2000 U.S. Open Champion - Ricky CarmichaelThe 2000 U.S. Open ended up as a prequel for Ricky Carmichael's supercross dominance. Sweeping every heat race and main event during the two-night affair, Carmichael won his first indoor 250cc supercross race. Not only did he exclaim a point to his competitors that he can ride the `big' bike, he unwound the doubts he had on his abilities in the premier class."I was kind of in disbelief," said Carmichael on his success in the 250cc ranks. "I was hitting the ground so many times, not finishing. '99 was terrible. I must have crashed almost every race. It definitely got to me. I'd never been there before. It was terrible."In the wake of supercross legend Jeremy McGrath, Carmichael failed to beat him once during his dbut 250cc season back in '99. Carmichael's first victory over McGrath at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium was later shadowed by a nasty crash in the main event. Before 62,144 fans Carmichael sunk to arguably the lowest point of his career, cracking his pelvis and auguring his foot peg through his thigh.Four weeks later, he returned to action only to crash again in his heat, semi and main event at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, resulting in a forgettable 14th-place finish. This domino effect didn't stop. Dallas, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Las Vegas all resulted in soil samples for the struggling kid from Havana, Florida. He even missed the main event in Houston due to a practice crash.This was a new challenge for Carmichael after dominating the amateur ranks and winning three 125cc AMA Motocross National Championships and the 125cc Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Series.Carmichael sampled winning the following season at the Daytona Supercross, marking his first 250cc win and only win of the year. He entered the 2000 AMA Motocross Championship and dominated the series, winning nine overall main events.While the rest of the industry soaked up the one-of-a-kind nightlife in Sin City, Ricky Carmichael relished in the biggest win to date in his supercross career. Perhaps the biggest sigh of relief was almost complete heading into the 2001 supercross season. Only one question needed to be answered as Anaheim 1 was just a few months away."I had ridden against most of the guys at the U.S. Open, but I had not ridden against McGrath," said Carmichael. "He was the only question I had going into Anaheim because I had not seen him ride."