Carmichael, Stewart, Reed Bring Big Supercross Battle to Anaheim II

January 18, 2006 7:07am

McGrath showing renewed speed

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (January 18, 2006) – The third round of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series comes to Angel Stadium this Saturday, Jan. 21. After two rounds little separates AMA Supercross’ Big Three of Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed and James Stewart.

After winning last week in Phoenix, Carmichael tied Stewart for the early series lead. Reed’s pair of runner-up finishes places him just a single point from the top spot.

The showdown between Carmichael, Reed and Stewart that was so highly anticipated, but fell apart last year when Stewart went out with an injury, seems to finally be coming to pass in 2006. All three riders are at the peak of their abilities and want badly to come out on top of this historic battle.

Carmichael rode a picture perfect race last week at Chase Field in Phoenix to score his first win of 2006. Upon taking the victory Carmichael looked more ecstatic than after any win in recent memory.

“I am so proud of the team,” said defending champ Carmichael, whose victory at Phoenix marked the first AMA Supercross win for Suzuki’s four-stroke RM-Z450. “We’ve been making the bike better every week and it all came together in Phoenix. Bubba [James Stewart] is the rider to beat right now. I’m the old dog out here trying to build some momentum.”
Carmichael had good reason to be happy. His Phoenix win was his first in AMA Supercross since March 5 of last year win he took the victory in St. Louis. Carmichael comes to Anaheim this weekend the defending winner of Anaheim II.

Stewart won the opening round of the AMA Supercross Series at Anaheim I, but a fall in a first-turn traffic jam in Phoenix put Stewart in last place. He rallied and charged on his Kawasaki to work his way all the way back to third by the checkered flag. That preserved a share of the series lead coming into Anaheim II.

“The crash was tough, but overall I’m not too disappointed,” Stewart said. “I got on the box and am still strong in the points. I’m so motivated right now. I can’t wait for Anaheim II.”

Reed managed a little damage control of his own at Phoenix. He held a commanding lead in the race when his Yamaha suddenly went sideways in a turn with a little jump. His bike nearly did a complete 180 turnaround, but Reed somehow kept it on two wheels. He eventually lost the lead to Carmichael and scored a second straight runner-up finish.

“A mistake on my part cost me the win at Phoenix,” Reed said. “Small errors can prove to make a big difference in this sport. I need to cut those out and I should be good.”

One mild surprise at Phoenix was the fact that seven-time AMA Supercross champ Jeremy McGrath led a lap and a half at Phoenix. He ran in the top three for half the race before eventually finishing fourth. It marked the first time the all-time AMA Supercross wins leader led a lap in a final since April of 2002. It also marked his best finish since making his part-time comeback. McGrath’s Phoenix performance gives new hope to McGrath fans that he still may have a victory left in him.

Sobe/Samsung Honda’s Billy Laninovich emerged with a one-point lead in the AMA Supercross Lites West Series by virtue of a second-place result in Phoenix. American Honda’s Andrew Short, the Anaheim I winner, dropped to second after finishing fifth last week. Red Bull KTM’s Nate Ramsey put himself back into the Lites West championship picture with a victory in Phoenix.

Anaheim I will receive next-day coverage on CBS starting 1:00 pm Eastern.

Doors open to the public Saturday at Angel Stadium at 12:30 pm and the main event starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available at the Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, all participating Yamaha Dealers or charge by phone at 213-480-3232 or 714-740-2000.