Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael is having the battle of his career in the 2006 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, but the four-time series champ finds himself in the familiar position of leading the standings coming into the San Francisco Supercross this Saturday, Jan. 28, at SBC Park.Carmichael took over sole possession of the series lead with a victory last weekend in Anaheim, Calif. The win, watched by a national television audience Sunday on CBS, came after a hard-fought, race long battle with Kawasaki’s James Stewart. In the closing stages Stewart slid his front tire in a turn and fell allowing the closely pursuing Carmichael to slip by for his second straight win in the series.Carmichael was thrilled with the race in Angel Stadium.”I got in behind James and we had a great battle,” said Carmichael, a two-time winner at SBC Park. “I was just sitting there enjoying the competition. That was one of the most fun races I’ve ever been in. I hated to win it that way with James falling down, but even if I hadn’t won it proved that our team has found the speed to run up front. It’s shaping up to be a great series, one the fans have been waiting for.”Stewart’s minor slip in Anaheim not only dropped him to third in that race, but more importantly cost him the series lead. He now is in third, one point behind Chad Reed and five behind Carmichael.”I wanted that race to go down to the final lap,” said a frustrated Stewart of the Anaheim race. “It was such a good battle that it’s a shame that it ended the way it did. I saw a lapped rider down in the turn and just lost concentration for a split second. That corner was slick and I washed out my front wheel and I was on the ground before I knew it. It’s a tough series and things like that are going to happen. Fortunately I didn’t lose too much ground in the points and I’ll go to San Francisco hoping to come back strong.”Yamaha’s Chad Reed moved up to second in the standings after scoring his third straight runner-up finish last weekend. And even though he moved up a spot in the series, the Australian rider still seemed disappointed that he is not consistently running up front with Carmichael and Stewart.”I want to be up there battling with those guys,” said Reed, the 2004 San Francisco Supercross winner. “I’ve got to figure out a way to get better starts and to stay up front. That’s my main concern right now. The team has worked hard to give me a great bike, now I need to go out there and at least battle hard for the lead.”After only three rounds of the AMA series, Carmichael, Reed and Stewart have already separated themselves from the rest the field. Carmichael’s Suzuki teammate Ivan Tedesco is fourth in the series and heads up a hotly contest group of riders all jockeying for position inside the top ten. Among that group is San Francisco-born Jeremy McGrath. The seven-time champ has scored two top-five finishes coming into San Francisco and last week made the switch from the 250cc two-stroke to the Honda 450cc four-stroke and scored fifth. McGrath is certain to be one of the favorites of Bay Area racing fans on Saturday night.The AMA Supercross Lites West class has been a wide-open affair that has had three different winners in the first three rounds. South African Grant Langston added his name to the list of winners with his victory on his Monster Energy Drink, Pro Circuit Kawasaki last weekend.”Everything felt right tonight,” said Langston after winning his first race of the season. “It all clicked and this was the easiest race that I have ever won because I felt so comfortable. I was at ease, felt smooth and rode well.”Langston moved into a tie with Honda’s Andrew Short atop the Supercross Lites West standings. Billy Laninovich, the Sobe, Samsung Mobile Honda ace who won the Lites race in San Francisco last year, is only three points behind the leaders.The San Francisco Supercross will receive next-day coverage on CBS 12:00 pm Eastern.
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AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com