ORLANDO (March 20, 2007) – The final chapter of Ricky Carmichael’s storybook supercross career was written last Saturday night at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl where the 15-time AMA National champion rode the last 20 laps of his Amp’d Mobile Supercross career before retiring to pursue a career in stock-car racing.
After announcing his retirement from full-time racing at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium last May, Carmichael entered the 2006-’07 season on a select-schedule basis for one last ride around the Amp’d Mobile Supercross circuit. Throughout all of the emotional opening ceremony celebrations in the respective cities where the champion raced, he closed out his final post-race interview in classic Carmichael style.
“To be a great motorcycle racer is one thing, but I want to be remembered as a great person,” said Carmichael.
As if the weekend didn’t have enough drama, Carmichael’s wife, Ursula, gave birth to twins at 3:31 and 3:33 a.m. on Friday morning. Just one day after the kids, Kadin and Elise, entered the world, their father rode not only his last race but in his words one of his best.
“That was a ride of a lifetime,” he said.
Earlier in the day, he greeted family and friends during his autograph signing, cleared out some time to spend with a Make-a-Wish child, then suited up for his last hurrah.
Flash bulbs illuminated the stadium as fans clicked off picture after picture to capture a piece of history. Carmichael take on the event: “I just want to thanks you fans one last time for your support over the years.”
Carmichael’s heir apparent, Kawasaki’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., held off the a hard-charging Carmichael to win his eighth Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series race of the year before 42,991
In the AMA Supercross main event, Reed, of Dade City, Fla., won the $1,500 Progressive Direct Holeshot Award with Carmichael on his wheel in second. Stewart started the main event in fourth place and moved into third on the opening lap and began chasing Yamaha’s Chad Reed, of Dade City, Fla., Reed made a mistake on lap three, which allowed Stewart to move into second place.
It wasn’t until lap 12 that Stewart made his way past Carmichael and the two traded positions leaving Stewart in the lead. Carmichael fired back on lap 16 and the two engaged in another battle. When Stewart rode off to victory the guard was officially passed as Carmichael retired from supercross racing and will begin a career in stock car racing. Reed finished third.
Next weekend Carmichael begins scribing the pages of his new career as a stock car racer for Ginn Racing.
‘It’s just another Saturday night race, and there won’t be thousands of people there either,” said Carmichael’s father Rick. “It’s going to be nice to drive to the track that is 100 miles away from our home and see what happens.”
When asked when Big Rick would attend another supercross race, he said shrugged his shoulders and said, “Probably Vegas, but I’ll go to a race if Ricky goes.” That’s a tough pattern to break for a family that has never missed one of their son’s supercross races.
So, as Carmichael makes the transition from two wheels to four, he leaves behind and amazing legacy in the sport of supercross that includes five AMA Supercross titles, the World Supercross GP title, 115 AMA Supercross starts, 48 AMA Supercross wins, 87 AMA Supercross podiums, and 97 top-five finishes in AMA Supercross. Looking back at 2001, he reeled off 13 consecutive race wins en route to dethroning seven-time supercross champion Jeremy McGrath. The next year he finished 20th at the series’ opening race in January only to win the title later that spring.
Anaheim 1 never was kind to him anyway. However, from 2001-2003 he won 32 of the 48 rounds of AMA Supercross and rode to podium finishes at 44 of those races. He turned the yellow Suzuki motorcycles to gold when he gave Team Manager Roger his first championship in 2005 and became only the second rider in the manufacture’s history to win a championship. This also marked the first time an AMA Supercross championship was won on a four-stroke motorcycle. He one-upped that by becoming the only rider in history to win two championships for Suzuki.
While these accolades are amazing, he’s just a regular guy who likes to over achieve, hence his new-born twins. Good luck, Daddy.
For more information about the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, please log on to www.supercrossonline.com.