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Carmichael Garners Sixth Athlete of the Year Nomination

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Nov. 11, 2005) –  Ricky Carmichael added yet another accolade to his remarkable 2005 season by earning his sixth nomination for AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year.

The 25-year-old from Havana, Fla., has the opportunity to become the first four-time recipient of the award.

Carmichael moved to Suzuki for 2005, breathing new life into a team that had been in the doldrums the last few years. Suzuki’s faith in Carmichael was immediately rewarded when he won his fourth AMA Supercross title in May. It was a remarkable comeback for Carmichael, who missed the 2004 Supercross season recovering from knee surgery. It marked just the second AMA Supercross title for Suzuki, its first since 1981.

“They (Suzuki) hadn’t won in a while and there’s no Suzuki curse,” said Carmichael, who previously won the series with Kawasaki and Honda. “Not to discredit any of the other riders that they’ve had on the team. Pastrana, he won the outdoor title and a supercross 125 title, so they have what it takes. But their riders just didn’t get it done. They have a great team, and they get all of the credit. It changed things around. I think they’re confident in themselves and their work, and that’s important.” The “curse” to which Carmichael was referring was an industry myth that said Suzuki’s motocross/supercross effort was doomed to failure.

Carmichael then turned his attention to the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF and turned in another gem of a season. He simply dominated, going undefeated for the third time in the AMA 250 Motocross and winning the championship for the sixth straight year. 

“I had a great season,” said Carmichael, the all-time wins leader in AMA Motocross. “Makita Suzuki stepped up to the plate and delivered. We came into the year with an unproven motorcycle and we were able to be successful. Helping this team come back to prominence makes me feel like I really accomplished something.”

This year’s titles marked his 12th and 13th AMA national championships, a record unmatched in the history of AMA Motocross and Supercross racing.

The world then had the opportunity to witness Carmichael’s greatness as he led Team USA to victory, along with teammates Kevin Windham and Ivan Tedesco, in the prestigious Motocross of Nations, held this September in France. Carmichael won both motos in the event over the world’s leading motocross racers.

The icing on Carmichael’s 2005 cake came when he dominated both nights of the U.S. Open of Supercross in Las Vegas taking home the first-place prize of $100,000.

The AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor an AMA racer can receive. Past recipients include such legendary names as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker and Kenny Roberts, among others. Generally speaking, the award goes to the rider judged to have had the most successful racing year. A “lifetime achievement” approach can also be considered if the season complements a remarkable career.  

A selection panel made up of AMA and AMA Pro Racing staff, field staff and volunteer leadership is named by the AMA Pro Racing CEO and that panel evaluates nominations and determines the final winner.

The 2005 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year will be named at the AMA Pro Racing Championship Awards Banquet, on Sunday, Nov. 20, at Paris Las Vegas. Along with Ricky Carmichael, Chris Carr, Tommy Hayden, Mat Mladin and Ivan Tedesco are all nominees this year.

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