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Carmichael Takes Win In Minneapolis!

AMA Supercross Series 250cc/125cc East
Round 7: Minneapolis, MN
February 15, 2003

Below freezing temperatures in Minneapolis didn't stop Red Rider Ricky

Carmichael from heating up the inside of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

on Saturday night. After getting a third place start, the defending

champion from the Sunshine State put his Honda CR250R in the lead on lap 6,

and was never challenged again. Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Factory Connection

Red Rider Michael Byrne experienced a more eventful night in the kick-off

of 125 Eastern Region action. Byrne started the 15-lap Main from beneath

the pile of a first turn crash, but worked his Honda CR125R up to third


Carmichael showed more than just sheer speed in Minneapolis while

collecting his 30th all-time Supercross victory. He demonstrated maturity

and patience, wearing down his fellow competitors before moving into the

lead and turning up the heat.

"I tried to do things right this weekend," said Carmichael, who was

personally disappointed with his own third place performance at the

previous round in San Diego. "I didn't get too anxious tonight. That takes

a lot of focus. Everyone was riding really fast, but I stuck to my main

focus, which is racing the track."

With clear sailing, Carmichael raced the track from lap six to 20 with no

one in front of him but lappers. He ended the evening with a 7.999-second

advantage over second place, stretching his points lead to 14. In addition,

Carmichael won his heat race with a cushion of 13.709 seconds. It was in

the same heat race however, that his teammate, Ernesto Fonseca suffered a

devastating crash, making his return for one of the evening's semi races


Between practice and the first heat race, track workers re-sculptured the

rapidly decaying track, changing the jump face of a tricky rhythm section.

During practice Fonseca was one of few racers able to conquer the section,

but in his heat race he attempted to seat bounce the jump, and came up

short hitting the ground instead.

Carmichael was another rider able to clear the section during practice, but

not after the track conditions had changed. "The dirt was really moist and

tacky with awesome traction," said Carmichael about the beginning of the

weekend. "By evening the track started getting harder and dryer with less

traction. The conditions definitely changed throughout the weekend."

"Ernesto was checked out by the mobile medical unit, which is a great asset

to the series," said Honda Motocross Team Manager Erik Kehoe. "His hand was

sore and he was able to go right in, get an X-ray and in five minutes they

were able to rule out any possibility of a broken bone in his hand.

"He was pretty sore and beat up but he went ahead and raced his semi and

got second," continued Kehoe. "He rode to a 10th place finish in the main

event, which is pretty good considering he was pretty beat up."

Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Factory Connection Red Rider Mike LaRocco came to

round seven in Minneapolis recovering from a shoulder injury suffered at

round five in Anaheim, California. The Rock chose to sit out the following

round in order to let the shoulder heal, but a first turn crash in his

Minneapolis heat race left the shoulder even more tender. LaRocco was not

able to continue and will be out of action indefinitely.

LaRocco's Factory Connection teammate, Michael Bryne, continued to show

blistering speed?this time on a CR125. But the first lap of his heat race

and main event were not kind to him. Byrne, who is a favorite for the 125

Eastern Region Championship, crashed in his heat race when he and another

rider tangled going over the finish line jump on the first lap. He got up

and finished a respectable fifth, but in the main event, Bryne wouldn't get

past the first turn before going down.

"I didn't get the start I wanted, so I was caught in the middle of the pack

going into the first turn," said Byrne. "Two guys on the outside of me hit

each other and fell over on me. I got dragged down with both of them and

then had to get up and make the most of it."

Byrne made the most of it indeed, slicing his way from 16th place on the

first lap to a remarkable third place on lap eleven. With four laps

remaining, Byrne was unable to climb any higher on the podium than third,

but based on his blistering speed throughout the evening, he doesn't seem

to be worried. "Next week we'll be back in business," said a confident


Factory Connection's newest recruit, Ryan Mills, is obviously enjoying the

fruits of riding beside Byrne and LaRocco, as he finished a respective 11th

in his first race of the season. Mills will try to improve on his results

next week as he and his fellow Honda Red Riders will heat up the South on

February 22 in Atlanta, Georgia.

250 Main Event Results:

1. Ricky Carmichael - Honda

2. Ezra Lusk - Kawasaki

3. Tim Ferry - Yamaha

4. David Vuillemin - Yamaha

5. Nick Wey - Yamaha

7. Damon Huffman - Honda

9. Larry Ward - Honda

10. Ernesto Fonseca - Honda

11. Jason Thomas - Honda

14. Clark Stiles - Honda

18. James Povolny - Honda

19. Marco Dube - Honda

250 AMA Supercross Point Standings:

1. Ricky Carmichael - Honda - 160

2. Chad Reed - Yamaha - 146

3. David Vuillemin - Yamaha - 127

4. Ezra Lusk - Kawasaki - 120

5. Tim Ferry - Yamaha - 114

6. Michael Byrne - Honda - 75

11. Mike LaRocco - Honda - 60

12. Ernesto Fonseca - Honda - 59

13. Larry Ward - Honda - 53

15. Damon Huffman - Honda - 42

125 East Main Event Results:

1. Branden Jesseman - Suzuki

2. Brock Sellards - Yamaha

3. Michael Byrne - Honda

4. Michael Brown - Kawasaki

5. Kelly Smith - Yamaha

11. Ryan Mills - Honda

125 Eastern Region Point Standings

1. Branden Jesseman - Suzuki - 25

2. Brock Sellards - Yamaha - 22

3. Michael Byrne - Honda - 20

4. Michael Brown - Kawasaki - 18

5. Kelly Smith - Yamaha - 16

11. Ryan Mills - Honda ? 9

For complete results please see Honda's website at