Because this weekend’s race will be Carmichael’s last of the season and is also a home-town race, the defending Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Champion and crew put in extra hours on his personal track at the Carmichael Compound.
“This last race is going to be tough,” said Carmichael. “There hasn’t been an opening ceremony that’s gone by where I didn’t get a little choked up or tear up a little bit. It’s been a great road for me and whatever happens with the race wins and the records, I just want to be known as a good person, a great ambassador for our sport and, I guess I just want the fans to like me. I have to admit that it will be kind of tough for me to be focused on the race with everything that will be going on.”
Makita Suzuki teammate Ivan Tedesco enjoyed his time in Florida, but the former AMA Supercross Lites and AMA Motocross Lites Champion headed home to Houston after the Daytona race last weekend. Tedesco recently picked up two fourth-place finishes in San Diego and Atlanta, his best results of the season so far.
“It was cool to have the whole team in Tallahassee,” said Tedesco. “In general, I like riding with Ricky and I enjoy training with Ryan (Dungey). Ryan and I both train with the same guy so we’ve been working together for a while. Now I’m looking forward to getting home to Texas for a few days before the Orlando race.”
Team Makita Suzuki Racing’s newest member, 17-year-old Dungey, was also eager to spend some time training at the legendary Carmichael Compound.
“We’ve been down at Ricky’s in Tallahassee for two weeks,” he said. “We’ve done some cycling and some riding. It’s been nice to have a change, to train in a different place, a different area. But as far as my program goes, there’s no reason to change up everything. I’m looking forward to racing at Orlando for the first time.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki rider James Stewart, who was unable to pick up the win in St. Louis, came back with an impressive victory at Daytona, one of the season’s most grueling tracks.
“One of the goals this week was to come here and win,” said Stewart. “All the big-wigs are here, the (Kawasaki) president and everyone else. I wanted to get Kawasaki out front and promote them to the fullest. And it feels good that we were able to do that.”
He added, “I felt like I put in a good solid 20 laps and it just shows that my training program is really good. By the time Ricky (Carmichael) got in second he wasn’t too far behind and he could have made a push, but I was still stretching the gap. I think my fitness really kicked in, because if we would have gotten tired out there, I would have lost the race.”
Stewart, who is looking forward to this weekend at the Citrus Bowl, said, “I love Orlando. Last year I had the best race and probably the most dominating race I have ever had in my life. I am excited to return there and my goal is to gain another five points in the standings over (Chad) Reed.”
Teammate Timmy Ferry was able to shed off the Edward Jones Dome cloud and pull off a solid fourth-place finish in Florida.
“The track has been more fun and easier the last couple of years, but this year it was like old style Daytona,” said Ferry. “It was brutal out there. I usually always practice sand whoops and build them at my house. This year I was like, the last few years have been more supercross so I am not going to do it. Sure enough, I didn’t do any of it and they threw an outdoor style track at me. I definitely wasn’t expecting that, but it didn’t affect the outcome of my race. I felt like I was strong the whole race and the end result was what I was looking for.”
He added, “I am really looking forward to Orlando and getting back to real supercross after tonight because it was so brutal out there. Orlando is my hometown race and it’s fun for my family and everyone I grew up with to be able to see the race live.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Ben Townley, who picked up his first-ever AMA Supercross Lites Victory in St. Louis, kept the momentum rolling and scored another win at Daytona.
“I told the team before I went out there that it was going to be tough and that I am going to just try to be really consistent and put a good race together,” said Townley. “The race was going to be almost entirely about consistency and minimizing mistakes.
“I was in the lead again by the second lap and I just tried to ride a smart race. I watched my pit board and my lap times and was able to inch away lap by lap. It was awesome tonight, but I am really looking forward to getting back on a supercross track in Orlando.”
Teammate Darcy Lange was not quite as excited with his visit last weekend to the Daytona International Speedway after a last lap crash put him out of contention for the win.
“I have always heard how gnarly it was (Daytona), but I never imagined it being that gnarly,” said Lange. “The ruts going up the face of the jumps, the corners and the sand, it was crazy. It was just hell. I am so glad to be going back to a stadium and to supercross because this track didn’t treat me too well.”
Lange, who beholds a tattoo of a Rolex watch on his right wrist, spoke about his infamous piece of art that many have wondered about. “A few years ago when I was doing really well, I bought my mechanic a Rolex as a gift. However, I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on myself, so I tattooed it. The time is set on my birthday and is a constant reminder of that period in my life.”
After Daytona, single-digits are all that separate the top riders in the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites division. Lange is in the second position, just four points out of the lead. Teammate Townley is close behind sitting six points from the leader. It’s anyone’s series at this point.
For Team SoBe/No Fear/Samsung/Honda rider Travis Preston, the 2006-07 Amp’d Mobile Supercross season has been a series of highs and lows, with a recent trend of lows. After a recent string of early-race crashes dropped him from contention in the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Top Privateer Challenge, Preston’s season took another turn for the worse this time in a season-ending shoulder injury sustained this week at the Honda test track in Corona, Calif. Preston severely dislocated his right shoulder in a practice crash on Monday and will consult with shoulder specialists to determine the proper surgical procedure. Although he will miss the remainder of the supercross season, Preston hopes to return next season after a full recovery.
For more information about the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, please log on to www.supercrossonline.com.