Reed takes Carmichael and Jesseman continues to command the 125 East.
Yamaha’s Chad Reed spent the first 6 laps of the St Louissupercross locked in an exciting battle with defending champion RickyCarmichael, and then Carmichael fell and Reed got away for the win. The tworivals are the fastest of a rapidly thinning field of factory riders that hadbeen hit with injuries and illnesses. Just a day before the St Louis eventYamaha confirmed that Reed’s teammate, Tim Ferry, would be out a few weeks dueto the Epstein-Barr virus, which is thought to be due to overtraining and/orstress. Carmichael’s teammate Ernesto Fonseca was third.
The $1,500 sxgp.com holeshot bonus went to Sobe Suzuki’s DannySmith, who put in some great laps even though he lost the lead to Reed andCarmichael on the first lap.
The Reed/Carmichael battle thrilled the crowd until Carmichael’scrash in a rhythm section, where Carmichael was in second and had to jump tothe side of a tabletop to keep from running into Reed, which sent him to thestadium floor. He was back up and charging in sixth behind Larry Ward, Fonseca,and Danny Smith. Ward would hold on to fourth.
Fonseca has had more than his share of hard crashes in the earlierraces, and he was glad this time he stayed on two wheels.
I really don’t know the reason (for the crashes). I just know Ihave been hitting the ground a lot. Hopefully that’s over, it’s turned around,and I can ride well for now on."
Fonseca described the rutted track at the post-race pressconference. "Every (jump) face on the whole track was really rutted’"he said, "It made it tough for everybody. It makes it more technical. Thewhoops were very rutted too. I was just trying to jump them and trying tosurvive pretty much."
"I remember being behind Danny Smith for a while," saidFonseca of his race, "It seems like he was riding really well. I got byhim and tried to pull away a little bit, then made some mistakes and Larry Wardgot behind me. After that I just kept it at a good pace without making any dumbmistakes and it all worked out in the end."
Carmichael explained what happened in the rhythm section:"Chad and I were battling it and I had been doing that section and hehadn’t so I was kind of comfortable," he said, "He made a couple ofmistakes through there. I just wasn’t confident in that section when I wasbehind him. I wasn’t sure if he was going to jump it so I jumped it at the lastsecond and I can’t remember if he did or didn’t but I knew I was going to betoo close so I went to the right so I wouldn’t land on him. I ran off the racetrack so that was about it. The main thing it I didn’t want to hit the guy, soI went to the right and there was no room. That was it. The rest was history.He was out front and I was in second."
Carmichael banged up his pipe all weekend in the ruts. "Ibent it in every practice this weekend," he said, "I smashed it abouthalfway through the main. I just made a mistake. I would have loved to race(Chad) the whole 20 laps. I am just fed up with myself. I am too old to be makingstupid mistakes like that. I am not going to tell you that was the greatestrace of my life. It was a fun race until I went down. I am confident with myprogram. It’s just frustrating. For me to make a mistake like that and not evengive myself a chance it what the frustrating thing is."
"You always want to win. That’s the goal," saidCarmichael, "I felt like I had the speed. I was riding behind him and Iwas on his tail. I felt comfortable behind him. If I was behind him and didn’tfeel comfortable that’s a whole different deal. I definitely didn’t want tosettle for second."
Reed said the whoops were his strong point, but Carmichael hadtrouble there until the main when Honda made some bike changes. "Thewhoops were definitely tough for me until the main event" he said,"When the main event rolled around I felt great through them. We made someadjustments and it was 10 times better. It made it a little easier to keep thepace. The whoops were really tough. They were steep and kind of cupped out."
"I know I can go the whole distance," Carmichael said ofa possible 20-lap battle with Reed. "It’s a bummer because he has beenbehind me at Anaheim and Daytona. Every time I get behind him I do the samething and screw it up for myself. It is fun to ride behind someone instead ofhaving them ride behind me all the time. I guess I am not used to that and makestupid mistakes."
Reed just celebrated his 21rst birthday and had a weekend offafter Daytona. "It was interesting leading into this race," he said,"I felt good. I had a chance to have my birthday weekend off. I justturned 21. I was thinking now I am an adult, maybe I should start riding likeone. I am the only team rider left at Yamaha. I felt good like I could pull oneoff for the team. The track reminded me a lot like Pontiac last year. I didn’treally like it at all. It seemed like every time I went out I had to do a newjump or something. I was just racingwith Ricky and it was a lot of fun. He made us all look stupid at Daytona.After that race I went home and tried some new things. It seemed to have workedthis weekend. The championship is a lot of points. I am not taking anythingaway from Ernie but I don’t think there is anyone else that can beat the two ofus."
Reed was asked about what he thought about many of the factoryriders out due to injury and illness. "The reasons are the tracks are alittle less technical and faster, and the bikes are faster," he said,"Everyone has stepped it up. Ricky has been beating everyone pretty bad.You have to step it up. I think guys are trying harder and training harder.They train themselves into the ground and they are getting sick."
"I wanted to get a good start coming into the race and justrace the track," said Reed, "I went into the lead straight away andRicky was right on me. My bike is really good in the whoops. I thought that iswhere the race would be won or lost. I passed him one there and he passed meback. It seems like every time one of us crashes."
250cc THQ World Supercross GP/AMA Supercross Series Event Results
1. Chad Reed, Corona, Calif., Yamaha
2. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Honda
3. Ernesto Fonseca, Canyon Lake, Calif., Honda
4. Larry ward, Florence, S.C., Honda
5. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha
6. Danny Smith, Middleton, Idaho, Suzuki
7. Sean Hamblin, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki
8. Ryan Clark, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha
9. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Yamaha
10. Jason Thomas, Melrose, Fla., Honda
250cc AMA Supercross Series Season Standings
1. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Honda, 257
2. Chad Reed, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 235
3. David Vuillemin, Corona, Calif., Yamaha, 169
4. Tim Ferry, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha, 143
5. Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, Ga., Kawasaki, 149
6. Ernesto Fonseca, Canyon Lake, Calif., 125
7. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha, 122
8. Heath Voss, Mico, Texas, Yamaha, 113
9. Larry Ward, Florence, S.C. Honda, 93
10. Keith Johnson, Albuquerque, N.M., Yamaha, 86
Sobe Suzuki’s Branden Jesseman avoided mistakes and came back froma weak start to win the St Louis 125 main, giving him a narrow points cushionover his closest rival, Mike Brown. Brown was making a pass for second early inthe race on Kelly Smith, but he ran into Smith’s bike and they both went down.
The holeshot bonus went to Red Bull KTM’s Steve Boniface, who tookadvantage his bikes power and a clear track to open up a good lead for a coupleof laps. Behind him was Kelly Smith, a fast-starter who has the majority ofholeshots this year, and Brown, Tyson Hadsell, Bret Metcalf, and TommyHofmaster, who just finished second in the national Arenacross series.
Brown tried a pass in a right-hand 180 turn and ran into Smith,knocking them both down. Metcalf took over second briefly until Jesseman got byhim on the fourth lap. At the mid-point Jesseman passed Boniface for the leadin a fast section after a triple and he rode on for the win.
Boniface was fast enough to stay ahead of Brown, who was chargingup after the crash with Smith. His second place was the French rider’s bestfinish in America.
Jesseman made a point of mentioning the troops in the middle eastwhen he accepted his trophy. "Everyone puts so much into these races andit paid off again tonight," said Jesseman. "I would really like to dedicatethis win to the our men and women who are fighting in Iraq."
125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Event Results
1. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki
2. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM
3. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki
4. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha
5. Bret Metcalf, Australia, Ohio, KTM
6. Mattieu Lalloz, France, Suzuki
7. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha
8. Erick Vallejo, Mexico, NL, Yamaha
9. Shane Bess, Riverside, Calif., Suzuki
10. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda
125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series Season Standings
1. Branden Jesseman, Fombell, Pa., Suzuki, 117
2. Mike Brown, Piney Flats, Tenn., Kawasaki, 107
3. Brock Sellards, Sherrodsville, Ohio, Yamaha, 93
4. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., Yamaha, 79
5. Brett Metcalf, Australia, Ohio, KTM, 65
6. Erick Vallejo, Mexico, NL, Yamaha, 65
7. Mattieu Lalloz, France, Suzuki, 59
8. Steve Boniface, Temecula, Calif., KTM, 58
9. Ryan Mills, Clintondale, N.Y., Honda, 48
10. Shae Bentley, Fayetteville, Ga., Suzuki, 43