Carmichael heads into Las Vegas with 10 point lead

AMA Supercross Series 250cc/125cc West
Round 15: Salt Lake City, UT
April 26, 2003


In the two-year history of Supercross competition in Salt Lake City, Utah,
Ricky Carmichael is the only winner that Rice-Eccles Stadium knows.
Revisiting Utah for round 15 of the 16-round AMA Supercross Series,
Carmichael planned to keep that streak alive. As bad luck would have it,
the Salt Lake City crowd saw an unfamiliar Carmichael, who suffered a poor
start and then a third lap crash as a result of a tangle with eventual race
winner Chad Reed.

"I don't want to settle for second, but if I have to in order to win the
championship, then I will," said Carmichael, who indeed finished second
after a rough night of racing. "In a perfect world I'd pull the holeshot
and go."

After winning his Heat by a comfortable 8.6 seconds, it appeared that a
three-peat in Utah was likely for Carmichael. Even after netting a poor
start in the Main Event, Carmichael showed the speed needed to ultimately
come out on top. However, when Carmichael and Reed came together and the #4
Honda hit the ground, a win seemed unlikely.

"I came up on the short end of the stick and fell down," Carmichael simply
stated.

A crash may have prevented the two-time Supercross champion from his 88th
career victory, but a smashed exhaust pipe still couldn't rob the shear
power of Carmichael and his Honda CR250R. From the ground he resumed racing
in sixth place on lap three and had climbed to second place on lap nine,
where he would eventually finish the Main Event.

"I don't need to subject myself to any of the chaos, and that begins with
getting a good start," said Carmichael after the race. "My starts were
terrible tonight. Obviously that has to change before next weekend."

From an event standpoint, the evening could have gone much smoother for
Carmichael, but as far as the Supercross title is concerned, the two-time
champion still enjoys a ten-point advantage over Reed and enters the final
round of the series the favorite for the series title. Mathematically if
Reed wins the final round next week in Las Vegas, Nevada, Carmichael can
finish as far back as fifth and sew up a third consecutive Supercross
championship.

While Carmichael leaves Salt Lake City with the series points lead, Honda's
Ernesto Fonseca heads to Vegas with a near lock on third in the 250
Supercross points standings. Like Carmichael, Fonseca rode well in his
Heat, and like Carmichael, Fonseca didn't get the start he was looking for
in the Main Event.

"I got a bad start and that made things more difficult, but luckily my bike
was working great," explained Fonseca, who completed the first lap of the
Main in ninth. "I was able to get through the whoops fast, which was the
toughest section of the whole track and from there I just picked off guys
one by one.

"I'm trying to concentrate on getting closer to these guys (Carmichael and
Reed) every week," continued Fonseca. "Tonight I rode well and hopefully
I'll ride even better next week in Vegas."

While 250 Supercross contestants have one remaining round in their point
competition, the 125 Western Region points race was wrapped up in Salt Lake
City. Although James Stewart captured the championship one round early in
Dallas, Texas, the rest of the field used the Utah event as a last
opportunity for bragging rights. With Amsoil/Chaparral/Factory Connection
Honda's Travis Preston sitting out the event due to a knee injury that he
suffered while practicing earlier in the week, teammate Chris Gosselaar
represented the team solo. Gosselaar himself was riding in pain, after a
crash on Friday left him with a broken left ankle, but it didn't stop him
from posting a respectable seventh place finish.

Next weekend 125 riders from both regions will face off in the Dave Coombs
Sr. East/West Shootout, but most of the attention in Las Vegas, Nevada's
Sam Boyd Stadium will undoubtedly center on Ricky Carmichael. The event
will mark only the third time in the past 14 years that the 250 Supercross
Championship is awarded at the season finale. With a two-year Las Vegas
win-streak, backing from a dedicated Honda Team, and an unmatched hunger to
win, Carmichael will arrive at the final ready to rock.

250 Main Event Results:
1. Chad Reed - Yamaha
2. Ricky Carmichael - Honda
3. Ernesto Fonseca - Honda
4. Nick Wey - Yamaha
5. Sean Hamblin - Yamaha
11. Larry Ward - Honda
14. Jason Thomas - Honda
16. Ted Campbell - Honda
17. James Povolny - Honda
18. Doug Dehaan - Honda

250 AMA Supercross Point Standings:
1. Ricky Carmichael - Honda - 345
2. Chad Reed - Yamaha - 335
3. Ernesto Fonseca - Honda - 205
4. Nick Wey - Yamaha - 187
5. Tim Ferry - Yamaha - 177
9. Larry Ward - Honda - 149
13. Michael Byrne - Honda - 75
14. Mike LaRocco - Honda - 73
19. Damon Huffman - Honda - 55

125 West Main Event Results:
1. James Stewart - Kawasaki
2. Billy Laninovich - KTM
3. Eric Sorby - Kawasaki
4. Andrew Short - Suzuki
5. Shane Bess - Suzuki
7. Chris Gosselaar - Honda

125 Western Region Point Standings:
1. James Stewart - Kawasaki - 197
2. Travis Preston - Honda - 138
3. Andrew Short - Suzuki - 128
4. Billy Laninoivich - KTM - 123
5. Matt Walker - Kawasaki - 110
7. (Tie) Chris Gosselaar - Honda - 95
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