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Supercross second-half starts in St Louis

1 January 1901

The first half of the 2007 Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series came to a close last week in Atlanta and now riders and fans alike face an exciting second half of the season – starting this Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart heads into round nine with a 17-point AMA lead over L&M Yamaha's Chad Reed, and a 16-point advantage in the 'supporting' World Supercross series. Stewart and Reed will continue their championship battle in St. Louis where last year it was Stewart and the now semi-retired Ricky Carmichael battling for the title lead - but both crashed and Reed emerged with the victory and series lead.

Carmichael's AMA Supercross career is winding down as he prepares to start a new NASCAR career, but he will be back for St Louis - and looking for revenge after finishing second to Stewart in Atlanta last weekend.

Both Carmichael and Reed have the opportunity this weekend to become the first four-time St. Louis Supercross winner on Saturday, but Stewart will be the pre-race favourite – having won six of the eight AMA races this season. The Floridian is now looking for his first AMA Supercross victory in the Edward Jones Dome; he won the Supercross Lites event in 2004, but the crash last year is still on his mind.

"Going to St. Louis I can't let what happened last year happen this year," Stewart said. "It's a long season. If I can gain four more points in St. Louis [over Reed] my lead will be back to where it was before San Diego."

Carmichael said he would love his final St. Louis race to be a victorious one. "I love racing in St. Louis," said the Makita Suzuki ace. "The dirt there is awesome and I think now that I've got a race under my belt [after several weeks off] I'll do a lot better."

Despite his crash in Atlanta last week, Reed feels close to being able to get back to winning on a consistent basis.

"I had a great start and everything felt great before the crash," said the Australian veteran on his Atlanta race. "I'm happy I was able to recover to get on the podium. It's disappointing to know you have what it takes to win and end up crashing, but it shows how hard I'm trying out there."

While the Supercross class is beginning its second half, the AMA Supercross Lites East Series is just getting underway. Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey took the opening round victory in his championship debut.

"Getting this win tonight is definitely a big relief," said Dungey after earning the victory in Atlanta. "I wanted to come out and get a good finish and be consistent. I feel like I accomplished those goals. This will definitely help my confidence going into St. Louis next week. I felt like I rode a solid race, though there are a few things we'll work on this week and we'll come back even stronger next week."

Dungey credited Suzuki team boss Roger DeCoster for giving him the opportunity to race for the factory Suzuki squad and team-mate Carmichael for helping so much in practice prior to the start of the season.