Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael is looking for AMA Supercross Championship number five
photo: Simon Cudby
sitting in the airport early Sunday morning on our way home from the
Seattle Supercross, we happened upon AMA Race Director Jay Mitrowitz.
And after a brief discussion with Jay, it’s now official: The series
cannot get any closer than it is right now!
After all, it’s all tied up. But no matter how many times we say it,
it’s still hard to comprehend. The 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross
Championship is tied with one round left! Tied! Zero points separate
the top two riders! It just doesn’t get any better than this, does it?
Okay, it does! James Stewart is just five points back, so he’s waiting
for the pressure, or the desperate times, to force RC and CR into an
error. So in reality, we’re looking at three title contenders this
The race is on SPEED live (LIVE!) Saturday night, so if you cannot
attend the race, you can still witness it as it happens. Expect this
weekend to be a watershed moment for the sport – live TV hits at the
same time as the greatest title showdown in history.
Team Kawasaki's James Stewart is looking for his first AMA Supercross Championship
photo: Simon Cudby
first, let’s look at what has to happen for things to, um, happen this
weekend. With Reed and Carmichael tied for points and five in front of
Stewart, Stewart basically needs to win the race to help his odds. No
doubt Carmichael and Reed are prepared for that and realistically
expect their battle to be one for second place. It has to be. If
Stewart wins and either Carmichael or Reed finishes second, then the
rider who gets second edges Stewart by two points to win the title.
What’s even crazier is, whoever finishes third will drop from a tie for
first into third in the final standings!
For example - and we’re just using this hypothetically because we have
no idea how this weekend will work out - if the race ends like this ...
... then the points end like this:
1. Carmichael 338
2. Stewart 336
3. Reed 336
Team Yamaha's Chad Reed is gunning for his second AMA Supercross Championship
photo: Simon Cudby
has seven wins, so he will win a tiebreaker. Carmichael has six wins,
and obviously, if he wins his seventh on Saturday, he would also leave
as the points leader. But if Carmichael or Reed falters even a bit and
neither finishes second, and Stewart wins the race, then Stewart will
win the title.
Stewart was asked in the press conference what needs to happen for
someone else to finish second, and he said, “Burner has to step it up
huge!” referencing his Kawasaki teammate Michael Byrne, who has one
podium this year.
For real, though, if that were to happen, it would end like this ...
...and the points would look like this:
1. Stewart 338
2. Carmichael 338
Stewart would win the title because he would have eight wins to Carmichael’s six.
Damon Bradshaw lost a heartbreaker to Jeff Stanton in '92
photo: Racer X Archives
course, this gets even crazier if all three have problems. Then the
calculators are going to be burning up as Carmichael and Reed battle to
beat each other while trying to preserve that five-point lead over
We can’t wait!
It’s hard to imagine it all coming down to so few points, but now that
it has, you can think of a myriad of situations where the players all
scratched out a few extra positions to stay in the hunt. Reed’s fifth
in the mud in San Fran sticks out, but don’t forget his gritty ride in
Orlando. After busting his shoulder before Daytona and then riding on
it, he was in even worse shape in O-Town and dropped back to nearly
10th at one point. But he dug deep late to pass guys like Windham,
Byrne, and Preston to finish fifth.
Carmichael looked down for the count two weeks ago in Dallas, but he
managed to pass Preston and Windham late in the race to score two more
points. And Stewart’s hard crash in Daytona could have resulted in a
DNF, but he stayed out there and dug out a sixth.
And by the way, the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP Championship is on
the line here, too, and Stewart holds a 12-point lead there. So we’re
looking at the strong possibility of two different champions crowned on
Jeff Stanton was on the winning end of a couple close championship battles
photo: Racer X Archives
wait! There’s more! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at
the historical implications that the series has right now. First of
all, the AMA series has never been tied going into the final round,
which makes this final race one for the ages. And the World SXGP has
never gone down to the final round. Who would’ve thought six months ago
that it would all come down to one final race?
Let's look back throughout the years to see if the series has even been anywhere near this close.
In 2004, Kevin Windham won Vegas to finish just nine points behind Reed
on the season. But Windham was aided by a now-infamous 25-point penalty
against Reed for illegal fuel.
In 2003, when Reed rallied to win the final six races of the season,
Carmichael was able to hold on and win by seven points. But RC knew
where he needed to finish down the stretch, and the title was never in
In 1997, Team Kawasaki’s Jeff Emig came into Vegas with a 13-point lead
over the King of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath. Emig finished fifth while
McGrath, fighting a foot injury, finished seventh. Emig beat MC by 15
In 1992, we witnessed one of the most dramatic chases ever: Team
Honda’s Jeff Stanton toppled Yamaha’s Damon Bradshaw in one of the
grandest finales to a season. Bradshaw entered the race with a
six-point lead and merely needed a podium finish to win the title. But
Bradshaw locked up under pressure and Stanton stepped up to win the
race, emerging as the champion by three points. That’s about as good as
it gets, but there were few people who didn’t expect Bradshaw to win
that day. Most of the excitement came after the race.
David Bailey edged out Mark Barnett by two points to win the AMA Supercross Championship in 1983
Stanton edged French import Jean-Michel Bayle by seven points to take
his second consecutive 250cc SX championship. Stanton grabbed the
holeshot and cruised to sixth in the L.A. finale with the points lead
firmly in his grasp.
1985: Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward edged Broc Glover by two points for his
first 250cc SX championship. This was a wild one, as Ward crashed in
the main, got up, and started riding backward! He managed to right
himself and beat Glover by just two points – which might be the margin
this year, too. And Ron Lechien was just six points back! If any season
can match this year, you have to go back 20 years to find it.
1983: David Bailey beat Mark Barnett by two points for his first and
only 250cc SX championship. Barnett got off to a terrible start in the
final and it seemed like Bailey had it all locked up, until Barnett
turned on the afterburners and nearly rallied to win the title.
There have been some good ones – but we may end up looking at Saturday night’s as the best finale ever. Enjoy it!