CARLSBAD, Calif., (March 19, 2007) – Monster Energy-backed Ricky Carmichael (Makita/Suzuki), by far the winningest motocross racer of all time and defending Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series champion, said good-bye to his legions of supercross fans with one last epic race this past weekend at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.
Carmichael, who after an undisclosed number of AMA Outdoor National MX events this summer, will trade in his dirt bikes for late model NASCAR development series cars with the ultimate goal being a Nextel Cup ride.
But on Saturday in a highly emotional AMA Supercross class main event, Carmichael gave it absolutely everything he had on last time – while still staying safe during his abbreviated supercross season – and gave the heir apparent to his throne, Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s James Stewart everything he could handle in what many agreed was the best supercross race of the year.
“I got a great start, but with the No. 7 (Stewart) right behind me I knew it was going to be a fun night,” said Carmichael. “Good, clean racing all the way to the finish and it was a great way to end my career, even though I didn’t win.”
Added fellow Floridian Stewart: “My last race ever against the guy was super fun.”
Carmichael and longtime rival Chad Reed went at it early in Orlando, putting on an excellent race in heat No. 1, to which Carmichael prevailed. In the main event Reed pulled the Progressive Direct Holeshot, but Carmichael got out well enough himself (3rd) and made short work of Reed, passing him with a banzai move into a corner bowl turn early on in the race.
With the fastest supercross racer on the planet (Stewart) hot on his tail, Carmichael would dig down and fight with all he could to preserve the lead. A maniacal approach to the whoops would allow Stewart to close the gap by lap eight, but RC would hold onto the lead for several more laps before Stewart got by him with a clean and cautious pass in a flat track section of the Dirt Wurx-built course.
Stewart would instantly open up a five-bike-lengths lead, only to have Carmichael bring the Orlando crowd to its feet during the last five laps of the race as he closed in on Stewart’s rear fender.
“I had a shot and missed it,” Carmichael said to former champion and friend Jeff Stanton, who worked with Carmichael during his Honda years.
On the podium Carmichael thanked the fans and his sponsors, saying “Now it’s on to something new, but my heart will always be with this sport.”
Carmichael’s Monster Energy-backed Makita/Suzuki teammate, Ivan Tedesco, would also have one of his better races of the year, finishing 4th overall in the main event and moving past Michael Byrne into 6th place in the overall standings.
Next up for Tedesco is this weekend’s running of the Indianapolis Supercross at the RCA Dome, Round 12 of the 2007 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series.