Carmichael is running an abbreviated schedule this season as he transitions into retirement from supercross. His last race was in San Francisco, where he won in front of a packed house. Having been away from supercross for three weeks, the 15-time AMA Champion is eager to return to racing.
“I’m looking forward to the race this weekend,” said Carmichael, who is from Tallahassee, Fla. “Atlanta is really my home-town race. I’ve had some of the best races of my career in the Georgia Dome. It feels like I'm bringing half of Tallahassee with me for my last race in the Dome. It's just such a great feeling --racing in front of 70,000 fans. I love that place."
Although Carmichael has been away from supercross, he hasn’t had a lot of down time. He was on-site at the Anaheim II and Houston supercross events, providing commentary along-side announcers Ralph Sheheen and Jeff Emig. Additionally, Carmichael attended the season-opening round of the NASCAR Daytona 500 last week and his wife, Ursula, had her baby shower that weekend. The Carmichaels are expecting twins.
Makita Suzuki teammate Ivan Tedesco is hot off of picking up his first holeshot and his best result of the 2007 season last weekend in San Diego. The new Makita Suzuki lead rider finished in fourth place at Qualcomm Stadium and is excited about the upcoming Atlanta race.
“Last weekend was a lot better than previous weekends,” said Tedesco. “My Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 was a lot better after the changes we made during the week. (Race winner Chad) Reed only beat me by 10 seconds, so if I can pick it up a little, I will be fine.”
Recently, Tedesco and his wife Theresa purchased a new home in Houston, Texas. The house is a respite for the Tedescos and allows them some time away from the intensity that is Southern California. Prior to this weekend’s race, Tedesco is spending some quality time in Houston.
“I flew to Texas today,” he said earlier in the week. “One of my tracks is done and they are working on the other one. This way, I will have two tracks to ride at my house. I am glad to get out of California for a while. I think it will be good for me.”
This weekend’s race also marks the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross debut of newly signed Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey in the AMA Supercross Lites class. Although Dungey picked up an impressive second-place finish at the Vancouver round of the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP, the upcoming Atlanta race will be his first AMA event as a pro.
“I’m pumped about this weekend,” said Dungey. “It’s been a while, a couple of months since I’ve raced. The last time was at Vancouver a few months ago and I’m ready to get back out there and get some good finishes for Makita Suzuki.”
Dungey has spent the last several weeks working with his Makita Suzuki RM-Z250 and his Makita Suzuki crew, preparing for this weekend’s race. This is Dungey’s first opportunity to race in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.
“We did some testing last week,” said Dungey. “But mostly, we’ve been practicing and getting everything ready and getting all of our stuff down. My goal for the race is to get on the box. Winning the race would be awesome, but right now I’m just shooting for a podium.”
After clinching the 2007 Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites title in San Diego, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki‘s Ryan Villopoto feels at ease. “Now I can relax a bit because when we go to Seattle it is probably going to be muddy,” said Villopoto. “It’s a lot more risky racing in the mud, anything can happen. Getting it done now was a huge thing, and now I can just race Seattle to win a race not a championship.”
During the team celebration for his championship, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team manager Mitch Payton said, “I was really happy with the way Ryan rode. We didn’t really talk about it this week at all, but we told him before the race, a good start and 15 nice clean laps.” Villopoto returns home to Washington for a week before returning to California to begin outdoor testing.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Chris Gosselaar, who rode with an injured shoulder in San Diego, was quite pleased with his performance in San Diego. “My goals were to get the holeshot and get on the podium, I did just that. I couldn’t really ask for more,” said Gosselaar. He is now back on a full-time training schedule.
In Atlanta, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki will debut their Eastern Regional AMA Supercross lites team. The team will consist of New Zealand-native Ben Townley, who missed last season with a knee injury, and newly-signed arenacross champion, Darcy Lange, who fills in for injured rider Brett Metcalfe.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry has three-consecutive podium finishes and is looking to continue the momentum. “I think my pace is getting faster week by week,” said Ferry. “I just go out there and ride my own race. I am not riding over my head right now and I am not going to. If it means riding way over my head to move up a spot then I am not going to get that spot. I am not willing to do that right now.” Ferry sits third in the both the AMA Supercross and World GP series points.
Honda’s Davi Millsaps returns to action this weekend after missing the first nine races. The reigning Eastern regional AMA Supercross Lites champion makes his debut in AMA Supercross Saturday night.
Millsaps’ teammate, Tommy Hahn, was scheduled to race the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites race, but suffered an injury that forced him to enter the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites class.
The Georgia Dome owns the attendance record after packing in 70,133 fans a season ago, which lends to the growth of the sport. The Atlanta market has enjoyed huge success since the first race 1977. As one of the longest running races on the schedule, the race draws from ‘race country.’
For more information about the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, please log on to www.supercrossonline.com.