The championship race is in the midst of its annual three-week break for the holidays, and although Yamaha’s Chad Reed and Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael walked away with victories in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, the slim margins of victory, and the close, exciting racing, are an early indication of what’s in store for the remaining 15 races.
A quick glance of the point standings also shows the increasing depth of the field, with only 13 points separating the top five riders. Only five points separate the top three of Carmichael, Reed and Kawasaki’s James Stewart. Add Honda’s David Vuillemin and Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry, who are tied for fourth, and each of the sport’s four bike manufacturers are well represented. This year’s AMA Supercross class boasts the deepest field of competition in the sport’s history.
With Carmichael riding an abbreviated schedule and not a threat for a championship this season, the title chase takes on an entirely different look. Reed holds down the second spot in the standings but seemed to fall off the pace a little in Vancouver.
"Last weekend was a good feeling for everyone (in winning at Toronto),” said Reed, the 2003 World Supercross GP champion. “I just didn’t ride up to my potential (in Vancouver), but I’m happy with a podium. I came here these two weekends to be on the podium, to be in the hunt for the championship and we’ve done more than that.”
Stewart is in third place, and, after a gutsy performance in Vancouver where he finished second while riding with an injured foot, trails Reed by just three points.
“We got a lot of things we can do (to get ready) besides riding a motorcycle,” explained Stewart when asked what he was going to do to heal his ankle during the break. “I’m going to take a few days off and not ride until I’m 100%. To put myself into this position, I think I’m five points down, and considering all the circumstances, I think we’re sitting beautiful.”
In addition to Vuillemin and Ferry, other contenders could emerge from the field, like Honda’s Kevin Windham and Yamaha’s Grant Langston, who chose not to race in Canada but will make their debut at Anaheim on Jan. 6. Honda’s Davi Millsaps and Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco are hoping to return from injuries in time as well.
Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP Season Standings
1. Ricky Carmichael, Suzuki, 47
2. Chad Reed, Yamaha, 45
3. James Stewart, Kawasaki, 42
4. David Vuillemin, Honda, 34
5. Tim Ferry, Kawasaki, 34
6. Nick Wey, Honda, 27
7. Jeff Gibson, Kawasaki, 24
8. Heath Voss, Honda, 22
9. Paul Carpenter, Kawasaki, 22
10. Ryan Clark, Honda, 21
For more information about the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, please log on to www.supercrossonline.com. For media requests, please contact Denny Hartwig at 630-566-6305 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.