure that it was not his decision alone.

In closing let me say that I’m sorry for Mike. If I was the reason tthat he is not on the team I would say so. I will also tell you that I still plan to give 100% effort to win the MXDN and will back the team that we are sending.

Thanks as always,